Published: Tue, January 31, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Morocco rejoins the African Union after 33 years

Morocco rejoins the African Union after 33 years

The African Union resolved to accept Morocco's application, but failed to address a fundamental objection as to what happens to the continued subjugation of the people of Western Sahara by the very same Kingdom of Morocco; a disturbing indication of where lies the priorities of the African Union.

In 1984, Morocco left the Organization of African Unity - the predecessor of the AU - after the union formally recognized the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in the Western Sahara region, which Rabat considers Moroccan territory.

"It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long!" The historic decision, in which 39 of 54 member states voted in favor, is a crowning achievement for Moroccan King Mohammed VI's diplomatic goals and vision for the continent.

Summit delegates at the 28 AU summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa held a tense and emotional debate.

"The massive, outspoken support Morocco has received is proof of the solid bonds that unite us", the Moroccan king said.

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The decision to have the country as the 55th member of the African Union is aimed at giving boost to the regional economy as Morocco is an emerging economic and political power in the continent.

During its absence from the AU, Morocco maintained strong ties with many countries in the continent, particularly in French-speaking states in west and central Africa.

He said that the country has a link that binds to the rest of African countries. For the AU, the return of Morocco, the sixth largest economy in Africa, will be highly profitable. Its private companies are present in several African countries operating in banking, telecommunication, construction, insurance, housing, electricity, fertilizers, air transports...revving up social and economic development of Africa. "That's made with the understanding that Western Sahara will remain a member of the AU", said Lamine Baali, ambassador of Western Sahara to Ethiopia and the AU.

Salek said the re-admission of Morocco will help pressure the authorities into holding a referendum to "allow the Sahrawi to choose their future". "We have to deal with the problems of Africa", he said.

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