I have an SVG diagram depicting the Earths landmasses (like an atlas). Each country is a separate object, which worked fine for its initial purpose, where I set a 1pt stroke, so all the borders were visible.
But now, I want to remove the borders and join them all up so that all the adjacent countries are no longer separate objects.
In their current state, they can't endure much manipulation before the gaps are revealed. Below is an example to show what I mean. See, the image is distorted a bit, to wrap around a 3D surface and it ends up looking like landlocked and adjacent countries are actually separated by water, which of course they aren't.
How can I combine them into a single object? I tried using the Pathfinder tool (Unite, Merge, etc.), but because the separate objects don't overlap, nothing happens, even though they're hard up against each other.