France's Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe called on nations in Africa's Sahel region to emulate Mauritania, whose army has aggressively gone after suspected members of al-Qaida's North African branch.
In recent months, Mauritania has led cross-border raids into neighboring Mali, attacking bases belonging to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, a tactic that has been criticized by some in Mali.
Juppe told reporters on his visit to Nouakchott that Mauritania has "led an exemplary fight." He said France wishes other nations in the Sahel "would be more engaged."
AQIM has grown from a minor insurgency to a major threat that has rendered huge swaths of Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria off-limits to foreigners.