Morocco lobbying leaders to return to AU

2016-07-16 19:36

Kigali - Morocco could be making a bid to return to the African Union after a 32-year absence – but it would have to follow the correct processes to do so.

AU Commission deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha told journalists at a briefing on the sidelines of the AU summit underway this weekend in Kigali, Rwanda that, if Morocco wanted to make a bid to return, “there is a process that they must go through”.

This meant that they should formally give an indication that they wanted to return, “and the individual member states would have to vote, and that will carry the day as to if Morocco can come back”.

Mwencha said, however, that he had not seen Morocco at the current summit, despite rumours that Moroccan King Mohammed VI was scheduled to attend.

“We have guests, they are welcome as guests, but the issue of coming back -  there is a legal process they have to follow if they want to come back.”

Morocco sent a special envoy, Taib Fassi Fihri, to meet with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on Friday to say it wanted its membership reinstated without pre-conditions.

Morocco has reportedly been lobbying the leaders of several African countries on this issue.

Morocco withdrew from the then Organisation of African Unity in 1984 after it accepted the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as member.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and it is considered by many African leaders to be the last colony in Africa.

Many AU member states, including South Africa, consider the SADR to be sovereign and have diplomatic relations with Western Sahara, which has recently elected Brahim Ghali as new secretary general of the Polisario Front and president of the SADR .

Mwencha said Western Sahara should have a referendum to determine whether they wanted sovereignty.

The United States, the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the European Union hold the same position, although there are individual countries that support Morocco’s claim over the territory.

Read more on:    au  |  morocco  |  north africa

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