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Qatar tribune



The West African states of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have formed a defence alliance, according to Mali’s interim President Colonel Assimi Goïta in a post on social media.

The three states are all ruled by military groups, following coups that have led to fears for the future of democracy in the region. Mali’s leader on Saturday announced the signing of a charter establishing the so-called Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

“The objective sought by the charter is the creation of an architecture of collective defence and mutual support between the contracting parties,” the document said.

Under the charter, the parties pledge to fight terrorism and organized crime, it says. “Any violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more Contracting Parties shall be considered as aggression against the other Contracting Parties and shall oblige all Contracting Parties to provide assistance and redress ... including the use of armed force.” Burkina Faso’s interim president Ibrahim Traoré and Niger’s de facto leader Abdourahmane Tchiani were also present at the signing of the document, photos released on Saturday showed.

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have long struggled with Islamist terror groups that carry out bloody attacks against civilians and increasingly control of the territory.

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