Ambassador Brueser Sets Record Straight

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Subject: Your article “EU’s Concerns” dated Friday 30 June, 2006. With reference to your abovementioned article, I would like to request a publication of the following correction, since the article does unfortunately not transmit the interview with your journalist in a correct manner. I have also noticed that quotations are being used which do not represent the expressed views. As general remark, I have to say that the article gives a negative impression about Namibia and its policy. This is in complete contradiction of my experience and of what I highlighted during the interview: I emphasised the positive developments of this country since its Independence, although some deficiencies continue to exist. The summary (in bold) in the first paragraph does not reflect my views given during the interview. This is a wrong and arbitrary interpretation made by the journalist. I mentioned the necessity of an improved planning by executing and taking into account results of independent economic feasibility studies, in order to improve “value for money”. This is true also for private investments and regardless if investments are funded with grants or loans. Even for social projects such a study is of high value. In this context I did not mention any concrete project and not Ramatex. Since I have not received the studies about Ramatex, such a declaration by me would not make sense. It is true that even private investors, who have invested important funds in Namibian projects, had not been guided by an economic study and came to me to discuss financing possibilities, once the initial investments into the projects had been done. But I never made any reference to the overall policy in the country. As far as delays and procedures are concerned, I explicitly made reference to those of the European Commission, but no word about those of Government (I do not know the latter ones as well as those of the Commission). It is not a secret that the procedures of the European Commission are quite cumbersome, although logical, and are in the process of being reviewed for simplification and streamlining. As far as the investment of Euro 23 million is concerned: I mentioned this project (which is the improvement of the Walvis Bay Corridor) as an example where no progress was achieved, although I personally took very high interest in it. But I never mentioned that the fact that the funds were finally not forthcoming, was the Namibian Government’s fault. Such a statement cannot be substantiated by me and was, therefore, never given during the interview. In relation to ETSIP, I expressed my concerns namely about the still missing priorities of actions which need to be identified according to the available funds. In this context I indicated the Pledging Conference in April this year, but also the still existing financing gap for the financing of this whole ambitious programme. The statements about tourism reflect correctly the interview. As far as my replacement, Ms Elisabeth Pape, is concerned, I highlighted the fact that this will be the proposal by the European Commission, but her arrival is subject to the agreement by the Namibian Government. Thank you very much. A. Brueser Ambassador