Brussels, 6 August 2008
The European Commission has expressed serious concern about the situation in Mauritania, which imperils the exemplary democratic advances made in the country since the coup of 2005. The transition to democracy, which was supported politically and financially by the European Union and culminated in the election of President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in 2007, had been welcomed by the whole international community.
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, "firmly condemned this military action and called for respect for democracy and for the legal institutional framework that has been in place in Mauritania since 2007". Commissioner Michel expressed the hope that the President and Prime Minister would soon be free again and able to resume their duties. "This situation risks calling into question our policy of cooperation with Mauritania, in the framework of which we have just finalised an aid programme of €156 million for 2008-2013 with the Mauritanian government in addition to the aid already granted".
The Commission will continue to follow very closely the development of events and will, when the time is right, assess the situation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Cotonou Agreement, of which Mauritania is a signatory.