Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger finalize regional alliance

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, all governed by military juntas, have finalized plans to form a regional confederation after distancing themselves from their former colonial ruler, France, in favor of closer ties with Russia.

The foreign ministers of these three Sahel countries met on Friday in Niger’s capital, Niamey, to agree on the establishment of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

“The objective was to finalise the draft text relating to the institutionalisation and operationalisation of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES)”, said Niger Foreign Minister Bakary Yaou Sangare as he read the final statement late Friday.

The final resolution will be adopted by the heads of state of the three countries at a forthcoming summit, the date of which has not yet been specified.

“We can consider very clearly, today, that the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) has been born,” Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said after meeting General Abdourahamane Tiani, the head of Nigerien military regime.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Karamoko Jean-Marie Traore, also attended the meeting.

The Sahel region has suffered from deadly jihadist violence for years, and the three countries have accused France of failing to curb the unrest.

In late January, these nations announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), claiming it was influenced by France, and declared their intention to create their own regional bloc.

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