DE RUEHDK #0619/01 0681650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091650Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4532
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAN/AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO 0273 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 000619
STATE FOR AF/W, AF/SPG, AF/RSA, IO/UNP AND INR/AA
ABIDJAN FOR REGIONAL REFUGEE COORDINATOR
ACCRA FOR REGIONAL REFUGEE COORDINATOR
PARIS FOR POL - D'ELIA
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: ELY OULD VALL: "MAURITANIA HAS NO REFUGEES IN
REF: A. NOUAKCHOTT 0279 (NOTAL)
B. NOUAKCHOTT 0087 (NOTAL)
C. DAKAR 0249 (NOTAL)
1. (U) Mauritania'S Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall made
his first visit to Senegal as head of state, March 6-7,
2006. In a press conference shortly before departure, he
said use of the term "refugee" is inappropriate for those
who left Maritania in 1989, and that those who claim to be
Mauritanian should return home, where the problem could be
resolved "among Mauritanians without foreign
interference." Vall and Wade's joint communique commented
extensively on regional and international issues. They
said the African Union should continue to play "an
essential role in Darfur," but they called for expanded
cooperation with the UN. They supported the African
Group's position on UN reform; they also highlighted their
support for the new Human Rights Council. They affirmed
their support for the Middle East Roadmap and called for a
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Turning
to Iraq, Wade and Vall called for peace and national
unity. Vall's visit contrasted sharply with Comoros
President Assoumani Azali's four-day visit, which was long
on pomp but reportedly short on substance. END SUMMARY.
WE HAVE NO REFUGEES IN SENEGAL
2. (U) During a March 7 press conference, Colonel Vall
rejected the existence of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal.
He said those referred to as refugees are "groups of
people" who have reasons of their own to settle in
Senegal. He said thousands of Mauritanians and Senegalese
citizens cross the border back and forth on a daily basis,
which, he argued, excludes the possibility of Mauritanian
refugees in Senegal.
VALL MEETS A REFUGEE ASSOCIATION LEADER
3. (U) On March 7, Vall met Mr. Toure, President of the
Coordination of the Association of Mauritanian Refugees in
Senegal and Mali. The meeting took place following a
request that Toure made via the Mauritanian Embassy in
Dakar, and via the connection he has established with the
President of the Mauritanian Supreme Court. Vall asked
Toure to think about instruments for resolution of the
problem, but insisted that a solution was only conceivable
4. (SBU) Toure told us his talk with Vall had seemed to
go well, and that he was therefore disappointed by what he
saw as Vall's "radical statement" at the press conference.
Toure added that his organization had showed good will to
new Mauritanian authorities and had hoped to work in total
discretion with Vall. Now, he would have to respond to
Vall's denial of the presence of refugees with a public
5. (U) Meanwhile, FLAM representatives in Dakar used the
opportunity of Vall's visit to demonstrate. Police
arrested five but released them later in the day.
BILATERAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
6. (U) The joint communique focused on bilateral,
regional and international issues. The leaders
highlighted cooperation on fisheries and transport
projects. They also agreed on a Cooperation Committee
meeting in Nouakchott during the first half of April.
Each praised the other's efforts to promote democracy.
They called for stronger African support for the Digital
Solidarity Fund. They highlighted their concern about
avian influenza and called for heightened surveillance.
7. (U) On regional and international issues, while saying
that the African Union should continue to play "an
essential role in Darfur," they called for expanded
cooperation with the UN. They supported the African
Group's position on UN reform. They also highlighted
their support for the new Human Rights Council. They
affirmed their support for the Middle East Roadmap and
called for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its
DAKAR 00000619 002 OF 002
capital. Turning to Iraq, Wade and Vall called for peace
and national unity.
8. (SBU) Many in Senegal perceived Vall's visit as an
opportunity to resume peaceful and cooperative links with
Mauritania. Wade's recent visit to Nouakchott, followed
by Vall's visit to Senegal, testifies to this effort.
African-Mauritanians in Senegal at this point probably
fear they will be sacrificed by Vall and Wade to avoid any
9. (SBU) Vall's visit contrasted sharply with Comoros
President Assoumani Azali's March 2-6 visit, which was
long on pomp but short on substance. The centerpiece of
their discussions was apparently a decision to open an
Embassy of the Comoros in Dakar to serve the 500 or more
students and other citizens of the island nation who
reside in Senegal. END COMMENT.
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