Mauritaniaâ€™s post-coup leader says his country will maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, upholding its position as one of the only Arab nations to recognize the Jewish State. Diplomacy with Israel was â€œin the interest of both nations and [of] peace,â€ Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall told reporters at the presidential palace in his first press conference since the bloodless coup in August, according to the Associated Press. In 1999 Mauritania became one of three Arab countries to have diplomatic ties with Israel. The decision was unpopular among many Mauritanians, as well as other Arabs, who either reject peace with Israel altogether or believe that the peace with Israel can only follow a final settlement with the Palestinians. In an interview published last week in the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique Lâ€™intelligent Vall said, â€œThe decision to recognize [Israel] has been made. Since 1947, until the Oslo Accords, the confrontation policy has produced no results for the Palestinian cause.â€ Vall, who was formerly the national police chief and is now chairman of the 17-member Military Council for Justice and Democracyâ€š led the coup that overthrew a regime believed by many to be corrupt, but did not intend to forcefully keep himself in power, he said. He indicated that elections would take place within two years and no members of his junta would be able to run.