• Short Summary

    A high-level Moroccan delegation has been visiting Mauritania. It was led by former Prime Minister?

  • Description

    SV Moroccan Minister Al Amrani greeted by Mauritanian Industry Minister at airport

    SV & GV Party walks across tarmac (2 shots)

    SV & GV Al Amrani and Mauritanian Minister about to leave airport (2 shots)

    Initials BB/1530 JW/AH/BB/1550

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A high-level Moroccan delegation has been visiting Mauritania. It was led by former Prime Minister Karim Al Amrani--now the Director of the Moroccan Phosphates Office--and included the Minister of Planning and Regional Development, Taib ben Cheikh.

    The Moroccans were welcomed at Nouakchott airport by an equally high-ranking Mauritanian delegation headed by the Minister of Planning and Industrial Development, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

    This is the third time that M. Al Amrani has visited Mauritania over the last twelve months and he arrived at a time when campaigns by both states to oust Spain from the phosphate-rich Spanish Sahara have been intensified.

    Both states claim this valuable 103,000-square-mile (266,000-square-kilometre) tract of land--the last large European-based colony on the African continent.

    The Rabat Government had placed its claim before the United Nations, which--in turn--has passed the matter to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The Court is due to start examining the dispute on 27 March.

    Morocco bases its claim to the Spanish Sahara--with which it has a common border in the South--on the fact that Spain only took control of the region 40 years ago. Before that, Rabat says, the area was always under de facto control by Moroccan monarchs.

    But Mauritania, too, claims this rich prize. For Mauritania also has a--longer--common border with Spanish Sahara which lies between its territory and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.

    Mauritania's late entry into the Spanish Sahara dispute the caused much ill feeling in Rabat and has resulted in a number of intense discussions between both Heads of State and other senior government representatives.

    It was announced in early March this year that Morocco had granted Mauritania a 15-million-dollar (6,100,000-pound-sterling) loan "under very favourable conditions" for industrial development. Morocco is not a wealthy country--relying itself for industrial development on foreign aid--and this move is seen as an effort in Rabat to placate the Mauritanian Government as the parameters of its dispute with Madrid become more clearly defined.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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