More Delays in Mauritania Power-Sharing Deal

Mauritania's much delayed power-sharing deal between military rulers and their political opponents is facing new difficulties over the army's refusal to dissolve the ruling council that took power following last August's coup.

More than two weeks after reaching an agreement in principal to share power, Mauritania's military and political leaders are at odds over a transitional government and a ruling military council.

An interim administration was to have been established twelve days ago with the civilian president toppled in last August's coup as its head. But Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi will not formally resign as president until the ruling military council that deposed him is dissolved.

The man who led that coup - and is now running for president - Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, says the military council must stay in place until elections July 18.

Mohamed Ould Maouloude led the team negotiating the deal for the political coalition backing President Abdallahi.

Maouloude says President Abdallahi is ready to step down and lead a transitional government, but not before the ruling military council behind the coup is dissolved. He says dissolving that council is a crucial part of the agreement and the military's refusal to do so is  blocking the power-sharing agreement from going through.

General Aziz Thursday sacked the man who led his negotiations in neighboring Senegal, replacing him with Mohamed Yahya Ould Horma.

Horma says there are some small problems with this "extremely important accord" and he is confident that Mauritanian parties will be able to resolve their differences with patriotism and pragmatism.

Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio is working to keep the accord from collapsing. The African Union says July's vote should not be delayed.

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