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Gabon handling post-election period with maturity, Foreign Minister tells UN debate

26 September 2009 – The Gabonese people have shown maturity and responsibility in the way they have handled the difficult period following recent presidential elections to succeed their long-running ruler, the country’s Foreign Minister has told the General Assembly.

Paul Toungui, in an address last night to the Assembly’s annual General Debate, praised the people of Gabon for their “commitment to the values of peace and democracy” after last month’s presidential contest, which authorities say was won by Ali Bongo Ondimba. Mr. Bongo succeeds his father, Omar, who ruled Gabon as President from 1967 until his death in May this year.

Earlier this month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern at reports that opposition activists had clashed with security forces in the days following the polls on 30 August, and urged calm and restraint from all sides.

Mr. Toungui described the time after Omar Bongo’s death as “a delicate period of political transition” during which the impoverished African nation had to draw on its own resources to overcome.

But he said the people displayed a “high sense of responsibility and maturity,” adding that the country was also helped by the support of the international community in recent months.

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