French defense minister to visit Gabon

23:44, January 07, 2011      

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French Defense Minister Alain Juppe is expected to make a working visit to Gabon on Jan. 9-10, the French Embassy in Gabon said on Thursday.

The agenda for his visit was not revealed, although he is expected to pay a visit to the sites hosting French forces in Gabon (FFG).

Since the restructuring of the presence of French armies in Africa, the presence of the French soldiers in Gabon has been reinforced.

Led by a general, the French soldiers stationed in Gabon have the capacity to effectively intervene in a conflict in Central Africa.

During the outbreak of the civil war in Cote d'Ivoire in 2002, France dispatched soldiers from Libreville to reinforce the Licorne forces still active in the Cote d'Ivoire.

In Gabon, France trains the local army and and provides military equipment. France is followed by Austria and Germany in the area of equipment supply.

A former defense minister, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba has shown great admiration for German made equipment.

A well placed source has told Xinhua that Libreville intends to acquire German made medical helicopters to be used for treatment during the African Cup of Nations (CAN), which Gabon will co-host with Equatorial Guinea in 2012.

Source: Xinhua
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