Status Quo Side: Mauritania
Non-Status Quo Side: Morocco
Conflict Type: Interstate
Issues in Dispute: Independence, Territory
Morocco's frontiers at its independence from France (1956) remained undetermined. The area of Morocco south of the Atlas Mountains is also the northern part of a unified nomadic social and economic region encompassing part of Algeria, all of Spanish Sahara, most of Mauritania (until 1960 a province of French West Africa), and northern Mali. Morocco laid claim to all but the last. Clashes between Moroccan irregulars -- the "Liberation Army" -- and French West African patrols occurred in 1957 and 1958. As Mauritania prepared for independence in 1960, Morocco protested to the UN that the area was an integral part of Morocco. Nevertheless, Mauritania was admitted to the UN in 1961.
Some Moroccan-inspired incursions included one at Nema in 1962 which caused casualties. Morocco's King Hassan II boycotted the OAU founding conference in 1963 because the Mauritanian President attended. Mauritania won recognition from Algeria, Mali and Egypt.
Tensions very gradually eased. In September 1969 King Hassan received Mauritanian President Moktar Ould Daddah at Rabat for the Islamic Summit Conference.
Ambassadors were exchanged and in June a 20-year Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed. [see WES]
Copyright © 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton