Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna

Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna (born 1956[1]) is a Mauritanian political figure. He was the 7th Prime Minister of Mauritania from January 2, 1996 to December 18, 1997, Minister of Foreign Affairs from July 12, 1998 to November 16, 1998, and Prime Minister again from November 16, 1998 to July 6, 2003 under President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya; later, he briefly served as Minister of Foreign Affairs again in 2008.

Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna
7th Prime Minister of Mauritania
In office
January 2, 1996 – December 18, 1997
Preceded bySidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar
Succeeded byMohamed Lemine Ould Guig
In office
November 16, 1998 – July 6, 2003
Preceded byMohamed Lemine Ould Guig
Succeeded bySghair Ould M'Bareck
Personal details
Born1956 (age 63–64)
Political partyRepublican Party for Democracy and Renewal


Khouna was born in 1956 in Amourj in the eastern Mauritanian province of Hodh Ech Chargui. He was educated in nearby Néma and at a lycee in Nouakchott, graduating in 1978.[2] He received an advanced degree in agricultural science in Morocco, where he lived from 1978 to 1982. Khouna returned to Mauritania and joined the civil service, serving as director of the fisheries company Societe Mauritanienne de Commercialisation du Popsson (SMCP) from 1984 to 1992.[3] He was Director of the Algerian-Mauritanian Fishing Company from 1992 to 1993, then became Secretary-General of the Mauritanian Ministry of Fishing in 1994.[1] He was subsequently appointed to the government as Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy on February 21, 1995. On January 2, 1996, Khona became Prime Minister, replacing Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar. In a surprise decision shortly after the reelection of the President, he stepped down as premier in December 1997 in favor of law professor Mohamed Lemine Ould Guig and became Minister Secretary-General of the Presidency. Between July 12 and November 16, 1998 Khouna served as Minister of Foreign Affairs during a period of instability in the cabinet.[3]

After leaving the Foreign Ministry, he was reappointed to the premiership under President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. Khouna helped to come up with and carry out the policies of the President and attended many important conferences in place of Taya. In the summer on 1999, Khouna suffered a foreign policy setback when he could not secure an audience with Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika due to Mauritania's establishing full ties with Israel. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically despite having a good relationship for two decades prior. Khouna denounced the opposition party, Action pour le Changement, in an important speech at the National Assembly in December 2001. The group was outlawed two weeks later.[3] A member of the Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal, some of his aims were to address environmental issues.[4]

In late December 2002, he announced that the government had responded "rapidly, efficiently and responsibly" to a potential famine and helped livestock farmers.[5] He attacked the rise of Islamic extremism and the potential of youth recruitment to their cause in a May 2003 speech.[6] Khouna began to become critical of some of the actions of the President. In the unsuccessful coup of June 9, 2003, he was detained on suspicion of having sympathies with the plotters of the coup and attempting to seek asylum in Spain. On July 6, Khouna was replaced as premier by Sghair Ould M'Bareck, who previously served as minister of education. Khouna would not serve in any cabinet position until 2008.[7]

In the government of Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed El Waghef, named on May 11, 2008, Khouna was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs.[8][9] The inclusion of Khouna and others who had served under Taya in Waghef's government was controversial, however. This government survived for only two months, and Khouna was not included in the next government, appointed on July 15, 2008.[10] In any case, the coup of August 6, 2008 led to the toppling of President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and his government.[7]

On May 21, 2011, he was named ambassador to Tunisia.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Ministry of Foreign Affairs". AMI (in French). Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Pazzanita 2008, p. 108.
  3. ^ a b c Pazzanita 2008, p. 109.
  4. ^ East & Thomas 2014, p. 346
  5. ^ "Mauritania PM claims success in famine response". ReliefWeb. AFP. December 30, 2002. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Nouakchott slams Islamic extremism". Middle East Online. May 19, 2003. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Pazzanita 2008, p. 110.
  8. ^ "Mauritanie: formation d'un gouvernement de 30 membres dont 4 de l'opposition". Jeune Afrique (in French). AFP. May 11, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "Désignation du nouveau gouvernement". AMI (in French). May 11, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "Formation d'un gouvernement sans les partis de l'opposition". Jeune Afrique (in French). AFP. July 16, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Cheikh El Avia, accrédité Ambassadeur auprès de Tunis". Le Véridique (in French). May 21, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2016.


  • East, Roger; Thomas, Richard (2014). Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Routledge. ISBN 1317639391.
  • Pazzanita, Anthony G. (2008). Historical Dictionary of Mauritania (3rd. ed.). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810862654.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar
Prime Minister of Mauritania
Succeeded by
Mohamed Lemine Ould Guig
Preceded by
Mohamed Lemine Ould Guig
Prime Minister of Mauritania
Succeeded by
Sghair Ould M'Bareck