Morocco: Parliament Officially Endorses African Union Return

On Wednesday, the lower house in Morocco voted unanimously in support of the northern African country’s decision to return to the African Union, after 33 years of non-participation.

The bill was adopted by the House of Representatives who approved the reintegration of Morocco into the African Union. 394 votes were cast in favour of the return of Morocco to the African Union, and no MPs were absent.

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On Thursday the upper house unanimously approved the constitutive act of the African Union (AU).

During the parliament session on Wednesday, the foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, said this act will ensure that the necessary procedures are taken to reintegrate Morocco into the African Union.

In 1984 Morocco left the African Union (formerly known as the Organization of African Unity) after the organisation recognized the independence of Western Sahara. This was because Moroccans had seen the Western Sahara as their country’s “southern provinces”. The fact that the AU had therefore recognized their independence caused the country to take the decision to leave.

Subsequently, Morocco decided to boycott the African Union. In March, however, the northern country had even threatened to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions because of the dispute.

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In 2016 the Moroccan government sent a special envoy to lobby African leaders at the summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The Moroccan King Mohammed VI, however, delivered the message that the time had come for his country to retake its place within its institutional family at the African Union summit in Rwanda.

“For a long time, our friends have been asking us to return to them, so that Morocco should take its natural place within its institutional family. That time has arrived,” King Mohammed VI said at the time.