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Washington, D.C. — House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul issued a statement following reports that Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso — three West African Sahel countries ruled by military juntas — signed a mutual defense security pact establishing the Alliance of Sahel States.

“Niger, in partnership with the U.S., was the one country in the Sahel region of Africa making progress in its fight against al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists. Now, after a military junta seized control from the democratically elected and pro-U.S. president, Niger has joined a security partnership with two other African countries governed by military rulers who took power in coups – including Mali, which is backed by Russian-controlled mercenaries. The Biden administration can no longer sit on the sidelines as one African country after another falls to military coups, Russian and Chinese malign influence, and an explosion of terrorist activities. We urgently need to articulate and implement a clear strategy that reverses these trends, starting with the long-overdue recognition that the Sahel is the new global epicenter of jihadist violence that poses a grave threat to America and our allies.”