Nema - Mauritania said on Wednesday it would send soldiers
to the United Nations peacekeeping force charged with ensuring security after
elections in conflict-scarred Mali - but only to areas near their shared
The MINUSMA force has replaced an African military mission
which had been supporting French soldiers who entered Mali in January to halt
an Islamist advance and to help the government re-establish its authority over
the vast country.
Mauritania has promised to provide up to 1 800 soldiers to
the mission, which is made up of at least 6 300 mostly African troops.
Mauritania's contribution will be part of a planned doubling
in the size of MINUSMA by the end of the year but Nouakchott says
"technical details" have delayed the deployment.
"We have set our conditions: our contribution will be
the deployment of our forces to the border areas... and not other parts of
Mali," Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz told a "meet the
public" event in the southeastern town of Nema.
The proviso goes against the wishes of the Malian
government, which has requested that the Mauritanian soldiers be deployed to
its borders with Niger and Burkina Faso, a Mauritanian government source told
"We are ready to participate in MINUSMA if these conditions
are accepted," Abdel Aziz added.
Former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was named
Mali's new president after his rival conceded defeat Monday in nationwide
He is tasked with leading the country's recovery from
turmoil following a military coup and an Islamist offensive which was repelled
by the French intervention.