African summit in Mauritania highlights Maghreb divisions |

TUNIS – Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, nearing the end of his term, played host to the 31st African Union (AU) summit, bringing renewed attention to his country on the African stage.

Thirty African leaders attended the 2-day meeting, which focused on free trade, fighting Islamist extremism and clamping down on corruption.

However, leaders of neighbouring Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which with Mauritania form the Arab Maghreb Union, stayed away from the gathering, reflecting lingering divisions and Algeria’s distrust over France’s role in a regional counterterror force.

That force, the G5 Sahel, is a military alliance backed by France and involving Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso to combat jihadism and lawlessness in the region.

The summit, July…

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