News24

Aziz ready for talks with foes

2010-06-08 21:39

Nouakchott - Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is ready for a frank dialogue on "all the problems" facing the west African desert nation, according to opposition leader Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf.

"The president announced to me that he was ready for dialogue with opposition leaders on all the problems that arise," Ould Waghf told AFP after meeting the head of state late on Monday.

Ould Waghf, a prime minister in the ousted regime of Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, said that Ould Abdel Aziz was ready "to discuss everything, including the electoral code", which is a key opposition demand.

"I have informed the president of the Co-ordination of the Democratic Opposition (COD), Ahmed Ould Daddah, and he should in principle convene a meeting of leaders to debate," Ould Waghf added.

Ould Abdel Aziz, a general who overthrew civilian president Ould Cheikh Abdallahi on August 6 2008, was elected president on July 18 2009 with more than 52% of the votes in the first round of the election.

The president has rejected the idea of power-sharing with the opposition, stating earlier this year that they should be happy to "play the role of a democratic opposition and leave the job of governing the country to the majority".

But the opposition has recalled that the Dakar accords signed in June 2009 to end the crisis brought about by the coup in 2008 contain a clause that provides for inclusive dialogue between all political forces, "to pacify the political scene and enable a democratic changeover of power".