In a surprising move, the United States has decided to suspend certain foreign assistance programs to the government of Gabon.
This decision comes in response to the recent coup that took place in the African country. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the pause in a statement released by the Department of State on Tuesday.
Blinken stated that the suspension would continue while the US evaluates the unconstitutional intervention by members of Gabon’s military. This action is in line with the steps taken by the Economic Community of Central African States and the African Union. It sends a clear message that the US condemns any attempt to seize power through unlawful means.
Despite the suspension of foreign aid, the US will continue its operational activities in Gabon. This includes diplomatic and consular operations that support US citizens in the country. It is important for the US to maintain a presence in order to protect its interests and provide assistance to its citizens if needed.
The coup in Gabon occurred on August 30, when army officers took control and annulled the election in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner. The military claimed that the election was not credible. Bongo had been in power since 2009, and his family’s dynastic rule had been a source of discontent among the population.
The new military government in Gabon has promised to oversee free and fair elections in the future, but they have not provided a specific timetable for organizing them. According to military-appointed Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima, a 24-month transition period to elections would be reasonable considering the circumstances.
The coup was greeted with scenes of jubilation in the capital, Libreville, as many people expressed their dissatisfaction with the Bongo family’s rule. Critics argue that the Bongos did little to share Gabon’s wealth with its 2.3 million people, leading to widespread discontent.
In an effort to consolidate power, the military government swiftly appointed General Brice Oligui Nguema, the head of an elite squad and a cousin to Bongo, as interim president. The US suspension of foreign aid is a clear indication that they do not recognize this new government as legitimate.
The US has a long history of promoting democracy and condemning coups around the world. By suspending foreign aid to Gabon, the US is sending a strong message that it stands with the people of Gabon in their desire for a government that respects their rights and represents their interests.