UCF Global Perspectives


Morocco Asks to Rejoin African Union

Christy Box, Isle of Man Small Countries Fellow

September 28, 2016

Morocco has officially applied to rejoin the African Union (AU) to gain support for the territory dispute over Western Sahara. Morocco left the AU in 1984 after the organization’s recognition of the republic in Western Sahara which was declared by Polisario Front independence fighters (Reuters). The AU currently recognizes Western Sahara as an independent state, but the Moroccan government considers the territory to be southern provinces of Morocco (AP). Moroccan officials claim the AU now wants to withdraw support of Western Sahara, stating at least 36 members do not recognize the breakaway territory (Reuters).

Morocco has controlled the Western Sahara territory since 1975, when it annexed the former Spanish colony (AP). The UN negotiated a cease-fire in Western Sahara in 1991, expecting a referendum about the territory’s future, but the referendum did not take place (Reuters, AP). Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, AU Commission Chairperson, has acknowledged receipt of Morocco’s application and will inform Morocco of the results after due process with the member states (eNews Channel Africa). Morocco is the only country in Africa that is not an AU member (AP).







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