Albright praises new diplomatic ties between Israel, Mauritania
October 28, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Full diplomatic relations between Israel and Mauritania were established at a signing ceremony at the State Department Thursday.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright looked on as Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs David Levy and his Mauritanian counterpart Ahmed Ould Sid'Ahmed signed the documents. Albright said she hoped other Arab countries would "follow suit quickly" and establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
The agreement has prompted criticism from several other Arab nations, including Syria, which has urged Arab states to avoid official ties with Israel until a comprehensive peace in the Middle East is established.
Ould Sid'Ahmed defended his country's decision, calling it "a sovereign decision taken by a sovereign state."
Levy cited a proverb to describe his reaction to criticism of the symbolic signing saying, "Sometimes after the thunder comes the rain." He went on to say that there could be no time "better than this hour" to move toward a comprehensive peace in the region.
Mauritania, an Arab nation in northwest Africa, signed a mutual recognition pact with Israel in 1995. The country's foreign minister said Thursday that no decision has been made about whether the Mauritanian embassy will be in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Israel already has diplomatic relations with Jordan and Egypt. Morocco and Tunisia have interest offices in Israel. ###
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