German-Namibian Ties Further Strengthened

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK The fact that President Hifikepunye Pohamba was the first Head of State to be received by the new German government last year, underlines the special relationship that exists between the two countries. This is according to newly-arrived German Ambassador to Namibia, Arne Freiherr von Kittlitz, speaking at a function to mark German Unity Day on Tuesday. To emphasize the point, he also mentioned that the German parliament had twice spelled out this special relationship in resolutions. German Unity Day marks the day of 3 October 1990 when the two former separate German states united to form the Federal Republic of Germany, making Tuesday the 16th anniversary. The German embassy in Namibia celebrated the anniversary with a function attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lempy Lucas, members of the Diplomatic Corps and a large number of other invited guests. Freiherr von Kittlitz only recently arrived in Namibia with his wife, Maja, to take over the post previously occupied by Dr Wolfgang Massing. He said Germany and Namibia are not only connected through history and politics, because trade, investment and tourism are gaining increasing importance in bilateral relations. Germany is among the leading destinations for Namibian exports, and imports of German goods into Namibia follow closely on those from South Africa. Trade between the two countries has grown annually in recent years, and he hoped the trade talks initiated during president Pohamba’s visit would soon bear fruit. Germany leads all other European nations in bringing tourists to Namibia, with approximately 60ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 German visitors every year. Von Kittlitz said development cooperation remains a key element in German-Namibian bilateral relations. Since independence, Germany has given Namibia 500 million Euros in development support, equivalent to about N$5 billion. He said the German aid commitment to Namibia for 2005 and 2006 reached 60 million Euros, which represents a doubling of previous annual support. A large part of this was earmarked to improve the road infrastructure in Namibia and the expansion of Walvis Bay harbour. Von Kittlitz explained that the assistance also aims at strengthening public institutions in the transport sector, apart from supporting road construction. Speaking at the function, Deputy Minister Lempy Lucas reaffirmed Namibia’s commitment towards closer cooperation between Germany and Namibia. “I am confident that the special relations, the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our countries and peoples will be further strengthened to the mutual benefit of our peoples,” she said.