History of Mauritania: The Polisario Problem

History of Mauritania: The Polisario Problem Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

Negotiations with the Polisario reopened in July 1979, with Mauritania announcing that it had no claim on Tigris Al-Gharbia. On 3 August, in Algiers, the Comite Militaire de Salut National (CMSN) formally renounced territorial rights to the Western Sahara. Diplomatic relations with Algeria were re-established.

However, late King Hassan of Morocco reacted by sending reinforcements into Dakhla, the capital of Tigris Al Gharbia. A series of party troubles led to a coup on 16 March 1981, which Mauritania claimed had been supported by Morocco. The government crushed the coup and executed its four leaders.

The then head of state Ould Heydalla was still left with the challenge of the Western Sahara. He supported the Western Sahara's admission into the OAU, but did not recognize the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) until 27 February 1984. Under his leadership, however, the CMSN managed to abolish slavery on 15 July 1980.

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