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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Morocco rejoins AU after 33 years of absence   

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- After leaving the pan African organization three decades ago, Morocco rejoined the African Union (AU) on Tuesday during the 28th African summit.

For over three decades since its withdrawal from the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union (AU), Morocco had not been part of the organization, but recently, the country has changed its stance towards the Union, making the readmission to the AU on the top of its agenda.

“It is a beautiful day when one returns home after too long an absence. Africa is my continent and my home. I am finally home and I am happy to see you. I missed you all,” King Mohammed VI of Morocco told African leaders at the closing ceremony of the 28th AU summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

According to King Mohammed VI, Morocco has developed stronger ties with many African countries in the continent, despite the country’s 33 years of nonattendance at the African Union.

“We have never broken up the ties. We have always been there and you could rely on us,” said King Mohammed VI.

“Morocco has concluded many cooperation agreements with African countries over the past years,” the King added.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has also vowed to work in partnership with the rest of African Union member countries so as to realize that African resources utilized by African people.

“We want to give a new impetus to our continent... We have to deal with the problems of Africa,” he said.

The outgoing African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has also congratulated Morocco on its membership.

 
ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- King Mohammed VI © of Morocco addresses the closing ceremony of the 28th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 31, 2017. After leaving the pan African organization three decades ago, Morocco rejoined the African Union (AU) on Tuesday during the summit.  XINHUA PHOTO: LI BAISHUN

“This summit took a historic decision to reunite the African community of states, with its decision on the membership of the Kingdom of Morocco,” she said.

“This provides a platform to strengthen African solutions to African problems, in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act of our Union,” she added.

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S. Africa’s ruling party regrets Morocco’s readmission into AU

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday expressed regret over the readmission of Morocco to the African Union (AU).

The ANC “notes the regrettable decision” by the AU to readmit Morocco into the organization, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

The 54-member AU voted overwhelmingly to readmit Morocco following a lengthy debate at the 28th AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Monday. Thirty-nine of the 54 states approved Morocco’s return to the AU.

“This decision represents a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people and their quest for self-determination and independence in the Western Sahara,” Kodwa said.

The ANC notes that the AU decision paves the way for the Kingdom of Morocco to take their place amongst the community of nations and to enjoy the benefits of AU membership, whilst the Sahrawi people continue to suffer under an unjust occupation of their ancestral land, Kodwa said.

By readmitting Morocco into the AU is tacitly endorsing the longstanding occupation of the Western Sahara, the ANC claims.

Morocco has to date failed to comply with successive UN resolutions on the issue of the Western Sahara, most importantly the holding of a referendum on self-determination, the ANC says.

It was mainly countries led by former liberation movements on the continent, amongst them South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique as well as Botswana and Algeria, which opposed the decision. All of these countries have been active supporters of the rights of the Sahrawi people and their right to an independent homeland.

“The ANC, whilst respecting the decision of the AU, hopes that in coming months the AU will not allow the matter of the independence of Western Sahara to be swept under the carpet of political expediency. Rather the quest for the self-determination by the people of Western Sahara takes centre stage on the AU agenda,” Kodwa noted.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony under dispute since 1975 between Morocco and the Polisario Front which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a government-in-exile in Tindouf, southwestern Algeria.

The Western Sahara has been on the UN list of non-self-governing territories since 1963. A UN-led process of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario is lagging behind.

Morocco says it is ready to grant autonomy rule to Sahrawi people, while the Algeria-backed Polisario demands holding a self-determination referendum.

The ANC keeps longstanding fraternal ties with the Polisario Front and the SADR. 

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S. Africa accepts AU summit outcomes on Morocco’s readmission into AU: Zuma 

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- South Africa accepts the outcomes of the 28th African Union (AU) summit on the readmission of Morocco into the organization, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

South Africa did this in order to promote unity and coherence within the continent, Zuma said upon return from the just-concluded AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“However, there were strong views from member states that by virtue of acceding to the Constitutive Act, Morocco should abide by all provisions of the Act and immediately resolve its relations with the Western Sahara to ensure territorial integrity between the two nations,” Zuma said in remarks distributed by his office.

At the summit, the 54-member AU voted overwhelmingly to readmit Morocco following a lengthy debate. Thirty-nine of the 54 states approved Morocco’s return to the AU.

South Africa, along with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Algeria, opposed the decision. All of these countries have been active supporters of the rights of the Sahrawi people and their right to an independent homeland.

But the summit agreed on the view that the AU should prioritize the impasse between Morocco and the Western Sahara to change the status quo.

Failing to do so, African countries would risk undermining the principles on which the AU was constituted, as articulated in the Constitutive Act, Zuma noted.

The Western Sahara, one of Africa’s last remaining colonial outposts, is a former Spanish colony under dispute since 1975 between Morocco and the Polisario Front which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a government-in-exile in Tindouf, southwestern Algeria.

The Western Sahara has been on the UN list of non-self-governing territories since 1963. A UN-led process of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front is lagging behind.

Morocco says it is ready to grant autonomy rule to Sahrawi people, while the Algeria-backed Polisario Front demands holding a self-determination referendum.

Souoth Africa keeps longstanding fraternal ties with the Polisario Front and the SADR.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday expressed regret over the readmission of  Morocco to the African Union (AU).

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Tuesday that Morocco’s readmission into the AU is “regrettable”.

“This decision represents a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people and their quest for self-determination and independence in the Western Sahara,” the party said. 

           

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