Moroccan king begins historic visit to African nations

First visits by King Mohammed VI since 1999 coronation see Morocco move closer to African Union membership since 1984 split

Moroccan king begins historic visit to African nations

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Morocco’s King Mohammed VI started a three-nation African tour Tuesday, the first of its kind since his 1999 coronation.

The Moroccan monarch’s visit to Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia comes after last month’s confirmation that the North African kingdom wanted to return to the African Union (AU).

Rabat had broken from the AU after the body’s predecessor in 1984 admitted the separatist Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, declared unilaterally by the Polisario Front.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar visited Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in July this year in the first official visit since 1997.

During the visit, Mezouar delivered a letter from King Mohammed to Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalines calling for improved “cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries.”

King Mohammed also announced in July his country wanted to reintegrate into the AU.

King Hassan II, King Mohammed’s father, withdrew from the AU -- at the time called 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, which is 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. The UN maintained a field mission which was mandated to organize a self-determination referendum.a

Last Mod: 19 Ekim 2016, 08:48
Add Comment