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Three West African Military-Led Nations Agree to Form a Union

Three West African Military-Led Nations Agree to Form a Union
Mali Gao Drought effecting the growing of millet in 1984 and 1985. (Photo: Supplied)

Ministers of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have adopted a treaty to create a union of states aimed at fostering economic and political integration in the Sahel region of West Africa.

The military-ruled countries last month announced their exit from the Economic Community of West African States, the 48-year-old regional bloc they helped to found. They criticize Ecowas for failing to assist them in their fight against a sprawling Islamist insurgency that threatens their existence.

“Our decision to withdraw is irreversible,” Kassoum Coulibaly, defense minister of Burkina Faso, said during a meeting of ministers in the capital of Ouagadougou late Thursday. Ecowas cannot “divert us from our common goals of defeating terrorism, putting our countries on the path of development and exercising full sovereignty on all fronts,” he said.

Read More: Juntas Will Be Biggest Losers If They Quit Africa Bloc, IMF Says

The union to be known as the Alliance of Sahel States was first formed in September by the three countries to support each other in the fight against militants. The trio of governments all came to power via coups in the last three years.

Read More: What’s Driving the Coups Across Sub-Saharan Africa?: QuickTake

The adoption of the treaty Thursday will result in the establishment of the union’s initial organs, namely the college of heads of state, the council of ministers and the representatives of parliament, according to a communique.

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