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Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger to form Tri-State Confederation after exit from ECOWAS

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Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger to form Tri-State Confederation after exit from ECOWAS

Military-led governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are planning to establish a confederation after their exit from the West African bloc ECOWAS on January 28.

The Malian Foreign Ministry said the three countries deepen ties via an alliance that threatens broader West African integration.

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.

READ ALSO: Niger coupists reaffirm exit from ECOWAS, prolonged detention of Bazoum

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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