May 19, 2024

U.S. Expresses Deep Concern Over Political Unrest in Gabon Amid Broader International Tensions

President Joe Biden departs with fellow panelists Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, left, and President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba after delivering remarks at a session on “Action on Forests and Land Use”, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
President Joe Biden departs with fellow panelists Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, left, and President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba after delivering remarks at a session on ÒAction on Forests and Land UseÓ, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Following reports of a military coup in Gabon, the United States has voiced grave concerns over the recent political developments in the country. This comes after incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba was declared the winner of the recent elections, a result that has been clouded with accusations of opacity and irregularities. The U.S. has called for the immediate release and safety of government members and their families, urging a return to peace and dialogue.

“The United States is deeply concerned by evolving events in Gabon. We remain strongly opposed to military seizures or unconstitutional transfers of power. We urge those responsible to release and ensure the safety of members of government and their families and to preserve civilian rule,” Matthew Miller, U.S. State Department Spokesperson, said in a statement on Wednesday.

He added, “In addition, we call on all actors to show restraint and respect for human rights and to address their concerns peacefully through dialogue following the announcement of election results. We also note with concern the lack of transparency and reports of irregularities surrounding the election. The United States stands with the people of Gabon.”

John Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, shed light on the escalating situation in Gabon during a teleconference with reporters.

He assured all U.S. personnel stationed at the embassy in Libreville, Gabon’s capital, were safe and accounted for. The full extent and details of the coup, which appears to have occurred overnight, remain unclear.

In a related international context, the U.S. criticized the Russian-drafted UN Security Council Resolution on the renewal of Mali sanctions. Ambassador Robert Wood termed Russia’s draft as “disingenuous and lamentable,” expressing disappointment over its hasty introduction without room for discussion. The primary U.S. concern lies with Russia’s attempt to conclude the mandate of the Panel of Experts, the only UN mechanism currently monitoring human rights abuses in Mali. Accusations have been directed at Russia for prioritizing its interests and attempting to shield Wagner’s actions in the region.

Moreover, the U.S. displayed frustration over Russia’s influence in the wake of the France and UAE drafted resolution on Mali sanctions. While the U.S. supported this resolution, stressing the importance of the Panel of Experts and sanctions in maintaining regional peace, the renewal of these crucial international measures was stymied due to Russian intervention.

As August wraps up, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is poised to brief the media on the U.S. Presidency’s highlights of the UN Security Council. Key areas of focus will include achievements in combatting famine, addressing food insecurity in conflict regions, and championing human rights. This press conference is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. EDT on August 31 and will be broadcast live on UN WebTV.

In observance of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the U.S. has pledged solidarity with victims and their families. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has called on global governments to end this distressing practice and release necessary information about the victims.

At the UNDP Segment of the UNDP/UNOPS/UNFPA Executive Board, the U.S. lauded global development efforts, notably the Safer tanker oil transfer project in Yemen. The U.S. emphasized the importance of reaffirming UN values, protecting human rights, and addressing contemporary global challenges such as pandemics and climate crises. The U.S. envisions the UNDP playing a pivotal role in upholding the principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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