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IP/ 09/892

Brussels , 9 June 2009

Statement by the European Commission following the death of the President of Gabon, Omar Bongo Ondimba

The European Commission has learned with sadness of the death of Mr Omar Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon and longest serving Central African head of state.

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian aid, said: "President Omar Bongo led Gabon resolutely for many years. He was a leading figure in African politics, listened to and respected by his peers, and played a very active role in the resolution of crises and conflicts. He made particular efforts to achieve stability and regional integration in Central Africa."

The European Commission maintained constructive relations with President Omar on his visits to Brussels and at international meetings in Africa and elsewhere. In December 2007, President Bongo was instrumental in the success of the 2nd EU-Africa summit in Lisbon with his contributions on matters including energy, climate change, peace and security.

The European Commission offers its condolences to his family and friends, the members of the Government and other bodies, and the people of Gabon. The Commission hopes that Gabon political life will proceed in a calm and smooth fashion, in accordance with the constitutional framework.

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