Military chiefs from Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger convened a closed-door meeting on 13 and 14 August to discuss the regional security situation and share strategies in the ongoing campaigns against armed Islamic insurgents in the Saharan region. The meeting followed an agreement made public by Algeria and Mali, as well as Libya, to pool intelligence resources and join forces against the network of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) cells that have carried out suicide attacks, ambushes and kidnappings across the region - particularly targeting security forces.
It also preceded an anticipated regional security conference that is expected to draw representatives from Chad and Burkina Faso. No date has yet been announced for this conference, first floated during the African Union summit in Libya in May.
The aim of the meeting was to broaden the regional co-operation in the fight against AQIM. Algeria has spearheaded regional efforts to co-ordinate operations and has delivered several loads of equipment and weapons to Mali for that country's own campaign in the Sahara, begun in June. Niger and Mauritania were also due to receive similar arms shipments, according to reports in the Algerian media.