Top diplomats from three west African countries ruled by military authorities following a coup - namely Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso- met Thursday (Feb. 09) in Ouagadougou the Burkinabe government announced.
The meeting comes a few weeks after Burkina Faso's prime minister, in a visit to neighbouring Mali on early February, suggested the two countries form a "federation" to boost their economic clout.
After their working session Abdoulaye Diop (Mali), Morissanda Kouyaté (Guinea) and Olivia Rouamba (Burkina), are expected to address the press according to the Burkinabe Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"This is the first time I have arrived in Burkina Faso since the struggle of the Burkinabe that led to a rectification to be able to recover the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this brotherly country," Abdoulaye Diop said upon arrival.
"Together, we will make a statement to regional organizations, so that we can hear more audibly the claims and requests of our people through our governments and our leaders," said Mrs. Morissanda Kouyaté.
Two days ago, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov visited Mali, promising his help "to the Sahel-Saharan region and even to the countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea".
West Africa has experienced since 2020 a series of coups in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, and the instability of the Sahel plagued by jihadist violence despite the deployment of international forces has made the bed of Russian presence.
After Mali, Burkina Faso, also targetted by jihadist violence, demanded the departure of French forces from its territory, without considering breaking diplomatic relations with France, the former colonial power in the region.
The new regime that emerged from the September 30, 2022 coup d'état perpetrated by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, the second in eight months, expressed their desire to diversify their partnerships.
"We really want to look at other horizons, because we want win-win partnerships," Traore said last week, adding, "If we can't afford to buy military equipment in one country, we'll go to other countries to buy it.
Western countries have accused Mali of hosting mercenaries from the Russian group Wagner, which Bamako denies, acknowledging the sole presence of Russian instructors.
Brukina's Captain Traoré also denied the presence of Wagner mercenaries in Burkina, saying that "our Wagner are the VDP", Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland, the civilian auxiliaries of the army.
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