Breakaway junta confederation undermines ECOWAS summit

A West African leaders' summit opens on Sunday amid political strife, following the formation of a breakaway confederation by the military rulers of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso at a rival meeting. This defiant assembly, on the eve of the ECOWAS summit, poses a significant challenge to the regional bloc, which is already beset by budgetary issues, jihadist violence and the complexities of assembling a force in the region.

A West African leaders' summit opens on Sunday amid political turmoil after the military rulers of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso cemented a breakaway union at a rival meeting.

The three countries announced they were forming a new confederation, and their defiant first gathering on the eve of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit marks another test for the regional bloc they split away from earlier this year.

ECOWAS is already wrestling with sweeping jihadist violence, financial trouble and the challenges of mustering a regional force.

It was not clear how the weakened bloc would respond after Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso adopted a treaty establishing a "Confederation of Sahel States" in Niamey on Saturday.

Backs turned

(AFP)


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