Military leaders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso
sign mutual defence pact
The military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger on Saturday signed a mutual defence pact, ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries announced in Mali’s capital Bamako.
The Liptako-Gourma Charter establishes the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), Mali’s junta leader Assimi Goita posted on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.
Its aim is to “establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations”, he wrote.
The Liptako-Gourma region — where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet — has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years.
“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries”, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told journalists.
“Our priority is the fight against terrorism in the three countries.”
A jihadist insurgency that erupted in northern Mali in 2012 spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015. All three countries have undergone coups since 2020.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to intervene militarily in Niger following the coup of July 23.
Mali and Burkina Faso quickly responded by saying that any such operation would be deemed a “declaration of war” against them.
The charter signed on Saturday binds the signatories to assist one another — including militarily — in the event of an attack on any one of them.
‘Attack on sovereignty’
“Any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracting parties shall be considered as an aggression against the other parties and shall give rise to a duty of assistance... including the use of armed force to restore and ensure security”, it states.
It also binds the three countries to work to prevent or settle armed rebellions.
The charter binds the nations to assist one another, including militarily, in the event of an attack on any one
of the countries