Morocco has been readmitted to the African Union (AU) more than thirty years after it left due to disagreements over the disputed Western Saharan territory. On Monday, 30th of January, a vote of 39 out of 54 by the African Heads of States welcomed the return of Morocco bolstering hopes of peace and stability within the African region, and within the African Union.
Addressing African Heads of State at the Summit in Addis Adaba, King Mohammed VI of Morocco stated that: “Africa is my home, and I am coming back home.”
Some feared that Morocco’s return would be conditional on the expulsion of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Yet, the return was unconditional and even welcomed by Mohamed Salem Ould Slak, the foreign minister of the SADR, who stated that: “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.”
Morocco quit in 1984 after the African Union admitted Western Sahara as a separate member state, thus recognizing its independence.
Morocco’s unconditional return shows willingness to overcome past grievance and disagreements, demonstrating readiness to pave the way for political engagement and stability. Morocco, however, still does not recognize Western Sahara’s sovereignty, since its annexation in 1975, maintaining the former Spanish colony under its control as an integral part of the kingdom.
(Source: Agence France Press)