US Ambassador Meets With Gabon Coup Leader

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — A U.S. delegation met with the military ruler of Gabon on Tuesday and reiterated the need for a quick return to constitutional order six months after the nation’s August 30 coup.

Even so, the U.S. ambassador to Gabon who led the delegation, Vernelle Trim FitzPatrick, said economic and diplomatic relations with the Central African state will be reinforced despite sanctions imposed on Gabon’s coup leaders.

Military ruler General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema pleaded for U.S sanctions to be lifted.

Speaking later on Gabon’s state television, FitzPatrick said the United States finds it important to discuss strengthening trade and commercial relations with Gabon to gain the support of the U.S Congress in fostering ties with the nation.

FitzPatrick, who has been ambassador to Gabon for about a month, also said the United States will assist with the transition to civilian rule but did not say how.

Gabon’s military, led by Nguema, ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba in a bloodless coup on August 30. The military accused Bongo of rigging Gabon’s August 26 elections and ruining the country’s economy.

After the coup, Washington suspended most nonhumanitarian aid and asked for a quick return to constitutional order. Gabon’s military leaders said elections would be held in August 2025, after an inclusive national dialogue this April.

Nembe Patrice, an economic adviser at Alternance 2023, a group of opposition parties created in 2023 to fight for political change in Gabon, said civilians want Nguema to organize elections and hand power to democratically elected officials.

He also said he hopes the United States will advise Nguema not to be a candidate.

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