The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep Borrell, said that if the military coup in Gabon was confirmed, it will increase instability in the region, during a press briefing in Toledo on Wednesday.
“The news is confusing. I got the news this morning early. If this is confirmed, is another military coup which increases the instability in the whole region. I cannot say more because I don’t have more information but certainly [it] is an issue that we will put on the table, we will discuss, » he stated.
Borrell’s comments came ahead of a meeting of the European Union’s defence ministers.
« The whole area, starting with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, maybe Gabon, it’s in a very difficult situation and certainly the ministers, today defence ministers and tomorrow foreign affairs ministers have to have a deep thought on what is going on there and how we can improve our policy in respect with these countries. This is a big issue for Europe, » he added.
Borrell’s remarks came after a group of military officers appeared on national television in Gabon, saying they had cancelled the results of Saturday’s elections.
The group, who claimed to represent the security and defence forces of the country, stated that they were dissolving ‘all the institutions of the republic’ and had closed the borders ‘until further notice’, adding that they had decided to ‘defend peace by putting an end to the current regime’.
On Saturday, President Ali Bongo – whose family has held power for over 50 years – was declared the winner with nearly two-thirds of the votes. The country’s opposition claimed the victory was fraudulent.
It comes just over a month after a similar military takeover in Niger. If the coup is confirmed, it marks the eighth in Africa’s former French colonies in just three years. Gabon is one of the continent’s major oil producers.