After military coups, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger unite to create the Confederation of Sahel StatesAfter military coups, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger unite to create the Confederation of Sahel States

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced on Saturday (6) the formation of a “confederation” that strengthens the alliance between these three West African countries, ruled by militaries that came to power through coups d’état. The aim is to strengthen cooperation between the three nations, according to a document presented in Niamey, where the trio’s first summit was held.

(RFI) The event brought together General Tiani of Niger, Colonel Goïta of Mali and Captain Traoré of Burkina Faso. During the meeting between the three heads of state, four documents were signed and presented: the treaty establishing the Confederation of Sahel States, the rules of procedure of the alliance’s college of heads of state, the final communiqué and a document entitled the “Niamey Declaration”.

The leaders of the three countries “decided to take a further step towards greater integration” and to this end signed “a treaty creating a confederation between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, called the Confederation of Sahel States”, says a final communiqué from the tripartite summit.

The leaders defended the free movement of people and goods within the Confederation. The heads of state also decided to create a unified force and a permanent trilateral plan for military actions. In terms of economic and social development, the Confederation intends to launch an investment bank and a stabilization fund.
Against the influence of France, a former colonial power

The communiqué keeps the acronym AES to refer to the new Confederation, which emerges from the Alliance of Sahel States created in September 2023 by these three countries, where the military took power between 2020 and 2023 and which have been facing jihadist violence for years.

In January, the members of the AES announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), considering it to be strongly influenced by France, the former colonial power with which they have multiplied gestures of rupture.

This Saturday’s summit confirmed this direction. “Our peoples have irrevocably turned their backs on Ecowas,” declared Niger’s President Abdourahamane Tiani at the opening of the summit.

The three countries, with a combined population of 72 million, are located in the Sahel region, a long semi-arid strip stretching south from the Sahara desert.

(With agencies)

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