High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell delivers a speech during a ceremony opening EU's Partnership Mission in Chisinau, Moldova, May 31, 2023.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell delivers a speech during a ceremony opening EU's Partnership Mission in Chisinau, Moldova, May 31, 2023. REUTERS/Vladislav Culiomza/File Photo

Military coup in Gabon sparks EU defence meeting

European Union defence ministers are to discuss the situation in Gabon, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.

TOLEDO, Spain (Reuters) -European Union defence ministers are to discuss the situation in Gabon, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday, adding that a coup, if confirmed, would heap more instability on the region.

A group of senior Gabonese military officers appeared on national television in the early hours of Wednesday and said they had taken power, after the state election body announced President Ali Bongo had won a third term.

"If this is confirmed, it is another military coup which increases instability in the whole region," said Borrell, speaking at a meeting of EU defence ministers in Toledo.

"The whole area, starting with Central African Republic, then Mali, then Burkina Faso, now Niger, maybe Gabon, it's in a very difficult situation and certainly the ministers ... have to have a deep thought on what is going on there and how we can improve our policy in respect with these countries," he said.

"This is a big issue for Europe," he added.

The signs of a coup in Gabon come just weeks after members of the presidential guard in Niger seized power and established a junta.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray, Sabine Siebold, Benoit Van Overstraeten; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Conor Humphries)

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