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African Union Commission Holds its 30th Summit, Mulls over Morocco’s Return | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A general view taken on January 30, 2016 in Addis Ababa shows the 26th presidential summit of the African Union. (TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Addis Ababa – The African Union (AU) will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday with the participation of several leaders and officials as well as regional and international economic organizations.

The AU’s 54 member states will gather for a packed two-day meeting in which they will also have to elect a new chairperson after failing to do so at a Summit six months ago.

The members are expected to consider a divisive bid by Morocco to rejoin the bloc after almost 3 decades of leaving in protest at its decision to accept Western Sahara as a member, but announced its intention to rejoin last July.

The summit will also discuss several important issues including electing a new president, budgets to support peace process, and abolition of non-trade borders in Africa.

The commission will also consider withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the court’s prejudice against Africa wasn’t treated.

Informed sources didn’t rule out the possibility that King Mohammed VI, king of Morocco, will give a speech before the AU after his country has been accepted to rejoin.

On Thursday, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, current chairperson of the African Union Commission, met with Salaheddine Mezouar, Moroccon Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, to put the final touches on Rabat’s return to the AU.

Although nothing was revealed about the meeting, it is evident that the meeting with Zuma indicates Morocco’s return amid a calm diplomatic atmosphere especially with its foes.

Ethiopia also hoisted the Moroccan flag in the streets of Addis Ababa with other countries’ flags.

Over the past few days, the Moroccan delegation avoided the press in Addis Ababa, as they seemed relaxed to the current situation after touring all over Africa lobbying for support to return to the AU.

Morocco expressed its relief in the return to the union after 40 states, out of the 54, showed their support.

There is a wind of change in the $200 million building gift from China to the AU. Yet, when looking at the pictures decorating the walls, one notices the imbalance of the union. There are pictures of members of the African Union Organization and others of the African Union Commission.

Another issue dividing African leaders is a growing discontentment over the International Criminal Court.

Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia decided late last year to pull out of the court, claiming it unfairly targets African nations. Others, such as Kenya, threatened to follow suit, but Botswana and Senegal argued in the court’s favor.

Since its establishment over 15 years ago, ICC only accused African leaders including the presidents of Kenya and Sudan, despite having open cases for crimes in East Europe, Middle East, and South America.

A document which had been circulated among top officials of the AU determined the strategy of withdrawal of the members if reform demands were not met. It calls for transparent international justice free of double standards.

The document also suggests that the countries targeted by the ICC should have the right to ask to postpone the court, a top official confirmed.

Despite its strong support from major foreign states, ICC is still incapable of dealing with some of the most dangerous wars in the world including the civil war in Syria.