Morocco's king attends AU summit for first time in 33 years

2017-01-31 18:11
King Mohammed VI (AFP)

King Mohammed VI (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Addis Ababa  - Morocco's King Mohammed VI took a seat at the African Union headquarters on Tuesday for the first time in 33 years after being re-admitted by the bloc.

"It is a beautiful day when one returns home after too long an absence. Africa is my continent and my home. I am finally home and I am happy to see you. I missed you all," the monarch told the closing ceremony of the AU summit in Ethiopia.

Morocco's return to the fold comes a day after 39 of the AU's 54 member states agreed to allow Morocco back in the fold, despite stiff resistance from countries such as South Africa and Algeria over the status of Western Sahara.

Morocco quit the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1984 after the bloc admitted the former Western Sahara as a separate member.

Morocco maintains that the former Spanish colony under its control is an integral part of the kingdom, while the Polisario Front, which campaigns for the territory's independence, demands a referendum on self-determination.

Some had feared Morocco would demand the expulsion of the SADR as a precondition for its own return to the AU, however the country agreed to return without conditions.

"From the moment that Morocco did not impose conditions ... we take their word for it and accept that Morocco be admitted to the African Union," said Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, foreign minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara.

Salek said Monday that having Morocco in the same room would allow the SADR to pressure them into fulfilling their obligations and allowing a referendum in accordance with a 1975 decision by the International Court of Justice.

"Now (if) Morocco is blocking (it) will be questioned by the head of states: why are you afraid of a referendum? "Why don't you allow the Sahrawi to choose their future freely?"

Read more on:    au  |  king mohammed vi  |  south africa  |  ethiopia  |  algeria  |  morocco  |  north africa  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.