Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Donors pledge millions at Uganda refugee summit

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Depp plumbs depths of bad taste

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

France's new frontman, America's absent center, May's Brexit gambit, Saudi royal reshuffle, after Mosul & Raqqa fall

Read more

REVISITED

Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

FARC disarmament a 'historic day' for Colombia, says president

Read more

FASHION

Cruise collections: All aboard for Dior and Chanel's latest fashions

Read more

ENCORE!

Colombia comes to France

Read more

#THE 51%

The last taboo: Helping women and girls. Period.

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Who benefits when the ice caps melt?

Read more

France

Gabon recalls Paris ambassador over French PM’s election comments

© AFP (file photo) | Gabon's President Ali Bongo

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-01-18

Gabon has recalled its ambassador to Paris after France’s prime minister appeared to question the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo’s election in 2009, the central African country said.

The latest sign of fraying relations between Gabon and its former colonial ruler follows a French investigation into the origins of the wealth of the Bongo family, which has ruled the oil producing nation since 1967.

Asked during a television interview on Saturday whether Bongo had been democratically elected, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “No, not as I understand it.”

Gabon’s Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya told state television late on Sunday that the government was seeking clarification of Valls’ remark.

“We are surprised and shocked by the words of Manuel Valls when our two countries have such excellent relations,” he said.

France’s foreign ministry said it was "extremely attached" to its relationship with Gabon under the presidency of Bongo since he was elected in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled since the 1960s.

Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told reporters that the ambassadors of both countries had met government representatives in each capital on Monday, “to remove any misunderstanding”.

In August Bongo is expected to seek a second seven-year mandate and will run against one of his main critics, Jean Ping, a former African Union chairman. Gabon’s opposition disputed the result of the 2009 election at the time.

Gabon has twice before recalled Ambassador Germain Ngoyo Moussavou in recent years, although each time he has been reinstated.

For decades after independence in 1960, France and Gabon remained close allies under “Francafrique” - a system whereby veteran African leaders were given security guarantees in exchange for business deals.

Gabon is one of Africa’s richest countries but wealth is very unevenly distributed.

France remains a key player in Gabon’s economy, with more than 100 companies based there, including the country’s biggest oil producer, Total.

It has a military base in the capital Libreville with more than 400 French soldiers.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-01-18

  • GABON

    Riots in Gabon after leading opposition figure's death

    Read more

  • GABON

    Opposition spearhead returns to Gabon

    Read more

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    Temporary ceasefire agreed with CAR rebels

    Read more

COMMENT(S)