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US suspends non-humanitarian assistance to Gabon in response to coup

The Prime Minister of Gabon, Raymond Ndong Sima at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly -   -  
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The United States on Monday cut all its aid to Gabon in response to the coup d'état on 30 August in the central African country, although it said it was prepared to grant further aid if democratic progress is made.

Washington, which had already halted part of its foreign aid at the end of September, formally declared that a coup d'état had taken place in Gabon, which under US law implies the end of all non-humanitarian aid.

"We will resume our assistance at the same time as concrete actions are taken by the transition government to establish a democratic regime," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

"The United States supports the people of Gabon in their aspirations for democracy, prosperity and stability", he added.

On 30 August, the Gabonese army overthrew President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had been in power for 14 years, in a coup d'état denounced by the international community.

He had been declared the winner of a presidential election widely criticised for irregularities.

Gabon, an oil-rich country, received little US aid, unlike other countries such as Niger, which also experienced a coup d'état at the end of July.

Gabon's new military-appointed prime minister, Raymond Ndong Sima, has called for a distinction to be drawn between coups d'état and coups d'état.

The intervention of the military in Gabon was a "lesser evil" to avoid a "conflagration" in the face of "yet another electoral hold-up", he said at the UN in September.

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