Last month, Saudi Arabia signed a military cooperation agreement with Mauritania that calls for joint training, logistical exchanges and improved cooperation. In an email interview, Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem, a professor of political science at the University of Nouakchott, discusses Mauritania’s relations with Saudi Arabia.
WPR: How extensive are relations between Mauritania and Saudi Arabia, and what are the main areas of cooperation?
Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem: Diplomatic ties between Mauritania and Saudi Arabia are historically good, but not as solid as Mauritania would like. Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest countries in the Arab world, has never seriously supported Mauritania economically or politically, despite the fact that Mauritania is one of the least-developed Arab states. And although Mauritania is one of the very few self-styled Islamic republics in the world, even cooperation on religious issues has been fairly limited.