Friday, March 30, 2012

Equatorial Guinea Protests France Illegal Actions

Peaceful demonstrations have been held in major cities in Equatorial Guinea to protest the request by French judges for an international arrest warrant for the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.

French investigators accused the minister of obtaining property in France with ill-gotten gains. Attorneys for Minister Nguema have said that his business transactions in France have been transparent and in compliance with French law. The government of Equatorial Guinea has said that some of the property in question is official state property in Paris that is subject to diplomatic protection.

The demonstration in the capital city of Malabo ended at the French Embassy, where Fran├žois Barateau, Ambassador of France to Equatorial Guinea, spoke to the country’s media.

Lucas Nguema Esono, Secretary General of the FSDP, read an official statement at the French Embassy condemning the persecution carried out by France to Equatorial Guinea "violating the spirit of the traditional friendly relations and cooperation, and bilateral agreements between the two countries."

The statement referred to recent criticisms of the institutions and initiatives of Equatorial Guinea, such as the controversy over the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, as well as the seizure of real estate belonging to the State of Equatorial Guinea in Paris, and the request for an international arrest warrant for the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.

Mr. Nguema Esono said, drawing from the Equatorial Guinean government statement of two days ago, that the French actions "are a clear attempt to destabilize the government and institutions of Equatorial Guinea."

Earlier this week, Ambassador Barateau met with the Delegate Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie Affairs, Eustaquio Nseng Esono to review bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries. Equatorial Guinean officials reported that this indicated that France shares Equatorial Guinea’s desire to continue to have good relations.