Rwanda: Morocco seeks readmission to AU

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - Leaders of the African Union (AU) ended their 27th Assembly on Monday in Kigali, Rwanda, welcoming Morocco to rejoin the continental body it exited in 1984 after the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) recognised the independence of Western Sahara.

In a statement issued before the summit closed, King Mohammed VI said "Morocco wishes resolutely and unequivocally to regain its place within its institutional family and to continue to live up to its responsibilities, with even more resolve and enthusiasm."

Following the long dispute between Morocco and the indigenous Sahrawi people of Western Sahara, the AU has been backing the Sahrawi people's the right to vote on whether to be part of Morocco or to become an independent state known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

Morocco had all along claimed Western Sahara as its "southern province". The Sahrawi people, lead by Polisario Front, currently live in refugee camps in neighbouring southwest Algeria.

"Our [African] friends have long been asking us to return among them so that Morocco may take its natural place within its institutional family. That time has now come (...)the time for ideology is over. Our peoples need concrete, tangible action," the monarchy's statement said.

Commenting on Morocco's move, outgoing AU Commission Chairperson  Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma reaffirmed the stance of the AU with regard to the independence of Western Sahara.

"The African Union stands with you in your struggle for self-determination," Dlamini Zuma stated.

-0- PANA TWA/AR 18July2016

18 july 2016 17:03:23

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