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Berlin and Windhoek Talk Reparations

Germany said on Monday it is close to an agreement with Namibia for the mass murder of tens of thousands of indigenous people when it was the colonial ruler over a century ago. Germany opened talks with the Namibian government in 2015 on a “future-oriented reappraisal of German colonial rule.” It has signaled its readiness to make compensation payments. “We are in the home stretch on this issue,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse told reporters in Berlin. Sasse said another round of talks was held in Berlin last week and negotiations have been “very constructive” recently, but said she couldn’t give further details because both sides have agreed to maintain confidentiality until the process is complete. In 2004, then-Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul traveled to Namibia and offered Germany’s first apology for the killings, which she said was “what today would be labeled as genocide.” Germany’s Foreign Ministry has described the killings as genocide in recent years. Sasse said representatives of the Herero and Nama have been involved in the negotiations, though Germany’s direct dealings have been with the Namibian government.