Morocco returns to the African Union

A diplomatic success

The African Union
The African Union
17 AUG 2016
by

Time Has Now Come for Morocco to regain 'its Natural Place' within the African Union

In a message to the 27th summit of the African Union in Kigali, Moroccan King Mohammed VI announced Morocco's return to the African union. “Time has now come" so that Morocco regains its natural place within the African Union (AU), stressed HM King Mohammed VI in a message to the 27th AU Summit, held in Kigali last month.

"One cannot change geography, nor can one escape the burden of history," the Sovereign noted, stressing that for this reason Morocco should not remain outside its African institutional family and should regain its natural, rightful place within the AU. From within, Morocco will contribute to making the AU a more robust organization - one that is both proud of its credibility and relieved of the trappings of an obsolete era, the King stressed, noting that more than a decade after the birth of the African Union, the challenge still facing the Continent is that of "achieving our family’s unity and cohesion."

The King said that Morocco, which withdrew from the AU, has never left Africa. It simply left an institution, in 1984, in very special circumstances, stressing the fact that Morocco's passionate relationship with the Continent explains why the recognition of a pseudo state "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)” was understandably too hard for the Moroccan people to accept. "The time has come to reject manipulations and funding for separatist movements and to stop sustaining timeworn conflicts in Africa in order to concentrate on one course of action, that of promoting human and sustainable development, combating poverty and malnutrition, ensuring healthcare for our people, providing education for our children and raising the living standards for everyone," the King said.

The Sovereign regretted the fact that some countries continue to claim that Morocco is not in a position to represent Africa, arguably because its population is not predominantly black, adding that Africa is not just about color. On high instructions of King Mohammed VI, speaker of the House of Representatives (lower house), Rachid Talbi Alami, was received in Kigali by President of the Republic of Chad and the current Chairperson of the African Union (AU), His Excellency Idriss Deby Itno. On the occasion, Talbi Alami handed over to the Chadian President a message from the King to the 27th AU Summit, which is being held in the Rwandan capital.

United States & France Support Morocco's Return to African Union

The United States has expressed its support to the return of Morocco to the African Union, deeming it a "very important" step of a "strategic partner" of the USA. "We welcome Morocco's request for the reintegration in the African Union", US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, said in an interview with a Moroccan channel.

"This is a very important step. The presence of Morocco in the African Union is very positive for us", Blinken said in this interview, in which he tackled several topics such as COP22, scheduled for November in Marrakech, the future of cooperation between Morocco and the United States, and the security challenges in the Maghreb and the Sahel regions. Also, France encouraged Morocco's return to the African Union, deeming that this decision constitutes an "important contribution to the growing integration of the African continent".

"Morocco's return to the African Union would make an important contribution to the growing integration of the African continent, which France is encouraging", French Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Romain Nadal, said at a press briefing. "A united Africa is indeed a factor of peace, stability and development for the continent and the rest of the world", he stressed.

Motion of 28 African Countries for SADR Suspension from the African Union

Following the message of the King Mohammed VI to the 27th summit of the African Union, 28 countries members of this organization sent to his Excellency Driss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad and current Chairman of the African Union (AU), a motion for the suspension of what is called "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" from the activities of the AU and its organs, to enable the pan-African organization to play a constructive role and contribute positively to UN efforts for a final resolution to the regional dispute over the Sahara.

The full text of this motion addressed by His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, on behalf of Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Sao Tome, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Zambia.

The African Union reacted to the decision of Morocco to join the African Union

In a statement issued on July 26th on the official website of AU, entitled "Morocco has not participated in the 27th Summit of the African Union and has not spoken", the AU wants to set the straight record. Several media have indeed reported that Morocco has actually and officially attended the summit, as several Moroccan officials have traveled in the Rwandan capital, including the Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar. The AU would recall that there was no official participation of Morocco in the AU summit, said the statement.

The communiqué of the African Union, however, confirm receipt of the letter of King Mohammed VI by the Chadian president, but says that "this issue (the return of Morocco to the AU) was not on the agenda of Summit and has not been discussed during the deliberations of the Conference of heads of State and Government ", since the AU has not received any official request from Morocco to its return that will be voted.

The Commission of the African Union, chaired by South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma, also held to "remember that the Constitutive Act of the African Union contains no provision for expulsion of any member from the Union ", the letter said, referring to the African Saharawi Democratic Republic, proclaimed by the Polisario separatist, who joined the AU in 1982, two years before Morocco leaves the pan-African body.