Received at the Elysee Palace on September 3rd, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, 76 years old, including 35 years in power, well briefed by his longtime “friend”, Jean Yves le Drian, met with French President Emmanuel Macron for a 45 minute time. But at each of these two interviews, both with the boss of the Quai d’Orsay and with the tenant of the Elysée, a name came back: Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko.
This is the General incarcerated since mid-2016 and sentenced to 20 years in prison by Congolese justice. Questioned by the Association of the Diplomatic Press, Le Drian replied in very diplomatic terms: “I told him about Mr. Mokoko and told him that we were expecting acts from him”.
A bit annoyed by the remarks of his French counterpart, the Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Claude Gakosso, interviewed by RFI, played the card of friendship. “These remarks do not move me too much and I take note of what is said. But I know Jean-Yves Le Drian well and I can show you the friendship he has for President Sassou. They are friends so they can say everything with President Sassou. And the Congolese minister to refuse to rule on the release of the famous Congolese opponent. “I do not know, they are complex issues, I would not want to do any injunction whatsoever, let alone the justice of my country that I respect.”
In addition to this dossier Mokoko and the case of the opponent Andre Okombi, two cases on which Sassou responded with a silence just as diplomatic, ‘the bilateral meeting with Macron focused on the preservation of the Congo Basin and on the thorny issue of the implementation of the 48 measures imposed by the IMF. The protests of Congolese opponents, all symbolic, and the revelations on the invoice of the Dreamliner ($ 500,000) that sent the Congolese delegation from Brazzaville to Paris, did not weigh on a timed agenda.
Rodrigue Fenelon Massala