Niger coup leader visits Mali in first foreign trip

Niger coup leader visits Mali in first foreign trip

FILE - General Abdourahmane Tiani, who was declared as the new head of state of Niger by leaders of a coup, meets ministers in Niamey.

Niger's military ruler General Abdourahamane Tiani on Thursday arrived in Mali to meet his counterpart Colonel Assimi Goita in his first international visit since seizing power in July, an AFP journalist noted.

Niger's neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso — which are ruled by military leaders who seized power in 2020 and 2022, respectively — have pledged solidarity to Niger's coup leaders.

The three Sahel countries in September signed a pact that includes provisions for mutual defense in the event of an attack on the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of any of the countries.

They also plan to strengthen economic ties.

The regimes are also united in the fight against jihadism in their countries.

Tiani is due to stay a few hours in Mali's capital Bamako and meet Goita for a "friendship and working" visit, the Malian presidency said.

Shortly after taking power, Tiani pledged to return Niger to civilian rule within three years.

Mali, meanwhile, has indefinitely postponed a presidential election that was scheduled for early 2024.

Mali plans to host ministers from the three countries for several meetings in the coming weeks with the aim of ironing out the operational details of the new Sahel alliance, it said in a statement Thursday.

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Niger Coup Mali General Abdourahamane Tiani

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