Mauritania Table of Contents
Like its predecessor, the CMSN sought first to negotiate peace with the Polisario without sacrificing its friendly ties with Morocco and France. In its domestic policies, the Mauredominated CMSN embittered both black and Maure civilians because it refused to share power with either group. In addition, the government insisted on using Arabic exclusively in the secondary schools, provoking a wave of student protests in April 1979 (see Education , ch. 2).
In July 1979, its patience exhausted, the Polisario ended its cease-fire. Confronted with endless warfare and total economic collapse, the CMSN on August 5 signed a peace treaty in Algeria with the Polisario, according to which Mauritania renounced all territorial and other claims over the Western Sahara. The Polisario, in return, renounced all claims regarding Mauritania. Most significant, Mauritania recognized the Polisario as the sole legitimate representative of the people of the Western Sahara, although in an effort to convince Morocco of its neutrality in the conflict, it did not recognize the Polisario's governing arm, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The CMSN government also agreed to withdraw from Tiris al Gharbiyya. However, just a few days after the signing of the peace treaty, Morocco occupied Tiris al Gharbiyya, rendering the issue moot and threatening the peace.
Data as of June 1988