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Algeria, Mauritania to open first border post

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Maghreb neighbors Algeria and Mauritania are to open their first border post more than 50 years after independence from France, the Mauritanian news agency AMI reported Thursday. Mauritanian Interior Minister Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and Algerian counterpart Noureddine Bedoui signed an accord Bedoui ended a visit to Nouakchott on Wednesday, according to AMI.

The two states have a common frontier stretching across 460 kilometers (285 miles) of western Saharan desert. However, the frontier has been declared a military zone on the Mauritanian side, and the movement of people is banned. Trafficking of weapons, oil, drugs and migrants, as well as clashes between armed groups, are rife in the area.

No date has yet been proposed for the crossing, which would be located at Chegga, in the far northeast of the country with Tindouf the nearest Algerian town. Nor have details emerged on the extent the move is expected to boost bilateral trade. Bedoui and Abdallah said the opening would make the area more secure, and Bedoui stressed the benefits for trade.

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