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Morocco asks to rejoin the African Union after 32 years

More than three decades after leaving in row over membership of Western Sahara, Morocco wants to return to bloc.

King Mohammed VI and Paul Kagame

Earlier this year, Morocco ordered the UN to pull out several of its staff members and to close down a military liaison office for the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's use of the term "occupation" to describe Morocco's presence in Western Sahara.

In his message, King Mohammed urged the AU to reconsider its stance on what he called the "phantom state", saying that a political solution was being worked on under the supervision of the UN.

Western Sahara is not a member of either the UN or the Arab League, he said, adding that "at least 34 countries do not recognise it.

"On the Sahara issue, institutional Africa can no longer bear the burden of a historical error and a cumbersome legacy," the King said.

"Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions."

Morocco's return to the AU would need to be validated by a vote.

According to MAP, the official Moroccan news agency, the monarch said that although his country had left the organisation, "it never quit Africa." 


READ MORE: UN chief regrets Western Sahara 'occupation' comment 


Morocco considers Western Sahara an important part of the kingdom. The Sahrawi people's Polisario Front movement, which demands self-determination for Western Sahara, wants a referendum on independence.

Earlier this year, Morocco ordered the UN to pull out several of its staff members and to close down a military liaison office for the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's use of the term "occupation" to describe Morocco's presence in Western Sahara.

In his message, King Mohammed urged the AU to reconsider its stance on what he called the "phantom state", saying that a political solution was being worked on under the supervision of the UN.

Western Sahara is not a member of either the UN or the Arab League, he said, adding that "at least 34 countries do not recognise it.

"On the Sahara issue, institutional Africa can no longer bear the burden of a historical error and a cumbersome legacy," the King said.

"Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions."

Morocco's return to the AU would need to be validated by a vote.


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