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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09NOUAKCHOTT257 2009-04-08 16:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nouakchott
Cable title:  

MAURITANIA'S NEIGHBORS -- ABDALLAHI LOSING MALIAN

Tags:   PREL PGOV USAU AG ML MO SG MR 
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INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NOUAKCHOTT 000257 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV USAU AG ML MO SG MR
SUBJECT: MAURITANIA'S NEIGHBORS -- ABDALLAHI LOSING MALIAN
SUPPORT

REF: 2008 NOUAKCHOTT 688

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Dennis Hankins for reasons 1.4 (b and
d)



1. (C) Summary: Charge did the rounds April 5 of
neighboring country embassies to check on evolving views
following the failed Qadhafi mediation. Morocco and Algeria
remain fixed on two sides of the fence -- Morocco urging
acceptance of the status quo based on stability concerns (and
discounting as "temporary" Mauritania's dalliance with Iran)
while Algeria states itself against Aziz (his recent
"technical stop" in Algiers notwithstanding). Mali has
signaled a change. Deciding to send a new Ambassador to
Mauritania to "lower the level of bilateral tensions" even as
it pledges itself to support for the AU PSC position.
Mission previously reported on neighbors' views in November's
REFTEL. End Summary



--------------------------


Morocco


--------------------------





2. (C) Charge met with Moroccan Charge Chalouatti Abdel Aziz
who argued that the electoral plan put forward by Aziz was
the best path forward to restore normalcy in Mauritania's
relations with the international community. When Charge
countered that elections organized on behalf of the leader of
the coup by a government put into place by him could not be
deemed free and democratic, Abdel Aziz questioned whether
democracy really had any relevance in a country like
Mauritania -- a country still dominated by tribal chiefs who
follow power. Abdel Aziz underlined the need for stability
on Morocco's southern border, particularly in the light of an
Al Qaeda presence that can only benefit from the current
power vacuum. He added that if Aziz was able to get the
majority of Mauritanians out to vote, and win a majority of
that vote, the international community should rethink
withholding recognition. The Moroccan added that Arab League
and Maghreb Arab Union election monitoring should be able to
certify whether the election was valid or not. Charge noted
that the mechanics of the election day itself were not all
that determined the legitimacy of the elections. Aziz was
already in obvious campaign mode using government funds and
open promises to buy votes. The military themselves
repeatedly tried to undermine Abdallahi's legitimacy by
boasting how they had successfully corrupted the previous
elections through behind-the-scenes manipulation.



3. (C) Charge asked whether Aziz' apparent shift towards
Iran following the Doha Conference on Palestine and the
expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador had altered in any way
Rabat's calculations on long-term security and stability in
Mauritania. Abdel Aziz responded that while the timing was
not ideal, following Morocco's severing of relations with
Teheran, the move was seen as superficial. He did not
believe the Shiite Iranians would find fertile ground in
Mauritania and he saw Aziz' moves as born of political
necessity, not ideology.



--------------------------


Algeria


--------------------------





4. (C) Algerian Ambassador Kaid Cheikh Rachid was quick to
dispel the idea that there had been a warming of Algiers
towards General Aziz following a refueling stop Aziz made in
Algeria the week before (Comment: Local press suggested that
Algeria was willing to work closer with Aziz since it was
presumed Morocco was mad at him over Iran. End Comment).
Rachid said Algiers had allowed the refueling stop but had
received Aziz only at the level of the State Secretary for
Maghreb Affairs -- the same individual who had received Aziz'
emissaries months earlier as a clear sign of disfavor.
Rachid echoed the Charge's comments that Algiers did not see
long-term stability through the General whose performance to
date as leader of the junta had only shown negative
tendencies. Charge asked why, then, Algiers seemed
relatively silent in decisions by the Maghreb Arab Union and

NOUAKCHOTT 00000257 002 OF 002


Maghrebian - Sahelian CEN-SAD that had all offered to send
observers to the June 6 elections. The Algerian claimed not
to have heard from his capital on the subject but suggested
that Algiers felt obliged to defer to Libya's Qadhafi who
holds the presidency of both organizations.



5. (C) Rachid tended to downplay the strength of the Al
Qaeda threat to Mauritania saying that, although it had
gained some regional attraction and credibility by assuming
the "Al Qaeda" brand name, AQIM is still at its roots the
GSPC with its primary focus on Algiers.



--------------------------


Mali


--------------------------





6. (C) Newly arrived Malian ambassador Souleymane Kone told
Charge that Bamako's decision to send him, after 8 months of
leaving only a Charge in place, was driven by the need to
"reduce bilateral" tensions related to trade disputes
(particularly bus traffic rights) and issues related to the
Tuaregs. Kone insisted that Mali remains committed to the
position put forward by the AU PSC (of which it is a member),
but that bilateral priorities demanded the presence of an
ambassador. He was interested to learn that other
ambassadors arriving since the coup (Russia, South Africa and
Israel) had been allowed to function without presenting their
credentials to General Aziz as Head of State. That said, he
noted that he would present his credentials to Aziz if need
be since "we have relations with countries, not governments."
When asked whether he planned to meet with President
Abdallahi or FNDD leaders, Kone responded that "given my
delicate situation," Mali preferred that contacts with the
opposition be maintained at the level of Bamako.



--------------------------


Senegal


--------------------------





7. (C) The Senegalese Ambassador was unable to meet with
Charge as he was dealing with the attempted mediation visit
of Foreign Minister Gadio.
HANKINS