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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has congratulated Mauritania for becoming the first country in North Africa to adopt a national refugee law. In a letter sent to the Mauritanian President, Maaouye Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said the law would "pave the way for the establishment of a national legal framework for the protection of refugees and returnees, and national asylum structures that can assume responsibility for managing refugee affairs in Mauritania."