Morocco makes bid to return to African Union

18 Jul 16

Morocco has asked to rejoin the African Union 32 years after it left the organisation due to a dispute over the sovereignty of the Western Sahara.


The Moroccan King Mohammed VI formally requested to rejoin the union during an AU Summit in Rwanda last week, stating it was time for his country to take its natural place within the institutional family. The country’s return will now be decided by a vote.

Morocco, the only African nation which is currently not a member of the AU, left the bloc in 1984 in protest after the organisation announced it would recognise the Western Sahara as independent.

The AU has since supported calls for an independence referendum from the Sahraw people’s Polisario Front Movement, which wants self-determination for Western Sahara.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975, and has considered the territory to be in its “southern provinces” since.

The King urged the bloc to reconsider its stance on what he described as a “phantom state”, stating that Morocco was seeking a political solution overseen by the United Nations.

He highlighted that at least 34 countries do not recognise Western Sahara, and said that through this “historic act and return” he wants to work within the AU to “transcend divisions”. 

  • Emma Rumney

    Emma is a reporter at Cooking Recipes International. She also writes for in the UK.

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