Morocco has been readmitted into the African Union on Monday since it left in 1984 after the organisation’s recognition of the independence of Western Sahara.
The readmission was approved during the 28th AU Summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa after Morocco formally announced its wish to rejoin six months ago.
According to Senegalese President Macky Sall 39 heads of state out of 54 voted for the return of Morocco, AFP reports.
Morocco garnered the votes despite strong opposition by countries including South Africa who support the Polisario Front’s call for a referendum on self-rule which Morocco is against.
“Even if the question of Western Sahara remains a question being raised, one can continue to find solutions as a family. Admission has been made and the most important thing today is that Morocco is an integral member of the African Union,” Sall said.
“From the moment Morocco did not set conditions on its return, we take their word and we accept that Morocco is admitted to the African Union,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek said.
Morocco asked the African Union (AU) to readmit it, as it seeks support for its plan to offer autonomy to the disputed territory of Western Sahara while keeping it under Moroccan sovereignty.
Last year, the North African country accused the immediate past chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for blocking its efforts to rejoin the organisation.
Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has toured African countries in the last three months in an effort to gather support for its autonomy proposal for the Western Sahara.