Mauritania government denies seeking normalisation deal with Israel

Mauritania government denies seeking normalisation deal with Israel
Mauritania has denied that it was in talks with Israel for a normalisation deal.
2 min read
15 March, 2023
Mauritania cut off ties with Israel in 2009 after its war on Gaza [Getty/archive]

The Mauritanian government Monday denied that there was any communication with Israel to restore diplomatic relations.

"There are no contacts between Mauritania and Israel, and we are not preparing for normalisation," government spokesman Alnani Ashrouqa said, pointing out that Nouakchott "is not interested in tracking and denying what is published in international media."

It came in response to Israeli media reports that four Muslim countries, including Mauritania, were in talks with Israel to establish relations.

The reports mentioned an official request made by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Germany to help facilitate talks with the North African country.

On Tuesday, sources at Germany’s embassy in Mauritania denied that there were any connections between the visit of a German official to Nouakchott and reports on Israeli normalisation.

The Mauritanian Al-Akhbar website quoted an unnamed source at Berlin’s embassy as saying that the three-day visit by German Assistant Foreign Minister Katja Kohl "is exclusively related to strengthening cooperation between the two countries and raising the level of women’s integration into governance."

Mauritania, an Arab Muslim nation of about 4.5 million people, first established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999 but severed them in 2009 after Israel launched a deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, killing thousands of people. 

Israel struck normalisation deals with four Arab countries in 2020, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. It already shared ties with Egypt and Jordan decades prior.

Reports have emerged in recent months that Israel is seeking to establish ties with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia too.