Destabilization in the Sahel is a concern in the EU that has increased since the coup d’état in Niger and, now, the recent news about a similar movement in Gabon that has coincided with the informal meeting of defense ministers in Toledo and in which will analyze the situation. The high representative, Josep Borrell, is going to put on the table of the 27 a package of sanctions for the military junta that overthrew the Nigerien government and limits the solution to the conflict to the African continent, but distances the possibility of supporting a military intervention in the hypothetical case that it was raised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“I am going to put on the table the convenience of adopting a legal framework to establish sanctions against the coup plotters in Niger. The ministers are going to discuss it, ”said the head of European diplomacy upon his arrival at the meeting. The process for sanctions packages is that the European Commission proposes them and they have to be adopted unanimously by the member states.
“The ministers are going to study how our support for the community of West African countries can be applied in each moment and situation and that is also going to be discussed”, Borrell answered the question of whether the EU would support a military intervention sponsored by ECOWAS, an exit that has been labeled as “futurible”. In any case, he has cooled that possibility, like the German minister. France has threatened with that option.
“We have to know what it is about, how, when, where, in what way. You cannot give blank checks”, he declared, before conceding: “I think the ministers will ratify their support for what ECOWAS proposes at the time”. In mid-August, that organization activated the bloc’s military reserve force for a possible intervention in Niger aimed at “reestablishing the constitutional order” broken by the coup that took place in July.
Since then, the coup military junta has not given in to international pressure and has clung to power, reducing hopes for dialogue, despite that explicit threat.
Both Borrell and the EU Defense Ministers have expressed their concern at the news of a possible coup in Gabon. “The news is confusing. I got the news early this morning. If this is confirmed, it is another military coup that increases instability throughout the region,” said Borrell, who lamented the worsening political situation in sub-Saharan Africa.