Politics, World, Africa

Mauritanian parties urge govt not to cut ties with Doha

Opposition calls on Nouakchott to reverse earlier decision to sever relations with Qatar

08.06.2017
Mauritanian parties urge govt not to cut ties with Doha

By Mohamed al-Bakay

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania

Several Mauritanian opposition parties on Thursday called on the government to reverse its decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

In a statement, Mauritania’s National Forum for Democracy and Unity, which includes 14 opposition parties, voiced its rejection of what it described as “the subordination of Mauritania's sovereignty and the independence of its decision-making to policies that conflict with its interests and those of its people”.

It went on to assert that any intervention by Mauritania in the diplomatic crisis now plaguing the Arab Gulf should be limited to "playing the role of honest mediator between brother countries and promoting reconciliation, friendship and solidarity".

On Monday, five Arab states -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen -- abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the tiny Gulf state of supporting terrorism.

Mauritania followed suit the next day.

Doha, for its part, strenuously denies accusations that it is a supporter of terrorism, describing the moves to diplomatically isolate it as “unjustified”.

Mauritania’s Union of Democratic Forces has also expressed concern over the move.

In a Thursday statement, the party noted the support shown by Qatar for Mauritania in recent decades, pointing out that Doha had been one of the first states to establish diplomatic relations with post-independence Mauritania in 1974.

It went on to urge the Mauritanian people and the country’s political forces to stand against what it described as “the manipulation of our national interests”.

The National Rally for Reform and Development, for its part, said Nouakchott’s decision to cut ties with Qatar was proof that “Mauritanian policymaking remains dependent on foreign agendas that do not take into account [Mauritania’s] national interest, religious unity or the delicate balance of our foreign relations”.

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