As of a few days ago, Morocco has been readmitted to the African Union after 33 years. According to Newsweek, Morocco left the predecessor organization after a majority of the members voted to recognize the disputed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR, aka Western Sahara). As far as I'm aware, this is still the position of most African countries. However, according to The Guardian, 39 of the countries decided to vote in favour of the readmission.

Obviously, each country has their own story, but are there more general reasons why they voted for readmission despite the SADR issue still being unresolved?


  • To be clear, I'm not asking about Morocco's motives in rejoining (someone else can ask that if they wish)
  • The SADR has actually welcomed the move hoping it reopens negotiations, but I don't know if their position was public knowledge before the vote
  • Not familiar with the issue, but it seems like if they left voluntarily, why would anyone oppose their rejoining if they felt like it?
    – user4012
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:21
  • @user4012 That is possible many countries took it that way, but there was still significant opposition. Algeria in particular was opposed, being host to many refugees from the SADR.
    – DPenner1
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:36
  • @DPenner the support of Algeria comes more from a hope to have an acces to the atlantic ocean than from solidarity with refugees. Feb 4, 2017 at 9:27
  • @user5751924 I realize it's been awhile, but do you have a citation for this? It seems unlikely access to the Atlantic through the Sahara is that beneficial when Algeria already has access through the Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibraltar, where they have free passage according to the Law of the Sea.
    – DPenner1
    Apr 24, 2020 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


Looks like their king has been pushing it for economic reasons since 2000. They still have issues with the AU recognition of Western Sahara, but it seems the economic lure of AU membership has trumped this. I also read they had a fall out with the EU and UN so maybe it was out of necessity. For the AU's part, they seem to be happy to have all of Africa in the Union again. One voice for the continent and all that.


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