December 8, 2005

Reparations talks with Germany postponed

Namibia and Germany have called off talks at which the 20 million Euro donation for war reparations was expected to feature. German Ambassador Wolfgang Massing announced that the talks had been postponed until a date in 2006, yet to be announced. According to him, the meeting between the two governments had been postponed to give Namibia more time to consider the new proposals that came up during President Hifikepunye Pohamba's recent visit to Germany.
"The Namibian Government has some fresh ideas and came up with new proposals for assistance after what they saw in Germany. They indicated that they need time to finalise them. We proposed that it be done during the first half of next year," Massing said in an interview. Among the new proposals expected from Namibia were future projects on land reform and the transport sector. Namibia's Foreign Minister Marco Hausiku explained that they had rejected the signing because they wanted to consult Hereros, Namas, Damaras and the San. According to Massing, the German side was under the impression that the Namibian Cabinet had given the go-ahead for the signing of the memorandum of understanding and was surprised when they refused. "However, we fully respect and understand their decision to consult first.”
Massing also noted that among the issues to be discussed would be Germany's proposal to increase assistance to Namibia from 12 million Euro (N$96 million) to 13,5 million Euro (N$108 million). Furthermore, the German Ambassador said Berlin was impressed with Namibia's handling of land reform, its anti-corruption initiatives and involvement in the African Union. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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