MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
Query: Response to the Windhoek Observer Newspaper Article that appeared on the 23-29 September 2016, headlined “Ngavirue denies being outsmarted by the Germans.”
Response: The Windhoek Observer Newspaper of Friday, 23-29 September 2016 published an article “Ngavirue denies being outsmarted by the Germans.”
The newspaper alleges in the article that the German Negotiation Team questioned historical and legal facts presented by the Namibian Special Envoy.
These historical facts purported to bring in more groups as having being affected by the genocide. It also alleged exclusion of the majority of affected communities.
The article further alleges that one of the key figures in the negotiations for reparations has been snubbed by the Namibian Government because he did not form part of the Negotiation Team that accompanied the Special Envoy, Dr Ngavirue, to Germany.
The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation as the custodian of Namibia’s foreign policy refutes unequivocally the above misrepresentation and wishes to present the facts of the matter for purposes of providing clarity and correcting the newspaper’s misrepresentations as follows:
The Namibian and German governments have appointed respected individuals of integrity to serve as Special Envoys and spearhead the negotiations on the genocide of 1904 – 1908. Negotiations continue in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. If Germany has reservations regarding historical facts presented by Namibia, such response has not yet been received by the Namibian Government. Therefore, the allegation of the Namibian Negotiation Team being outsmarted is devoid of any material truth.
The purpose of the Special Envoy’s visit to Germany was for the two Envoys to agree on the joint framework of negotiation which should be agreed upon by the two Governments prior to the commencement of formal negotiations. To facilitate the negotiations, government has put in place structures at various levels. The Special Envoy who is part of this structure is the key negotiator and assisted by the Technical Committee of forty-five (45) Members. The Special Envoy travels inside and outside the country and is always accompanied by members of the Technical Committee as the need arises, and not by the entire Committee. Thus, only a few members, especially the Chairpersons of the Sub-Committees accompany the Special Envoy during the round of negotiations. However, other members of the Technical Committee are added from time to time. Hence, during this round, only 12 members accompanied the Special Envoy.
The Ministry wishes to reiterate that the affected communities are represented on the Technical Committee and also formed part of the Negotiating Team that accompanied the Special Envoy during the round of negotiations with the German Government. In addition, an informal Chiefs’ Consultative Forum was convened by the Vice-President Honorable Dr Nickey Iyambo, whereby regular consultations with and updates of the Chiefs and senior members of the affected communities on the genocide negotiations are conducted.
As it is known, some affected communities have refused to join the Government’s negotiation efforts, for they seek to negotiate directly with the German Government. This undermines the legitimacy of Government and it is contrary to the principle of international law where only state actors have jurisdiction to negotiate with other states. As stated on numerous occasions, the door remains open and Government reiterates its calls upon all the affected communities to come on board.
This is a national undertaking and government places high priority on this matter. Therefore, all Namibians are called upon to support the Government so as to finalize the negotiations in the best interest of Namibia, especially the affected communities. The next round of talks between the two nations will be held in November this year.
• Ms Bertha Amakali, Director: Information Research, Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, E-Mail Address: email@example.com