August 6, 2008 / 1:48 PM / 10 years ago

INSTANT VIEW: Reaction to coup in Mauritania

(Reuters) - Below is reaction to the coup in Mauritania on Wednesday.

NIGERIAN PRESIDENT UMARU YAR’ADUA

“Nigeria totally condemns the event that took place today in Mauritania. Nigeria will not recognize any government that did not come to power through constitutional means.”

GONZALO GALLEGOS, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN

“This was a democratically elected, constitutional government and we condemn the act.”

LOUIS MICHEL, EU AID AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONER

“This situation could put into question our policy of cooperation with Mauritania.”

AFRICAN UNION STATEMENT

“The African Union ... condemns the coup d’Etat and demands the restoration of constitutional legality.”

RAZIA KHAN, CHIEF AFRICA ECONOMIST, STANDARD CHARTERED

“Mauritania had been seen as a relative success following the restoration of an elected government following (another) coup. This news will come as a setback to perceptions of improved governance. It should also result in some focus on the political stability of Africa’s new oil economies, more broadly. A timely reminder of what is at stake and the risks — not favorable for investor sentiment.”

RUAIRI PATTERSON, ANALYST, CONTROL RISKS GROUP

“Previous coups in Mauritania have been bloodless although this is against a democratically elected government... It may have more impact on the security environment than previous ones. In terms of economic policy, while it is too early to say anything definitive, I can’t see it leading to a major reorientation. Foreign investment there is mainly oil and mining companies and a lot of them have seen this before. But it is disappointing and will not help sentiment towards Mauritania, which had been pretty positive up until around half way through last year.

“In terms of aid, it may imperil aid from foreign institutions at least in the short term. I can’t see this going down very well with the European Union. It will depend in part on if and how quickly civilian power is restored. In terms of democratization in the region it is disappointing but I can’t see it making much difference in terms of sentiment towards other countries.

“There were rumors about two weeks ago that might be a coup in the offing. It was a bit of an open secret that two senior military commanders were fanning this split within the ruling party. In the last few days there had been rumors they had decided to pull back but the president’s decision to dismiss two senior generals appears to have prompted the coup.”

KISSY AGYEMAN, ANALYST, GLOBAL INSIGHT

“I think what’s happened in last few hours is indicative of the level of uncertainty that’s been whipped up quite recently. It’s difficult to say which way it will go.”

“This new democracy hasn’t really been given a chance. I think a lot of expectations have been put on the government and granted that a year has passed but that is not enough time to judge.”

“I doubt it will be a smooth transition (from now) because people had embraced the idea of having a democratic government.”

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