In 1984, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) decided to admit the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic to its fifty plus member fold. It isn’t unordinary for supranational organizations to expand their membership over time but what makes the admission of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic so interesting is that as a result of this decision to accept a new member it lost an old one as Morocco also claims the territory under the name Western Sahara and has had military in the forces in the territory since former colonizer Spain withdrew from the area in the 1970s. Today after thirty years and some change out of the OAU, since renamed the African Union, Morocco is seeking to become a member of the Union for
Today after thirty years and some change out of the OAU, since renamed the African Union, Morocco is seeking to become a member of the Union for a second time as Moroccan Foreign Minister Salahedine Mezouar is touring the continent perhaps in an effort to negotiate this re-entry or reach some sort of compromise over the Western Sahara situation which has been condemned by voices much more important than my own, namely United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as an occupation.
What makes the potential resumption of membership tricky is that Morocco will not be allowed to skirt the Western Sahara issue in part because Brahim Ghali the President and Secretary General of the Polisario Front which runs Western Sahara, after longtime leader Mohamed Abdelaziz passed away in May, will be at the African Union meeting. This will either stall or completely prevent any membership resumption, however, if Morocco concedes to the sovereignty of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic that could put Morocco on the fast track to membership and mean that the African Union officially has all of the countries of Africa as members. Hopefully Morocco, Western Sahara, and the African Union will come up with a solution that all parties find amicable.