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Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Approve Confederation Project

© SputnikBurkina Faso, Mali and Niger approve confederation project
Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger approve confederation project - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.05.2024
In September 2023, the military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger signed a charter for the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) to create a collective defense architecture amidst deteriorating relations with France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following the July coup in Niger.
The foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, Karamoko Jean Marie Traore, Abdoulaye Diop, and Bakary Yaou Sangare, approved a draft document on the creation of a confederation during a regular meeting in the Nigerian capital, Niamey, Malian Foreign Ministry said.
The draft must now be signed by the leaders of the three countries.
"The draft document on the creation of a confederation of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger [...] was finalized in Niamey. At the end of the work, the ministers approved the draft document drawn up in Niamey on May 16, 2024," the statement said.
Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop told Sputnik Africa on Friday that the countries want to work together and "have to share a certain number of things with others."
"We are determined to work together, but we remain open to also reaching out to our neighbors, to our friends in the region, because we are in a space where we also have to share a certain number of things with others. I think that the AES charter is open to this possibility, but for the moment, our priority is to be able to go as far as possible first, to materialize our will and then afterwards we will examine that," he said.
He added that the communiqué that was adopted by the three states, declaring the exit from ECOWAS, "must be taken more seriously."
"I think that this press release was very clear regarding the desire of these three countries to engage in an irreversible process," the foreign minister noted.
In late January, the AES states announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS, citing the organization's ineffectiveness in combating terrorism.
ECOWAS imposed political, economic, and trade sanctions last year after a group of military officers from the presidential guard seized power in Niger in late July 2023 and removed President Mohamed Bazoum from power. The regional organization also threatened a joint regional military operation in Niger to reinstate Bazoum.
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Earlier, the bloc imposed sanctions on Mali in 2020 and Burkina Faso in 2022 in response to the military's rise to power.
The AES states, announcing their withdrawal from the ECOWAS, called the bloc a "threat" to its member states and slammed it for imposing "illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible" sanctions on the three countries.