The three Sahel states of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have completed their plans to form a confederation. The foreign ministers of the three countries agree on the text of the treaty for the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), Niger’s Foreign Minister Bakary Yaou SangarĂ© announced after Friday’s meeting in Niamey.

The treaty is to be adopted at a summit meeting of the heads of the military governments ruling in the three countries. No further details on the content of the treaty or the date of a summit meeting were given.

The three Sahel states have broken off their relations with former colonial ruler and long-time security ally France and have increasingly turned to Russia. Last year they decided to form a confederation. In January they announced that they would withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States, Ecowas.

Ecowas had imposed sanctions on all three countries for overthrowing democratically elected governments in a series of coups since 2020. The reason for the military coups was also anger at civilian governments that had failed to contain jihadist violence.