African heads of state on Monday gathered in Addis Ababa for a two-day summit and are expected to readmit Morocco into the organisation. after a 33-year absence, DPA reports.
Morocco returns to the organisation which it left in 1984 after the old Organisation of African Unity recognised the independence of Morrocan-occupied Western Sahara.
Morocco submitted its bid to rejoin in 2016, reportedly in the hope that being inside the AU would bring it diplomatic gains against Western Sahara’s independence movement Polisario Front and on other issues.
Members are also expected to elect a new chairperson to succeed South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first female head of the AU.
Dlamini-Zuma is seen as leaving a mixed legacy as the AU struggles with issues including a military conflict in South Sudan, the terrorist campaign by al-Shabaab in Somalia and political crises in Burundi and Congo.
However, the AU was vocal in pressuring Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power after losing the election, and criticised Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza for seeking a third term in spite of the constitutional two-term limit.
It has also been accused of not prioritising rights issues.
Candidates to succeed Dlamini-Zuma include Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, her Chadian counterpart Moussa Faki Mahamat and Senegalese diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily.