Rabat – Morocco’s admission to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not be discussed during the Abuja summit, scheduled for Saturday, December 16. The Community members will make the decision during an extraordinary summit scheduled for early 2018.
The extraordinary session will take place in the presence of King Mohammed VI, reported Media24, a strong hint that Morocco’s chances of being admitting to the sub-regional grouping are high.
“Knowing that the agenda of this summit is quite congested, with the crisis in Bissau, the repeated attacks in Mali and Niger, the unrest in the Congo and Liberia, not to mention the internal and statutory issues, and after consultation with Morocco, the ECOWAS will hold an extraordinary summit in early 2018 to discuss the issue,” unnamed sources told Media24.
The accession of Morocco will be the only topic to be discussed during the extraordinary session, the source added.
In February, Morocco announced its desire to join the ECOWAS, as part of its vision to “strengthen and deepen links uniting Morocco and the member countries, [and] advocate regional integration as a vector of economic acceleration in Africa.”
In June, ECOWAS leaders met in Liberia to discuss the prospects of Morocco joining the sub-regional grouping. They agreed in principle to consider Morocco’s request.
The community’s verdict will be presented at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the summit meeting of the Organisation in December 2017, in Lome, Togo.
In late August, the ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza confirmed while on visit to Morocco that the kingdom’s application would be discussed during the Community’s next the ordinary session.
Jointly, the two groups launched a study in early September to weight the pros and cons of Morocco’s accession to the ECOWAS. However, this study was not finalized until December 7, nine days before the Abuja summit.
Media24 noted that the 70-page study that is overall positive. Legally, nothing in the texts evokes this accession or prevents it.
Though Morocco’s request does not satisfy this geographical criterion, it still stands chances of being admitted. Morocco has developed many human, economic, and political links with West Africa. Morocco is also the second African partner of ECOWAS after South Africa.
In terms of peace and security, Morocco’s experience has an added value to the region, the document says.