Morocco’s tumultuous second coming

(The Hindu) --
Nizar Manek, 15 April 2017
Morocco’s re-entry into the AU has triggered divisions in the bloc as the kingdom says it will never recognise Western Sahara, represented by another member, as an independent nation
After the African Union (AU) summit in January, King Mohammed VI’s people were dancing in the streets of Addis Ababa. The reason: Morocco rejoined the AU over three decades after King Hassan II left in fury when Western Sahara, a disputed desert tract represented by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), was admitted.
M6, as King Mohammed (in photo) is popularly known, came to address the 54 heads of state. “We know that we do not have unanimous backing from this prestigious assembly. Far be it from us to spark off a sterile debate! We have absolutely no intention of causing division, as some would like to insinuate,” he said. Still, Morocco’s second coming has triggered divisions in the AU. Morocco considers Western Sahara one of its “southern provinces”, but the Algeria-backed Polisario Front’s SADR insists on self-determination. The crisis dates back to 1975 when Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. After it regained the AU membership, Morocco’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said Rabat would “never recognise” the SADR and would redouble its efforts so that the “small minority of countries” which still recognise it “change their position”.
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