Attending the first African Union (AU) summit in January this year, President Danny Faure was among 39 African leaders who backed the re-admission of Morocco into the pan-African body.
President Faure argued at the summit that re-admitting Morocco after an absence of over 30 years, will facilitate a solution to the decolonization of the Western Sahara, one of Africa’s last remaining colonial outposts.
The countries espousing the forward-looking stance like Seychelles argued that by rejoining the AU, the kingdom of Moroco has taken the moral obligation to uphold the word and spirit of the organisation’s Constitutive Act, which implies holding a referendum on the self-determination of Western Sahara and retreating to its international borders inherited from colonization.
Though securing the support of more than two-thirds of the 52 nation body, Morocco has not called for the expulsion of the Saharan delegation, as it unsuccessfully did in 1984, prior to its own exit.
Two weeks ago, Morocco announced the withdrawal of its forces from a UN buffer zone in the disputed Western Sahara territory, where for months, they had been in a standoff with troops from the Polisario independence movement.
The move took place days after a phone call between Morocco’s King Mohamed V1 and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and will reduce military tensions in Guerguerat, a remote area in Western Sahara near Mauritania.
The Saharan Arab Republic (SADR ) controls about 1/4 of the territory it claims, with many of its citizens trapped, with few prospects in refugee camps in Algeria and other neighbouring countries.