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New Gabon President Visits Congo

The visit marks the second overseas trip for Oligui, who has promised to hold "free, transparent and credible elections" to restore civilian rule but without giving a timeframe.


Brice Oligui Nguema

 

 

The transitional president of Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, who ousted Ali Bongo Ondimba at the end of August, arrived Sunday in Congo to meet his counterpart.

Oligui, who was sworn in last month as the country’s interim president, will meet his counterpart President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

His plane landed late morning at the airport Ollombo, in the centre of the country, near Oyo, where the two leaders were due to meet face-to-face and have lunch.

The red carpet was rolled out on the tarmac for General Oligui, who was wearing green military fatigues and a beret, who was welcomed by the prime minister.

Under the presidency of Ali Bongo, relations between Gabon and the Congo were notoriously tense.

Special advisor to the new Gabonese head of state, Obame Ngomo, said that the meeting on Sunday should make it possible to promote “exchanges on bilateral collaboration” and “bring people back to better relations”.

Bongo, 64, ruled the central African country since 2009 and was overthrown by military leaders moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election.

The election result was branded a fraud by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who have also accused his regime of widespread corruption and bad governance.

Many saw it as an act of liberation rather than a military coup.

The visit marks the second overseas trip for Oligui, who has promised to hold “free, transparent and credible elections” to restore civilian rule but without giving a timeframe.

Gabon was suspended from the African Union and the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) after the change of government.

ECCAS has also ordered the immediate transfer of its headquarters from Gabon’s Libreville to the Equatorial Guinea capital of Malabo.