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ECOWAS 54th Ordinary Session ignores Morocco’s bid to join the grouping

Almost two years after it requested to join the Economic Community of West African States, Morocco is still waiting for a final answer. The grouping’s last Ordinary Session, however, ignored Rabat’s bid.

ECOWAS leaders in Abuja, at the 54th Ordinary Session held on December the 22nd./Ph. ECOWAS
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Morocco was not on the agenda of the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS) 54th Ordinary Session, held on the 22nd of December in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, reports the Eagle Online quoting the Nigerian news agency.

The session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, headed by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, discussed issues related to West African countries, attending the meeting, confirmed the regional organization in a communiqué made public on its website.

During this meeting, chaired by Buhari, ECOWAS’ members discussed «the political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau» and addressed the «food challenges in parts of the region», including Togo and Mali.

The 54th ECOWAS Ordinary Session was also dedicated to reports on the economic grouping’s «Single Currency» and the common challenges encountered by the organization, including terrorism and violent extremism.

Morocco's bid to join ECOWAS 

The Session, however, did not discuss Morocco’s bid to join the regional organization, which has been put on hold for more than one year.

Indeed, in March 2017, Morocco requested to be a member of the Economic Community of West African States. Rabat’s bid was accepted in principle in June of the same year, during the 51st Ordinary Session held in Monrovia, Liberia.

Despite this major step, Morocco is still waiting for a final answer to its demand. ECOWAS’ Commission announced before that a study on the impact of Morocco’s membership was carried out.

Commenting on the recent ECOWAS summit, an authorized source from the Moroccan Foreign Ministry told Yabiladi on Tuesday that «ECOWAS decided not to discuss bids during this summit». 

«Morocco is not the only country that is trying to join the grouping (…) Tunisia requested to be an observer country, while Mauritania stated that it wants to join the grouping back», the same source added.

The same source stressed that ECOWAS' decision must be based on the impact study that has not been submitted yet.

For the record, the West African Organization hosted four sessions without addressing Morocco’s bid. In addition to this weekend's meeting, ECOWAS hosted on July 31st in, Lomé, Togolese capital, its 53rd summit without referring to the Moroccan request.

In January the 27th, an extraordinary session took place in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the African Union Heads of State Conference, while a second one took place in Lomé on April the 14th without considering Rabat’s bid.

Speaking to Yabiladi in November about the Moroccan request, Minister delegate in charge of African Cooperation Mohcine Jazouli stated that Rabat «is awaiting the Economic Community of West African States’ response and is following up with the process».

«To the best of my knowledge, it is not a matter of knocking on economic groupings' doors but of reviving relations with their members», he concluded.

Article modified on : 2018/12/25 12h40

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