Senegal leader makes first visit to junta-run Mali, Burkina

AFP , Thursday 30 May 2024

Senegal's new President Bassirou Diomaye Faye on Thursday began his first visit to Mali and Burkina Faso to strengthen ties with these two states which have quit regional bloc ECOWAS.

Senegal president
File photo: Bassirou Diomaye Faye speaks after being sworn in as Senegal s president at an exhibition centre in the new town of Diamniadio near the capital Dakar on April 2, 2024. AFP


Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are all under military rule following coups.

In January, the trio announced they were quitting The Economic Community of West African States, which they said was under French influence, to create their own regional grouping -- the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

Faye landed in the Malian capital on Thursday and headed to the presidential palace where he is due to hold talks with junta head Colonel Assimi Goita, a Malian presidential source said.

"These visits are part of a drive to strengthen the historic ties of good neighbourliness, fraternal friendship, solidarity and multifaceted cooperation," the Senegalese presidency said in a statement.

Faye has made several trips across West Africa since being sworn in as the continent's youngest elected president in early April.

Thursday's trip marks his tenth visit to an African state since assuming the presidency.

The choice of destinations within the continent "speaks volumes about the importance of strengthening pan-Africanism and reinvigorating sub-regional integration in his diplomatic priorities," a Senegalese government statement said.

Faye, 44, was elected on a promise of radical change and has said he wants to bring Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger back into ECOWAS.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged Faye to use his goodwill within the bloc to help resolve disputes with the three states.

Faye travelled to Guinea on Saturday where he met with General Mamady Doumbouya, who seized power in a September 2021 coup.

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