Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger Forge 'Alliance Of Sahel States' Confederation

(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt)

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced the formation of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) on Saturday, marking a significant step towards closer economic and military cooperation. The move comes amid ongoing security challenges in the region and strained relations with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In a joint statement, the leaders of the three nations – Ibrahim Traore of Burkina Faso, Assimi Goita of Mali and Abdourahamane Tchiani of Niger – highlighted the alliance's success in combating terrorism, particularly in the Liptako-Gourma region, a border area notorious for instability. They pledged deeper integration to enhance regional security.

“Considering our shared goal of effectively fighting terrorism in the Sahel, especially in Liptako-Gourma, we have decided to take a significant step towards greater unity,” the statement said.

The newly formed confederation aims to establish“independent instruments for financing economic and social policies” and facilitate the free movement of people, goods and services within its borders. Leaders also announced the creation of an investment bank and a stabilization fund.

This development follows the three countries' withdrawal from ECOWAS, citing the regional bloc's perceived lack of involvement in addressing the Sahel's security issues. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the United Nations and the African Union.

“In the current geopolitical context, the AES represents the most effective sub-regional group in the fight against terrorism, especially given ECOWAS's lack of involvement in this struggle,” stated Tchiani, Niger's president of the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland.

The formation of the AES comes amidst a decade of escalating unrest in the Sahel, fueled by the fallout from the 2011 Libyan intervention. The ensuing instability has led to rampant arms trafficking and the rise of armed groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

According to the Wilson Center, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Sahel accounts for a staggering 43% of global terrorism deaths, exceeding the combined tolls of South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa. This worsening security situation has also contributed to growing anti-Western sentiment, prompting the withdrawal of French and American troops from the region.

While the AES's long-term implications remain to be seen, the confederation signifies a shift in regional dynamics, with Sahel nations seeking a more autonomous approach to tackling security concerns.


Daily News Egypt

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