Germany presents genocide ‘position paper’

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-German Ambassador to Namibia Christian Schlaga last week presented the ‘German Position Paper’ on genocide to Namibia’s Special Envoy Dr Zed Ngavirue, the embassy stated last week.

The paper, just like the one presented by Ngavirue last year in July to his counterpart Ruprecht Polenz, contained a detailed German assessment of the Namibian paper presented last year.

“This development shows that the negotiations between Namibia and Germany are on track and shall continue with the next meeting of both countries’ special envoys in due course,” Schlaga stated in a release.

“This document formed the basis for extensive deliberations by both special envoys during their respective meetings in early September in Berlin, as well as the end of November 2016 in Windhoek,” he added.

He said during those deliberations the German special envoy responded by explaining in detail and great clarity the German assessment of the Namibian paper.

Subsequently, he said, both envoys agreed that Germany would transmit the assessment also in writing to the Namibian special envoy.

The paper contains the detailed German assessment of the Namibian paper presented in July 2016. This development shows that the negotiations between Namibia and Germany are on track and will continue with the next meeting of both countries’ special envoys in due course.

Up to 100,000 Hereros and Namas are believed to have been killed by German imperial troops in the early 1900s in what was then the German colony of South West Africa.

Successive German governments have refused to accept the atrocities as genocide. The present government only agreed to the description genocide in 2015, reversing its earlier position.

The dialogue between Germany and Namibia includes discussions about an official apology for the genocide. However, Schlaga has publicly ruled out paying reparations directly to members of the Ovaherero and Nama ethnic groups.

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