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Mauritania breaks diplomatic stalemate with Morocco

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has received a letter from the president of Mauritania in a move seen by many observers that could restore diplomatic relations between Rabat and Nouakchott. The relationship has been described as rigid and cold over the past few years.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz sent the letter via his foreign minister, Ahmed Ould Teguedi on Saturday. He wished Morocco "continued progress and prosperity"; no further details of the content were revealed.

Bilateral relations between Morocco and Mauritania have been stalled in recent years, despite denials from both countries. The Mauritanian president has visited all of the Maghreb countries, except Morocco, since he took power in 2009. He declined an invitation in 2012 and in January this year the government in Nouakchott refused to accept a new Moroccan consul. The position of Mauritanian ambassador to Rabat has been vacant for two years.

Morocco is unhappy at Mauritania's recognition of the Polisario Front and accuses Nouakchott of clear and unprecedented bias towards Algeria's position, which also supports the organisation. The Polisario Front is demanding independence for the Western Sahara from Morocco.

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