Minister of State Niels Annen’s six day trip took him to Cuba, Nicaragua and Colombia. In addition to trade and peace efforts, the primary focus was on human rights and the obstacles facing their enforcement.
In the Cuban capital of Havana, the Minister of State conducted political talks and delivered a speech to young diplomats entitled “priorities of German foreign policy and global challenges – between conflicts and multilateralism” and held discussions with them.
He also attended the opening of the German Office to Promote Trade and Investment in Cuba. “Cuba needs foreign investments, and German business needs support in a complex market such as Cuba. The German Office to Promote Trade and Investment is therefore opening right on cue,” said Annen.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Teresita González Fraga said that she welcomed the opportunities for trade and investment stemming from the opening of the German Office. The Humboldt anniversary year 2019 represented a major opportunity to showcase the excellent relations between Germany and Cuba, she added. The two sides offered different assessments of the complex situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua. However, they agreed that multilateralism needed to be strengthened in the difficult current international situation.
Talks on the crisis in Nicaragua
On the morning of 31 October, Minister of State Annen travelled to Nicaragua, where he held talks with all sides in what continues to be a tense situation. In addition to meetings with President Daniel Ortega, Vice President Rosario Murillo and Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, he held consultations with the Catholic Church and members of the opposition.
“The fundamental willingness shown by all sides to consider steps towards achieving understanding was most welcome. Germany will continue to monitor developments in Nicaragua closely and to offer its proactive support if so desired,” said the Minister of State at the end of his visit.
Annen, who was born in Hamburg, also visited the city of León, which has enjoyed an active city twinning partnership with the Hanseatic City since 1989. His talks with the Mayor also touched on German development cooperation in the city. At the Estación Hamburgo fire station, Annen was able to see for himself that the German fire engines donated to Nicaragua were continuing to perform their valuable service.
“Germany – a reliable partner on the road to peace in Colombia”
Minister of State Annen travelled from Managua to Bogotá on Friday, 2 November. In the Colombian capital, he met his counterpart Luz Stella Jara Portilla and held discussions at the German Colombian Peace Institute CAPAZ with President of the Truth Commission Father Francisco de Roux and other panellists about the challenges of post conflict peacebuilding. Truth and justice are the objectives of a challenging process of coming to terms with the past that Colombia is facing after decades of armed conflict. Further forms of German support are also under discussion in consultation with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the United Nations Mission in Colombia. For many years, Germany has offered Colombia its active support on its difficult path to a peaceful future.