The day after the coup d’etat in Gabon, during which outgoing President Ali Bongo was removed, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke out. According to him, even if “military coups are not the solution”, this overthrow in Gabon comes following elections marred by “irregularities”.
Josep Borrell, the head of diplomacy of the European Union, insisted Thursday on the difference between the coups in Niger, on July 26, and in Gabon, on Wednesday. “Naturally, military coups are not the solution but we must not forget that in Gabon there were elections full of irregularities,” he stressed, affirming that a rigged election could be interpreted as an “institutional coup d’etat”.
He also clarified that no evacuation of European citizens residing in Gabon was planned, insisting that the situation was “calm”. “We do not see any risk of violence,” he stressed from Toledo, Spain, on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the 27.
Gabon ruled for 55 years by the Bongo family
Putschist soldiers deposed outgoing President Ali Bongo Ondimba on Wednesday, shortly after the announcement of his re-election as head of the country, provoking jubilant demonstrations. This oil-rich Central African country was ruled for more than 55 years by the Bongo family.
The war in Ukraine and the situation in Niger, where soldiers overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, were to be at the heart of the discussions at this meeting in Toledo.
The President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu, who holds the rotating presidency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), must participate in the meeting, said the head of European diplomacy.
The coup in Niger has increased tensions in the Sahel, where three other civilian governments have been overthrown by the military since 2020 and jihadist rebel movements control entire regions.
“An institutional coup d’etat”
Questioned on CNN shortly before the start of the Toledo meeting, Josep Borrell insisted that the situations in Gabon and Niger were not “equivalent”.
“In Niger, the president was a democratically elected president (…). In Gabon, a few hours before the military coup, there was an institutional coup because the elections were stolen,” a- he declared.
“I cannot say that Gabon was a real democracy with a family that had ruled the country for 50 years,” he insisted.
Source: BFM TV