Morocco’s King Mohammed VI arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday morning to participate in the African Union Summit. Morocco is seeking to re-join the continental union after an absence of 32 years.
According to a statement issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Royal Palaces, King Mohammed VI’s visit to Addis Ababa “falls within the framework of the efforts made by King Mohammed VI for the Kingdom of Morocco to re-join the African Union”.
The African Union’s 28th summit is scheduled to take place on the 30th and 31st of January. An official delegation is accompanying the king on this visit and includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco Salaheddine Mezouar. Morocco withdrew from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in September 1984 in protest at the union’s acceptance of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’s membership. However, Morocco has a special status within the AU, the organisation’s successor which was established in July 2001, and benefits from the services available to all AU states from the institutions of the AU. The union currently has 54 member states.
The return of Morocco to the African Union is one of the most important topics on the 28th AU summit’s agenda. The matter necessitates a vote by the African heads of state. Morocco expressed its desire to re-join the AU after winning the support of 40 out of 54 countries, but influential countries in Africa like Algeria and South Africa could put obstacles in its way.