Senegal is set to implement within 24 hours a plan to evacuate its nationals from Mauritania following a row over shared water supplies, government sources said Saturday.
Britain, France, Morocco and the United States will provide Senegal with airplanes and boats to help repatriate the nationals, according to the office of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
Senegalese military and government transports also will be used to evacuate the nationals.
Dakar has asked Nouakchott to open three additional border crossings on the river Senegal, which runs along the border, to supplement the flow of people through the Rosso checkpoint, the only authorized crossing, sources close to the crisis center in Dakar said.
Hundreds of Mauritanians living in Senegal, and thousands of Senegalese living in Mauritania, have returned to their home countries due to a dispute that broke out last weekend over a Senegalese irritation plan to use water from the river Senegal.
Some 100,000 Senegalese lived in Mauritania before the dispute broke out, 16,000 of whom were registered with the consulate.
On Monday, Mauritania granted the Senegalese nationals 15 days to leave the country.
Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare, who met Wade in Bamako on Friday, has offered to serve as a mediator in the conflict.
Senegal and Mauritania have a history of ethnic and economic rivalry that came to a head in 1989, when hundreds of people were killed in border clashes and international organizations helped repatriate nationals of both countries - DAKAR (AFP)
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