Morocco has formally announced its wish to rejoin the African Union, 32 years after leaving the organisation.
In a message to the AU summit in Rwanda, the Moroccan King Mohammed VI said the time had come for his country to retake its place within its institutional family.
Morocco left the AU in 1984, after the organisation recognised the independence of Western Sahara.
Moroccans describe Western Sahara as their country’s “southern provinces”.
For more than three decades, Morocco has refused to be part of the organisation.
In March, it threatened to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions because of the dispute.
Now, the Moroccan authorities seem to have concluded their absence hasn’t helped them diplomatically over Western Sahara and many other issues, says the BBC’s Africa Reporter James Copnall.
They sent a special envoy to lobby African leaders at their summit in the Rwandan capital Kigali this weekend.
The AU has said that it will continue pushing for the rights of the people of Western Sahara to hold a self-determination referendum.
Morocco is the only African country which is not an AU member.