Speech of the Ambassador Neithart Höfer-Wissing at the reception on the occasion of the Day of German UnityBild vergrößern
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
my colleagues at the German Embassy and I thank you very much for joining us to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the unification of Germany.
On October 3, 1990, two states in the heart of Europe were peacefully united, with the consent of all neighbors in Europe and the whole international community. The peaceful order in Europe as well as in the world was then taken for granted. The world was embarking on a journey towards a wonderful and prosperous future with freedom from want for ever more people. That’s what one believed. There was even talk about „the end of history“. However, the evils of the past returned very quickly and started to haunt us. I had to witness this in the former Yugoslavia. Worldwide, national and to an increasing degree religious antagonisms are mutually reinforcing each other and find growing support. Irrationality and populism get hold of ever more countries, increasing tendencies of social disintegration. We have seen this in many places of the world, on all continents.
There are even people claiming that the European Union was a continuation of the Napoleonic and later on the National Socialist policy of aggression – instead of grasping that the European Union is precisely the response to these heinous aggressions and therefore the hitherto biggest and most successful peace movement, having been rewarded the Noble Peace Price not by chance.
We should have no illusions: the developments we have been facing since 2014 might be more dangerous than the Cold War. At that time, the responsible protagonists of the rivalling ideologies were smart enough to know when they had to go for a compromise in order not to inflict damage upon themselves. Populist politicians that use nationalist slogans in order to strengthen their grip to power cannot so easily descend from the tiger they have chosen to ride, and at some point in time they cannot retreat. And if it comes to the worst, there is no guarantee that even the worst weapons of mass destruction will not be used.
Unfortunately, two weeks ago our general elections have proven that some of my compatriots want to take part in this unholy game, too. Obviously, the distance between politicians and average citizens is becoming too big. We can only hope that on September 24 everybody got the message: We should not be intimidated but should, for instance, follow the words of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, who said a few days ago in his speech at the Sorbonne that he did not know red lines but only horizons
A development towards more closer cooperation as demanded by Macron for Europe, can also be noted in Central Asia with considerable progress in good neighborly cooperation since last year. We Germans do hope that these positive developments will become sustainable. The Federal Republic of Germany stands ready to support the countries in Central Asia and their Governments in their efforts. Let us be guided by the great writer Saadi:
„All human beings are member of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When time afflicts a limb with pain
The other limbs at rest cannot remain.”
Every future Federal Government will stick to the present German Central Asia policy and continue it, including the EU Central Asian Strategy commenced under German presidency in 2007.
This year, the Republic of Tajikistan could celebrate the 26th anniversary of its independence, and it could also commemorate the 20th anniversary of finishing the Civil War. Germany, having established diplomatic relations with Tajikistan a quarter century ago has ever since supported this country, e.g. with more than half a billion Euro in development assistance. The Federal Republic is also among the biggest donors as to the multilateral sector.
Our bilateral projects, for instance, include the completion of approx.. 80 schools in Khatlon province and in the Rasht Valley, enabled by the German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW) together with the very experienced and professional National Social Investment Fund of Tajikistan (NSIFT). Again in Khatlon, KfW supports in the health sector the rehabilitation of hospitals.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) puts a special emphasis on the development of private economy training of qualified personnel in the medical sector and professional training. Education and training are probably the most important means in order to cope with extremism. This is why I am very glad about the German Academic Exchange Service awarding more than 100 grants to Tajik students and scientists every year. We are also happy about the interest in learning German, e.g. in five partnership schools. We do hope and are ready to intensify the cooperation in the field of education, including with the help of the Deutscher Volkshochschulverband International (dvv). Further organizations engaged in development cooperation with Tajikistan include i.a. Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action), Caritas or the Sparkassenstiftung.
If everything goes according to plan and we are not encountering bureaucratic problems we should soon be able to celebrate the opening of a project in the regional cooperation with Afghanistan, dealing with energy supply for the rural population in Gorny Badakshan. Germany is doing this within the framework of the PATRIP Foundation together with other international donors such as Norway, Luxemburg and the Aga Khan Development Network. Our partner in this is project is our excellent and very reliable local partner Pamir Energy.
The cooperation between Germany and Tajikistan is very good but there is always room for improvement. The energy that I have sensed in the meetings and conversations I’ve had during my first 2 weeks in this country give me the firm conviction that we, together, can achieve really much. It was a wonderful event two days ago to attend the founding session of the Refinancing Fund that represents a milestone in our financial cooperation with Tajikistan. Thus I consider it to be a very good sign that tonight we have with us three colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign affairs of the RT who have just returned from Berlin where they attended a training course for diplomats from Central Asia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As new Ambassador of Germany I have been received very warmly not only by my colleagues in the Embassy who have also organized tonight’s reception but also by many Tajik and international colleagues. I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
please join me in raising a glass on the Federal Republic of Germany and on the good German-Tajik relations!