Morocco has accused the African Union (AU) Commission’s head, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, of blocking its efforts to re-join the Union 32 years after it departed it, the country’s foreign ministry said yesterday.
Morocco is keen to return to the AU to muster support needed for its plan to offer autonomy to the disputed territory of Western Sahara, but under Moroccan sovereignty.
Morocco was last a member of AU in 1984 but suspended its seat when the AU recognised the Western Sahara, formerly a Spanish protectorate, and admitted it as a member of the Union.
The Moroccan ministry accused Dlamini-Zuma for delaying presenting its request to AU members without any reason, and for apparently inventing a new procedural requirement that rejects AU members supporting Morocco’s demand.
“The Kingdom of Morocco denounces vigorously the manoeuvres of the African Union Commission’s head, who is trying to thwart Morocco’s decision to regain its natural and legitimate place in the pan-African institutional family,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The President of the AU Commission is dropping her neutrality and failing the rules and standards of the organisation and its members’ will,” the statement further added.
Morocco stated that more than 36 of the 54 AU member countries do not acknowledge the sovereignty of the Western Sahara and called for its recognition to be withdrawn by the Union.
However, it is unlikely influential AU members, including Algeria and South Africa, will accept Morocco’s request after having expressed support to hold a referendum on the sovereignty of the people of Western Sahara.
The AU is expected to further discuss Morocco’s request in its January 2017 summit that will be held in Ethiopia.
Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has been on a tour of African nations for the last three months in what is believed to be a diplomatic move in garnering support for its AU demands and autonomy proposal for the Western Sahara.
Morocco has been in control of most of the contested territory since 1975. The area has offshore fishing, phosphate reserves and oilfield potential that make it an attractive territorial policy imperative for Rabat.