In Mauritania, Grande-Marlaska reinforces a migration policy "that saves lives"

News - 2022.11.2

"Cooperation with countries like Mauritania is one of the keys that is allowing us to reduce the number of irregular arrivals in Spain year on year and that is also allowing us to save lives by preventing mafias from putting thousands of people at risk", the minister pointed out.

Grande-Marlaska met in Nouakchott with the Ministers for Home Affairs and Decentralisation, Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Lemine; Defence, Hanana Ould Sidi; and Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Mohamed Ould Abdine Ould Emaiyif.

This Thursday he will meet with the country's president, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, and will also visit the National Police and Guardia Civil detachments in the city of Nouadhibou, which are responsible for collaborating with the Mauritanian authorities to dismantle the trafficking mafias and prevent irregular departures.

During Grande-Marlaska's third visit to the country, the minister thanked his counterpart for "the great preventive effort that the Mauritanian authorities are making, together with the Spanish State Law Enforcement Forces and Agencies, which are proving decisive in preventing a significant number of departures to the Canary Islands".

For his part, Mauritania's Minister for Home Affairs and Decentralisation, Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Lemine, agreed with his country's desire to promote bilateral cooperation. "Mauritania has been and continues to be interested in everything that helps to create a real space for exchange with Spain in different fields and sectors, especially in the areas of cooperation in security and the fight against illegal immigration, smuggling and all forms of crime and organised crime, as well as in training and the exchange of experiences in these areas", he said during the meeting.

The most tangible result of this collaboration has been that there have only been 166 irregular arrivals originating from the Mauritanian coasts so far this year compared to the 1,957 that took place in 2021. "We are talking about fewer departures but also fewer deaths at sea, the joint work of the Mauritanian and Spanish security forces saves lives and is an example to follow", stressed Grande-Marlaska.

The Guardia Civil troops deployed in Mauritania, together with the Gendarmerie, Police and Coast Guard, carried out 351 actions in the second quarter of 2022 alone, with the intervention of 28 cayucos and the interception of 4,344 migrants, including organisers and collaborators dedicated to favouring people smuggling.

The National Police, for its part, so far in 2022, has carried out a total of 125 actions together with its Mauritanian counterparts, which has led to the dismantling of 25 criminal organisations dedicated to human trafficking.

European Union assistance

Grande-Marlaska congratulated his Mauritanian counterpart on these results and advocated "continuing to develop collaboration strategies" that could be expanded "with multilateral European support".

In this regard, he stressed that the future Migration and Asylum Pact of the European Union that "the Mauritanian authorities are negotiating with the European Agency for Border and Coast Guard (FRONTEX) to strengthen a status agreement that would allow its troops to provide operational support in preventing irregular departures and combating migrant trafficking.

The Spanish minister stressed "the strategic nature of Mauritania for Spain, not only in regard to migration, but also in other areas such as the fight against terrorism, organised crime, road safety and civil protection". In the field of counter-terrorism, the home affairs ministers discussed the situation in the Sahel and shared the need to establish international actions and strategies against groups operating in that region.

"Mauritania can count on Spain's full support and collaboration in the fight against international terrorism and organised crime. The exchange of information and operational cooperation are essential to confront these threats", said Grande-Marlaska.

Non official translation