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Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali Announce Plan To Form Tri-State Confederation

niger, burkina faso, mali leaders

Military-led governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger plan to proceed with the establishment of a confederation, the Malian foreign ministry said on Thursday, as the three countries deepen ties via an alliance that threatens broader West African integration.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger January 28, announced their withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS.

The leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the Economic Community of West African States “without delay”.

Again, on Monday, the leader of the military junta in Niger, Abdourahamane Tchiani, vowed that none of the three Sahel nations would rejoin the regional bloc.

Reuters reports that at a meeting in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, their three ministers confirmed a joint commitment to withdraw from ECOWAS without delay and continue cooperation under a pact known as the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

They “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing resolutely in the process of implementing the AES and creating the Tri-State Confederation,” the Malian foreign ministry said in an online post.

The group has not shared details on how the proposed confederation would work or on how closely they plan to align political, economic and security interests as they struggle to contain a decade-old battle with Islamist insurgents that has destabilised the subregion.

Last November, their finance ministers said they would weigh the option of setting up a monetary union and top officials from all three countries have, to varying degrees, voiced support for abandoning West Africa’s CFA franc common currency.

The juntas have all severed long-standing military ties with former colonial ruler France, dealing a blow to France’s influence in the Sahel and complicating international efforts to fight the militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

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