Rabat – The 51st Ordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened on Sunday morning in Liberia’s Monrovia in the presence of many heads of state and government as well as high-level officials.
During the summit, the 15-member organization will decide on the admittance of Morocco as a full-fledged member of the regional bloc.
Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced on Thursday that King Mohammed VI cancelled his attendance due to the presence of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu .
During this Royal Visit, a meeting with the President of Liberia, talks with the ECOWAS Heads of State and a speech to the Organization’s Summit were scheduled, said the ministry.
Over the last few days, however, key ECOWAS member States decided to reduce their level of representation at the Summit due to their disagreement with the invitation extended to the Israeli Prime Minister, the ministry stated. It added that other Member States also expressed their astonishment at this invitation.
Last February, Morocco submitted a formal request to join ECOWAS. While the request was supported by several west African countries such as Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger, it was perceived by Algeria as a further step by Morocco to isolate its eastern neighbor in Africa.
Morocco’s decision to join this west African grouping came only a few weeks after it was readmitted as full member of the African Union last January.
Founded in 1975, following the Treaty of Lagos in Nigeria, ECOWAS is a 15-member regional group which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.