On the eve of the meeting of European Fisheries Ministers, whose agenda will cover the issue of agreements between the EU and Mauritania, For-Mauritania has written to the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Jeo BORG.
In this letter, For-Mauritania draws the attention of European Commissioner to the danger, in its view, of an eventual payment of 86 million euros to a junta in search of internal and external recognition. Truly, the destination of these funds will be to buy off support and to fund all kinds of corruption, illustrated by the recent appointments made by the junta.

Here is the text of the letter:

Commissioner Jeo Borg Paris, 28 September 2008
European Commission
B-1049 Brussels
Email: Cabinet-Borg@ec.europa.eu

Mr. Commissioner,

The European Union is prepared to pay 86 million euros to the military junta, perpetrators of a coup against the rule of law in Mauritania. The payment would come under EU-Mauritania fisheries agreements and would be conditional upon obtaining guarantees regarding the "terms of the contract concerning the use of funds" from the EU.

We, the undersigned, Mauritanian residents in Europe-- all of us executives and fully involved in diverse economic, social and academic facets within the European Union, would like to draw your attention to the following:

1. The putschists, lacking internal recognition (many of their supporters have defected) as well as external support (they are currently under the ultimatum of the African Union) will not hesitate for a moment to use this money for corruption and to buy support;

2. That money belongs to Mauritanians, negotiated by the legitimate government of the elected president. The junta does not represent Mauritania and cannot make any decisions on her behalf. The African Union, supported by the EU and the UN, has declared that any decision made by the junta is null and void. Paying that money to a group of officers who jailed an elected President would be tantamount to encouraging them to persist in their relentless agenda, despite the injunctions of the international community as a whole.

3. The willingness of some European states to see the fishing agreement implemented because of pressure from their fishermen does not serve Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the long run. Would it not be better to suspend an agreement with a rebel junta, hasten its downfall, and work with a legitimately elected and stable government, rather than cooperate with a junta that cannot guarantee its intentions or its longevity?

We remain at your disposal for further information. In the meantime please, Mr. Commissioner, accept our sincerest regards.

For-Mauritania http://www.fr.for-mauritania.org