Addis Ababa – “Africa is my continent, and my home,” Moroccan King Mohammed VI said in his speech on Tuesday at the 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
“It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long! It is a good day when you can show your affection for your beloved home,” he stated.
The AU on Monday admitted Morocco as its 55th member, through an overwhelming consensus rather than the usual voting process.
The North African country has formally submitted its bid to rejoin the AU last year, when King Mohammed VI set out his government’s aim to put his country “at the center” of the continent’s development.
Morocco withdrew from the African Union’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), 32 years ago in protest at the recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a member state.
“I am home at last and happily reunited with you. I have missed you all,” the king said.
“The massive, outspoken support Morocco has received is proof of the solid bonds that unite us,” he added.
He went on to say that Morocco’s withdrawal from the OAU was “necessary”.
“It has enabled Morocco’s action to be refocused in Africa to show how indispensable Africa is to Morocco and how indispensable Morocco is to Africa,” he stated.
King Mohammed VI also stressed the existing strong bilateral relations between his country and other African countries.
“At a time when the Kingdom is among the most developed African nations and when a majority of Member States looks forward to our return, we have decided to join our family again; a family we did not really leave! In fact, despite having been absent from the AU institutions for so many years, our links, which have never been severed remained strong and African sister nations have always been able to rely on us,” he said.
“It is time for Africa to benefit from Africa’s wealth. We must work to enable our land, after decades of looting, to enter an era of prosperity,” he added.