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Mauritanian Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Saudi Arabia is a Strategic Partner

Mauritanian Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Saudi Arabia is a Strategic Partner

Sunday, 2 December, 2018 - 07:30
Mauritanian Information Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham.
Nouakchott – Al-Sheikh Mohammed
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, is scheduled to arrive in Mauritania as part of an Arab tour.

The visit is “unprecedented” for such a senior Saudi official. Mauritanian Information Minister Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham told Asharq Al-Awsat that Prince Mohammed’s visit reflects the strength of ties between Riyadh and Nouakchott.

“Our people share a long history. Prince Mohammed is the most senior Saudi official to visit Mauritania since late King Faisal” in 1972, he remarked.

“The people of the two countries are bound by ties of blood, religion and history,” he continued. “The Kingdom has offered a lot of aid to Mauritania in several fields. Ever since President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz came to power, he has been working on developing Mauritania's ties with other countries.”

Ties with Saudi Arabia have topped his priorities, he stressed.

The minister listed Saudi-Mauritanian cooperation in the political, social, economic and security fields, saying the Kingdom was a “strategic ally.”

Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s drive to combat terrorism, Ould Maham said that Mauritania has suffered greatly from terrorism.

“We have never assaulted anyone and yet, our people have been massacred by terrorism,” he lamented.

He explained how the current president decided to launch a war against terrorist groups in order to ensure Mauritania’s security and stability because they are key to any development.

He credited the president with eliminating the terrorist threat from Mauritania, adding that it has become one of the safest countries in the world.

Asked about recent strict measures by authorities against Muslim Brotherhood-style rhetoric, the minister replied: “The political Islam that some sides are trying to import to us is the same source of unrest in several areas, such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.”

“It has caused massive destruction in several Arab countries and therefore experience has shown that it is not a factor for stability in the region,” he went on to say.

“The claim that ‘political Islam is the solution’ has been proven wrong and those promoting it have not provided a convincing reason for the Muslim and Arab masses to rally behind them,” he added.

The Mauritanians have succeeded in preserving civil peace, because they are aware that religion seeks to achieve justice and peace, he noted. Religion that does not provide justice or peace is not a religion under God.

Moreover, Ould Maham spoke of efforts local authorities have exerted towards combating Iran-linked organizations that were seeking to spread Shiism in Mauritania.

“We believe that the Mauritanians’ sharing of a single sect and religion is an advantage,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Whoever targets this unity and the Mauritanians’ freedom of religion is a threat to national peace,” he continued.

“The government is therefore responsible for taking all measures aimed at protecting national unity,” he added.

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