September 23, 2023

Gabon: “vital to keep balance”, says Morocco

Morocco has insisted on “the importance of preserving stability” in the Central African country after the military coup that removed the Gabonese president from power on Wednesday.

Morocco is “closely following developments in the situation in the Gabonese Republic,” said the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a brief press release.

The Shereef kingdom “underlines the importance of preserving the stability of this brother country and the tranquility of its population”, continues the press release.

“Morocco trusts in the wisdom of the Gabonese nation, its strong forces, and its national institutions, to move towards a perspective allowing it to act in the best interests of the country, to safeguard the achievements made, and to respond to the aspirations of the brother Gabonese people”, he concludes.

Morocco and Gabon maintain close and privileged relations, notably due to the ties of friendship between King Mohammed VI and President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

The Moroccan sovereign and the Gabonese president — who was placed under house arrest in Libreville — have been friends since childhood.

At the end of 2018, Ali Bongo chose Morocco to continue a period of convalescence and rehabilitation at the Rabat military hospital after being hospitalized in Saudi Arabia following a stroke. Mohammed VI visited him.

The Moroccan monarch regularly visits Gabon for private stays. He stayed there for almost three months at the start of the year in his residence on the Pointe-Denis peninsula, and the two heads of state had an official meeting on February 15 in Libreville.

Ali Bongo owns a villa in the palm grove of Marrakech , according to Gabonese and Moroccan media.

Gabon has been among Morocco’s main allies in Africa since the reign of King Hassan II, a close associate of Omar Bongo, the father of the ousted president.

In a message of congratulations on the occasion of Gabon’s National Day on August 17, Mohammed VI recalled his attachment to “the development of the strategic partnership which unites our two countries and is distinguished by its exemplary nature”.

Due to the coup, the airline Royal Air Maroc canceled its flight scheduled for Wednesday to Libreville.

On Saturday, violent clashes between Gabonese demonstrators and Moroccan police officers in front of and inside the Gabonese embassy in Rabat during the counting of the votes for the presidential election, according to witnesses.

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