Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali, all ruled by military juntas, had their foreign ministers propose a regional three-way partnership to facilitate trade and take on insecurity in the region, their joint statement published late on Thursday read.
The officials, Olivia Rouamba for Burkina Faso, Morissansa Kouyate for Guinea and Abdoulaye Diop for Mali, descended on Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou this week to examine avenues for collaboration. And working together is definitely needed in a region fraught with terror groups, social unrest and difficult climate conditions.
Ever since 2020, when the three countries went through military takeovers, they have been ruled by juntas. It was a regional jihadist insurgency that sparked some of the coups, which were met with economic sanctions from West Africa's main economic and regional bloc ECOWAS over proposed transition timelines deemed too slow. The organization also hammered Guinea and Mali with additional sanctions for delaying the restoration of their constitutional order. The sanctions will only be lifted if the ultimatums set last year are met.
In Ouagadougou, the three ministers decried the measures and requested technical and financial support for the transitions they deemed democratic. The officials noted in a statement “the need to set up and institutionalize a permanent coordination framework between the three countries”.
Burkina-Mali-Guinée-Coopération— Team2Faso (@Team2Faso) February 9, 2023
Rencontre tripartite : La ministre des Affaires étrangères de la Coopération régionale et des Burkinabè de l’extérieur, Olivia Rouamba a accueilli dans la matinée du jeudi, ses homologues du Mali et de la Guinée pour séance de travail. #Burkina pic.twitter.com/TNXBxKAzIb
However, the vacuum left by the French military is likely to be soon eagerly filled by Russian mercenaries, from the Wagner private military company.
Lavrov arrived in Mali. At Bamako airport, he was met by Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, despite the late hour, the ministers managed to talk on their feet pic.twitter.com/gzEc4SVsb2— ���� Эсса Али �� Essa Ali ���� (@ESSA_A1I) February 7, 2023
Protesters in Burkina Faso kick out the French and proudly display a Russian flag @MarkSleboda1 pic.twitter.com/p3du86uLju— Garland Nixon (@GarlandNixon) January 31, 2023