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Sahel states turn away: Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger form confederation

Sahel states turn away: Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger form confederation
Sahel states turn away: Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger form confederation

The military juntas of the three Sahel states are moving ever closer together. They are now cementing their departure from the Ecowas regional bloc with their own integration project.

The West African Sahel states of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which are governed by military juntas, have founded a union of states. The Alliance of Sahel States (AES) confederation should coordinate more closely on foreign and security policy, regulate the free movement of people and goods among themselves and establish a joint investment bank, it was said at the end of a summit in the Nigerien capital Niamey. The heads of state Colonel Assimi Goïta (Mali), General Abdourahamane Tiani (Niger) and Captain Ibrahim Traoré (Burkina Faso) are at the head of transitional governments following military coups and have postponed elections for years or not even announced them.

The juntas had initially founded the alliance of Sahel states in the autumn as a defence alliance and announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in January. They accuse the regional bloc, which had condemned the seizure of power and imposed sanctions, of being under the influence of the interests of the former colonial power France.

Despite years of international anti-terror missions, the three states are being subjected to violence by Islamist terrorist groups. Since the coups between 2020 and 2023, all three have moved closer to Russia and distanced themselves from former foreign partners. On Saturday, the German government announced the failure of negotiations on the continued operation of a Bundeswehr base in Niamey.

At an Ecowas summit on Sunday, one of the issues to be discussed is how to deal with the three countries’ exit, which is set to take effect in January. The 15 Ecowas states are closely linked economically, politically and socially, and most of the West African Francophone states are also part of a common monetary and economic union.

Source: Stern

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