Egypt has been reinstated to the African Union (AU) 11 months after being suspended in the wake of removal of former President Mohamed Morsi.
The Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC), the body that issued the suspension on 5 July last year, met on Tuesday in Addis Ababa to hear the final report of the High Level Panel for Egypt that was created to monitor Egypt’s transition period.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it “welcomed… the [unanimous] decision to return Egypt to its natural place within the Union and to resume its participation in the activities of the African Union”.
The PSC deemed Morsi’s removal as unconstitutional and in violation of the AU Charter. The decision prompted a mobilisation from the foreign ministry that saw diplomats dispatched around Africa to explain the interim government’s view of Morsi’s ouster.
Egypt “has never been far from the worries and concerns of its African brothers” during the suspension, said the foreign ministry. Egypt has made moves to strengthen ties with African nations with an emphasis on development sooperation. Former foreign minister Nabil Fahmy established the Egyptian Agency for Development Partnership in August 2013 to work with African nations in areas such as health, education and irrigation.
The foreign ministry highlighted that the “coming period would witness further deepening and development of existing cooperation… to achieve common goals and aspirations of the African peoples and further strengthen communication between them”.
In January the High Level Panel, headed by Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of the Republic of Mali, “affirmed the correctness” of the July 2013 decision to suspend Egypt’s activities within the union when it presented a progress report to the PSC.
The three-man panel visited Egypt three times since the suspension was put in place and were among a select few who were granted an audience with Morsi in July, who was then being held in an undisclosed location.
The panel said in January that it hoped Egypt’s elections would mark the end of the transition period.
The AU dispatched an Election Observation Mission to Egypt for last month’s presidential elections, and despite criticism for the electoral climate the preliminary statement praised the electoral process, rating it good or very good in most cases. The mission stressed that it was independent from AU decisions on the matter of Egypt’s membership status.