- Mauritania is few miles away from making a comeback in the regional economic block, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the desert country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohamed Saleck Ould Mohamed Lemine, spills the beans.
The Arab-Maghreb Union [that was bent on promoting the superiority of minority Arabs in Africa] finally succeeded in convincing Mauritania to pull out of ECOWAS in 1999. Mauritania is so far the only country that does not enjoy membership in the regional economic bloc.
But after a working session with the Chairman of the ECOWAS Commission, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Mauritanian officials are more than convinced that the country has missed a lot of benefits for pulling out of the regional body.
Mauritanian officials have now shown their commitment to restore cooperation with ECOWAS, which obviously enables the country to tap existing trade benefits, especially the Cotonou Agreement, a 20-year trade package signed between the European Community, its member states and 77 countries of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). The package was signed on 23 June 2000.
The agreement serves as a platform of integration in world trade as well as gave birth to the creation of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and the ACP countries.
Mr Chambas’ visit was seen as epitomising the wishes of both Mauritanian government and the ECOWAS, which is to promote a privileged partnership under EU-ACP negotiations through the Cotonou Agreement.
The overthrow of the dictatorial regime of Sid Ahmed Taya ushered in democracy in Mauritania. The military embarked on a 19-month transition during which the country was prepared for democracy.
In march this year, Mauritanians took part in what was seen as free, fair and transparent elections, the first in over 40 years. The new government is also moving fast to cure the many injustices in the country. One such was to outlaw slaver and punish all those who promote or practice the century old culture.
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