Morocco and Mauritania are once again showing a cordial understanding in their security relations with a meeting between the two police chiefs. The Mauritanian Mesgharou Ould Sidi Leghweizi visited the headquarters of the DGSN (Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale) in Rabat for a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Hammouchi.
A press release issued by the Moroccan Directorate General informed the media on Tuesday about this meeting, which aims to strengthen ties between the two countries in the area of security.
According to the DGSN, the meeting provided an opportunity to review the state of relations in these areas, as well as to examine the bilateral cooperation mechanisms used by the two countries. According to the communiqué, there is a willingness on the part of both governments to expand these mechanisms in the future. This is the second meeting between the two police chiefs in two years.
Hammouchi, who also heads the Moroccan intelligence services, the DGST (Direction Général de la Surveillance du Territoire), has a lot to discuss with Ould Sidi. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the polarisation of the international scene has also taken hold in North Africa. There, Mauritania has always played an ambiguous role, with little intervention in the regional differences that pit its neighbours against each other. Thus, it juggles between trying to maintain as good relations as possible with both Morocco and Algeria.
However, NATO's recent interest in the country that separates the Sahara from the Sahel should not leave Morocco indifferent. As a major NATO ally, it can play its cards to progressively draw Mauritania to its side. Mauritania's cooperation is a must for Rabat to ensure good control and smooth transit through the Guerguerat border crossing point, to which its N-1 national highway leads.
For the internal security of the two countries, the two leaders agreed to reinforce their exchange of information. Morocco, with Hammouchi at the helm of police and intelligence, is fighting a fierce battle against Islamic terrorism and insurgency. Both problems have threatened Mauritania in recent years, so it is in Nouakchott's interest to gain Moroccan expertise in this area.
It is to be expected that the two senior officials also discussed the control of irregular migration, and in particular the maritime routes. Morocco becomes the final stage of the journey for many Africans, the last hurdle to cross before reaching Europe.
Relations between Morocco and Mauritania have been particularly strengthened in all aspects since the Akhannouch government came to power. In March 2022, the two countries signed a convention of agreements comprising a series of memoranda of understanding in many sectors. From maritime cooperation to vocational training to investment and business.
The memoranda also included one signed by Hammouchi and his counterpart, as well as another signed by the judicial police. This memorandum is the one that largely articulates the cooperation between the two countries, and which only five months later could be extended to improve the resources offered to the Moroccan and Mauritanian authorities.
September has been an intense month for relations between the two neighbours. At the beginning of the month, a cooperation protocol was signed between the regional governments of Guelimín Oued Nun and the Nouakchott region on the sidelines of the Forum of African Regions.
Later, on 24 September, the Mauritanian Minister of Culture visited Morocco, and on 26 September it was the turn of the foreign ministers, who met during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
After Hammouchi and Ould Sidi, the joint fisheries committee chaired by Ministers Mohamed Sadiki and Mohamed Ould Abdin Ould Maïev will meet on 29 and 30 September.