Military Leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to Hold First Joint Summit

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The military rulers of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger will convene their first joint summit on Saturday, July 6, following a series of coups in these countries, according to Nigerien authorities.

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A statement read on public radio announced, “Our country will be hosting the first summit of the AES (Alliance of Sahel States) heads of state from Burkina, Mali, and Niger.”

Niger’s junta leader, Abdourahamane Tiani, will host Ibrahim Traore of Burkina Faso and Malian ruler Assimi Goita in Niamey starting Friday, ahead of the summit.

The summit will precede a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), from which the three countries withdrew in January. ECOWAS has urged them to rejoin.

The AES is an economic and defense alliance. The three juntas have distanced themselves from their former colonial ruler, France, and other Western countries, opting to partner with nations like Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

In mid-May, the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger agreed on a draft text to create the confederation, which the heads of state are expected to adopt at Saturday’s summit. The countries, which have faced deadly jihadist violence, also aim to establish a common currency.

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