The Kingdom of Morocco has officially submitted a request to rejoin the African Union (AU). Morocco’s request indicates that they are ready to accede to the AU’s Constitutive Act, and therefore, take up membership of the union.
The north African country withdrew from the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1984 over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) as a full member of the body. It was the only African country that was not a member.
An top diplomatic advisor to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, Taieb Fassi Fihri, informed the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, when they met, on Thursday 22 September 2016, in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Taieb informed the AU Chairperson that Morocco had submitted the letter of intent on Thursday, 22 September 2016, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He also handed a copy to the Chairperson.
Acknowledging receipt, the Chairperson promised that due process will be followed, including officially informing Member States, as per the provisions of the AU Constitutive Act. The Kingdom of Morocco will be officially notified of the outcome.
Morocco also informed the Chairperson of plans underway to host COP22, which is scheduled to take place in Marrakech in 2017.
In a message to the AU summit in Rwanda in July, King Mohammed VI, said the time had come for his country to retake its place within its institutional family.
In a later interview with Africanews, journalist and analyst with the Institute for Security Studies, Liesel Louw-Vaudran who is attended the summit said Morocco’s application also came with some conditions.
“Apparently, Morocco applied to be re-admitted to the AU with pre-conditions asking for AU to suspend the Sahrawi Arab Republic in the Western Sahara.
“So that’s very interesting and in a way it’s sort of a victory to Sahrawi because they are able to be members of the AU together with Morocco.”
Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its territory, much of which it has occupied since 1975. But the AU recognises Western Sahara as an independent state. Morocco had insisted that it would only join the AU on the condition that the membership of Western Sahara was withdrawn or frozen.