West African regional group Ecowas has in principle approved Morocco’s membership application despite the country being in North Africa. Ecowas leaders meeting in Liberia however said the implications of its membership still needed to be considered before Morocco could formally join.
King Mohammed, the sixth, was not at the summit because Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been invited. Ivory Coast President Alasanne Ouattara has confirmed that the decision had been agreed in principle but the details still had to be worked out.
A senior Ecowas source said Morocco, along with Tunisia which is seeking observer status with the organisation and Mauritania, which wants to return to the body, will be invited to the next meeting of heads of state in Togo in December.
Morocco’s application comes after it rejoined the African Union in January. Morocco left the continental body in 1984 after it recognized the independence of Western Sahara. Morocco regards Western Sahara as part of its historic territory and has spent much of the last three decades trying to strengthen ties with Europe at the expense of relations with Africa.