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The Arab Maghreb Union that never was

20 5 29

February 17 this year marks 30 years since the Arab Maghreb Union, better known by its French acronym UMA, was founded as an economic and political union bringing together the five North African countries.

The agreement establishing the UMA was singed in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on 17 February 1989 by Chadli Bendjedid of Algeria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya of Mauritania, King Hassan II of Morocco and Zine- El-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia. Thirty years on and the project has failed. If you ask any ordinary Moroccan or Libyan about the UMA is they probably know nothing about it.

Muammar Gaddafi [File photo]

It was another stillborn big Arab dream!

The idea of unifying the five North African countries goes back to 1958 when three political parties from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia met in Tangier, north Morocco, and decided to launch a project to bring together the five countries which represent one third of the Arab population. Newly independent, each country was then overwhelmed with rebuilding their own states and the project was shelved for decades. The ambitions stayed alive and the dream saw the light of day in 1989.

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The last summit that brought together the leaders of member states was held in Tunis, Tunisiam in 1994 and saw Libya take over the rotating........

© Middle East Monitor