Gabonese President Omar Bongo is in a Spanish clinic. Spain says he is
"very ill." The government in Libreville says the 73-year-old is just
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos says
President Bongo has been at the private Quiron hospital in Barcelona
for more than two weeks. He told reporters that the Gabonese leader is
Earlier this month, President Bongo's government
announced that, because of his wife's death in March, he would be
"momentarily suspending his activities" as head of state for the first
time since taking power in 1967.
But the government in Libreville is rejecting Spanish media reports that the president is suffering from cancer.
a nationwide broadcast on state radio and television late Thursday,
presidential spokesman Robert Orango Berre said Mr. Bongo is in Spain
for a few days of rest following the "intense emotional shock" of his
Berre says President Bongo is at the hospital in
Barcelona for a complete medical check-up so as to regain his health
and return to Gabon to continue his activities as soon as possible.
says that contrary to the allegations of some media, the president has
not undergone any surgical procedures. Berre says these media
allegations are meant to undermine the spirit of the Gabonese people in
order to destabilize their thinking.
Like any human being, Berre
says even chiefs of state can be temporarily affected by personal
hardship. And like any human being, he says President Bongo is taking
this period to rest.
Berre says the president is being kept up
to date on important issues while state institutions ensure the
continuity of government operations.
Gabon's constitution says
Senate Leader Rose Francine Rogombe would take power as acting
president in the event of the president's death. She would have 90 days
to organize new elections in which she would be ineligible to run.