Magharebia (Washington DC)

29 January 2013

Mauritania: Nation Opens New Border Posts

Nouakchott — The new Rosso border post will help security. Mauritania's defence policy begins with its borders.

"Mauritania, like many other countries, is faced with the challenge of ensuring control of its borders in a regional context of an evolving security situation," European Union (EU) Ambassador Hans-Georg Gerstenlauer said at the Rosso post opening on January 23rd.

"Border management plays a key role in countering all forms of smuggling. One response to this challenge is the effective management of flows of people entering and leaving according to international agreements and laws," the ambassador added.

The new post is one of eleven financed by the EU, in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Mauritania's Territorial Security Directorate.

"This border post at Rosso is important because it brings together the various police and customs services to a single site. Entering and leaving Mauritania will be faster and border controls will be more effective and more user-friendly," the EU statement said.

European aid to Mauritania has included "equipping three airports with IT systems and passport readers, building 11 posts, supplying 27 posts with IT and solar energy equipment and training hundreds of border police officers", the EU said.

Moreover, the EU is helping Mauritania to develop "the first migration strategy in the country and the entire sub-region".

"The European Union is also supporting the implementation of that strategy by providing financial assistance worth 8 million euros," the statement added.

In 2010, Mauritania instituted 48 border posts as exclusive entry and exit points for the country.

"Over recent years we've seen the migration of people fleeing long-term conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, and so on. There has been transit migration to Europe via North Africa and the Canaries. This situation has led the Mauritanian government to monitor its borders, both on the land and at sea, more carefully," law professor Mohamed Lemine Ould Jidou said.

"The dangers of illegal migration are huge," he said.

"Some of those emigrants, faced with the failure of their plans... are frequently tempted by organised crime or even terrorism. These are dangerous alternatives, but more often than not they are the only choice they have," he added.

As for the latest measures, Ould Jidou said the government had "identified 45 top-priority check points where those wanting to come onto Mauritanian soil will be obliged to register".

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