Western Sahara Complicates Morocco’s Bid to Rejoin the African Union

Protesters hold portraits of Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan flag during a rally, Rabat, Morocco, March 13, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).
Protesters hold portraits of Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan flag during a rally, Rabat, Morocco, March 13, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).
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On July 18, Morocco made a request to reintegrate into the African Union, more than three decades after it withdrew from the organization over its controversial claims to Western Sahara. The dispute over Western Sahara, which Morocco annexed in 1975 following Spain’s withdrawal, has lingered for decades and been a thorn in Morocco’s regional and foreign relations, particularly with neighboring Algeria. In 1984, the African Union recognized an independent Western Sahara as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, known by its French acronym, RASD, and granted it membership, prompting Morocco to leave the supranational body. The Polisario Front, a liberation movement […]

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