Morocco says it wants to rejoin the Africa Union Kingdom pulled out of the AU in 1984 after organization accepted self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as member

RABAT, Morocco (AA) – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has announced that his country wants to reintegrate the African Union, 32 years after it let the organization.

“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 in a message to the African Union Summit late Sunday, the Morocco Official News Agency (MAP) reported.

African head of states are currently meeting in Kigali, Rwanda for the 27th African Union Summit.

“Morocco – no longer a member of the AU – never separated from Africa,” said Mohammed VI. “The Kingdom of Morocco has never ceased, since its departure from the OAU to take multiple initiatives in favor of stability and security.”

He also called on the organization to correct a “historic mistake” and adopt a “constructive neutrality” on the Sahara issue.

King Hassan II, King Mohammed’s father, withdrew from, at the time the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in 1984 after it accepted the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as a formal member.

Western Sahara, a territory in southern Morocco, was a Spanish colony until 1975. It has been disputed by Morocco and the Polisario Front backed by Algeria.

After many years of conflict, a cease-fire was signed in 1991 between the two parties under the auspices of the United Nations, which maintain a field mission that was mandated to organize a self-determination referendum.

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