Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation travels to Mauritania to attend G5 Sahel Summit, 1st General Assembly of Sahel Alliance and to hold bilateral meetings with Mauritanian authorities

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, visited Mauritania for the first time on 24 and 25 February.

During her stay, she took part in the inauguration of the G5 Sahel Summit – a regional organisation made up of Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad. Its participation, following an invitation from the rotating presidency of the organisation – held by Burkina Faso – and from the host nation – Mauritania – meant that this was the first time that a Spanish minister had attended a summit of this organisation. In her speech, Minister González Laya reiterated Spain’s involvement in and commitment to the Sahel – a priority region it has been investing efforts and resources in, both financial and human, for many years now.

The minister also had the chance to hold meeting with senior officials of such international institutions as the President of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki, the Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel, Maman Sambo Sidikou, the UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and her counterparts from Niger, Kalla Ankurao, and from Mali, Tiébilé Dramé.

The minister also inaugurated the 1st General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance together with her French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, with whom she held a meeting. The Alliance, set up in July 2017, seeks to improve the efficiency of development strategies and operations in the Sahel, particularly in unsafe regions where poverty is rife.

Spain, through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), has formed part of this Alliance since the start of 2018, which has 12 members (France, Germany, the EU, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the UNDP, Italy, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark), as well as another 10 observers countries and organisations. At the Donors’ Coordination Conference held in December 2018, Spain announced a contribution to the Priority Investment Programme of the G5 Sahel of 85 million euros for the implementation of 35 new cooperation projects.

Lastly, her visit had a significant bilateral dimension with Mauritania, a priority country for Spanish Cooperation, During her audience with President Mohamed Uld Ghazuani, the minister expressed her recognition of the contribution that Mauritania has made to the stability of the Maghreb and of the Sahel and she thanked him for his country’s valuable contribution to the issue of migration and in counter-terrorism. Spain’s commitment to this neighbouring country, in which the Canary Islands has a growing role, is long term. With the Prime Minister, Ismail Uld Bedda Uld Cheikh Sidiya, and her counterpart, Ismail ould Cheickh Ahmed, the minister undertook to continue advocating to the EU the relevance of Mauritania, with which it has an important fishing agreement, and to encourage Spanish companies to contribute to the economic development of the country.

Her trip concluded with a visit to the Spanish Guardia Civil contingent in Nouadhibou, deployed in this coastal city for more than 10 years now, as well as the investigation team of the National Police, which collaborates with the Mauritanian authorities in controlling emigration.








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