Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger establish West African security alliance
Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed a trilateral defense agreement binding the three West African countries to assist one another in the event of a military attack on any one of them.
The agreement, known as the Liptako-Gourma Charter, was inked by the three states' military leaders on Saturday, and according to Mali's junta leader, Assimi Goita, it establishes the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).
"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 defense and mutual assistance framework," Goita said on X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.
"This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries," Mali's Defense Minister Abdoulaye Diop told journalists.
"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," the agreement stated.
All the three former French colonies have been run by juntas since 2020 and the agreement came amid simmering anti-French sentiments across the three nations.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West Africa's main regional bloc, has threatened to intervene militarily in Niger to overturn the country's military government, which came to power after a coup in July.
Mali and Burkina Faso have said they consider any attack on Niger as "declaration of war" against them as well.