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Morocco Rejoins the African Union | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Leaders gathered for a group photo at the 28th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday. PHOTO: MULUGETA AYENE/ASSOCIATED PRES

Addis Ababa – The African Union (AU) on Monday admitted Morocco as its 55th member, through an overwhelming consensus rather than the usual voting process.

African leaders, who convened in Addis Ababa for the 28th AU ordinary session, decided to debate the question of Morocco’s membership and “reached a consensus,” according to several ministers who participated in the discussion.

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, 32 years ago in protest at the recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a member state.

Meanwhile, AU members elected Chad’s Moussa Mahamat as the new AU Commission chairman. The former Chadian prime minister will succeed South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who headed the union’s executive and administrative arm since 2012.

The president of Guinea Alpha Conde was elected Chairman of the African Union (AU), replacing the outgoing president of Idris Debbi of Chad to lead the continent for 2017. He won after securing the vote of the West African countries.

“I will work to improve the low representation of Africa in U.N. organizations. And I hope the representation will be improved and help us echo African voices,” he said in a statement after his election.

“Africans can speak in a single voice; Africa is one and indivisible,” he said stressing the need of further boosting the cooperation among member states.