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Junta-led Sahel states confirm plan to form tri-state confederation

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

The neighbours in the impoverished Sahel region announced in January they would quit the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a decision the bloc has urged them to rethink, warning of the additional hardships this withdrawal would bring.

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.

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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.

READ:  Armed attackers kill 100 civilians in Burkina Faso village raid
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By The African Mirror

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