The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has admitted Morocco as a member of the sub-regional body.
The 51st Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State in Liberia on Sunday, approved in principle, Morocco’s membership application despite it being in North Africa.
However, the official induction of Morocco will take place at the next summit in Lome, Togo in December after the ECOWAS Commission has presented a full assessment report on the implications of Morocco’s membership.
Therefore, in accepting in principle the membership of Morocco, the summit instructed the ECOWAS Commission to examine the implications of such accession in accordance with the provisions of the revised ECOWAS Treaty and submit the results to its next session.
There has been no official confirmation of the decision to admit Morocco but highly placed Ecowas sources have confirmed it to the BBC.
King Mohammed VI was not at the summit because Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been invited. Morocco does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and a statement issued by the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said amidst the discontent over the invitation to Israel “the King wishes his first visit to a ECOWAS summit not take place in a context of tension and controversy.”
Morocco’s application to join ECOWAS comes after it rejoined the African Union in January.
Morocco left the continental body in 1984 after it recognised the independence of Western Sahara.
The aim of joining ECOWAS is to enable Morocco to promote south-south cooperation and consolidate its economic ties with ECOWAS countries which enjoys about 65 per cent of its foreign investments.
Meanwhile, Morocco’s Embassy in Ghana has confirmed the decision of ECOWAS.