The King of Morocco is to attend the African Union (AU) summit set to be held on 28 January in Addis Ababa. According to Prime Minister-designate Abdelilah Benkirane, King Mohammed VI plans to defend Morocco's return to the union, Masalarabia.com reported on Friday.
The monarch announced the decision by Morocco to resume its membership of the AU in a message sent to the union's summit held in July last year in Rwanda. At the time, King Mohammed said that the decision did not mean that Morocco planned to give up its "legitimate rights" or recognise a "delusive" entity. This was a reference to the Western Sahara's Polisario Front, which seeks the separation of what the government in Rabat believes is the southern land of Morocco.
Attendance at the summit in Addis Ababa follows the king's recent tours of African states to mobilise support for his country's return to the AU. Foreign ministry officials have also been lobbying to facilitate this in the face of opposition from Algeria and South Africa.
Morocco left the Organisation of African Unity, which the AU replaced, in September 1984 in protest at its recognition of the Polisario Front as a member state. The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa as a successor to the OAU.