KIGALI, Rwanda, July 18 (UPI) — Morocco on Monday formally announced its intention to rejoin the African Union after leaving the organization more than three decades ago.
Morocco is the only African country that is not a member of the AU. It left the organization in 1984 after the AU recognized the independence of Western Sahara, which is known in Morocco as the “southern provinces.”
Moroccan King Mohammed VI made the announcement through a message to the AU summit being held in Rwanda this year — stating the time had come for Morocco to rejoin its family.
“Today, Morocco wishes resolutely and unequivocally to regain its place within its institutional family and to continue to live up to its responsibilities, with even more resolve and enthusiasm. Morocco firmly believes in the wisdom of the AU and its ability to restore legality and correct mistakes along the way,” the Moroccan king said in a message delivered by a special envoy. “Our friends have long been asking us to return among them so that Morocco may take its natural place within its institutional family. That time has now come … the time for ideology is over. Our peoples need concrete, tangible action.”
The AU said it will continue pushing for the rights of the people inhabiting Western Sahara with the goal of holding a self-determination referendum.