On October 28, 1999, Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy signed an agreement in Washington establishing full diplomatic relations with Mauritania, an Islamic-ruled country located in Africa and a member of the Arab League.
The signing ceremony was held in the presence of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who had invited Levy and his Mauritanian counterpart, Ahmed SidAhmed.
Both Israel and the United States view the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Mauritania as a milestone in the promotion of normalization, which is widely seen as the goal of the peace process which has evolved since the Madrid Conference. Mauritania joins Egypt and Jordan as the only members of the Arab League to post ambassadors in Israel.
Earlier that year, in July 1999, Israel established its first project in Mauritania - an eye clinic operated by the Foreign Ministry's Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV). The clinic provided treatment for many patients at the central hospital in the capital, Nouakchott, with the participation of Dr. Irit Rosenblatt and Dr. Anat Robinson, of the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva.
On their first day at the hospital, the doctors saw about 520 patients. During their stay, the doctors performed eye operations on patients suffering form various degrees of blindness, using a large quantity of disposable equipment flown in from Israel.
As part of the medical assistance Israel is extending to Mauritania, it was also decided to promote the establishment of a national institute for treating terminal illnesses.
Sources: Israel Government Press Office