Sun 17 September 2023:
The three Sahel countries have agreed to cooperate in defense against potential threats from armed insurrection or foreign aggression. Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed the agreement.
The Alliance of Sahel States charter, which was signed on Saturday, obligates the signatories to aid one another, including militarily, in the event that one of them is attacked.
“Any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracted parties will be considered an aggression against the other parties,” it says. It also binds the three countries to work to prevent or settle armed rebellions.
“I have today signed with the Heads of State of Burkina Faso and Niger the Liptako-Gourma charter establishing the Alliance of Sahel States, with the aim of establishing a collective defence and mutual assistance framework,” Mali military leader Assimi Goita said on his X social media account.
The Liptako-Gourma region, where the frontiers of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger merge, has recently been devastated by armed revolt.
All three states were members of the France-supported G5 Sahel alliance joint force with Chad and Mauritania, launched in 2017 to tackle armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) groups.
“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries”, Mali’s Defence Minister Abdoulaye Diop told journalists in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
“Our priority is the fight against terrorism in the three countries.”
An armed rebellion that erupted in northern Mali in 2012 spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to intervene militarily in Niger over the coup, but the regional bloc has toned down its war rhetoric in recent weeks.
Mali and Burkina Faso quickly responded by saying that any such operation would be deemed a “declaration of war” against them.
Relations between France and the three states have soured since the coups.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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