Ouagadougou Is Annoyed, Too 'We Were Shocked'
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück has outraged more than just his European neighbors in the past week -- he also angered Africans by comparing Burkina Faso to tax havens like Switzerland and Luxembourg. Now, Burkina Faso's ambassador to Germany, Xavier Niodogo, says he'd like to invite Steinbrück for a visit to Ouagadougou.
SPIEGEL: German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück cited Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in the same breath as Luxembourg and Switzerland. You have criticized the statement. Is there a diplomatic crisis between Germany and Burkina Faso?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Burkina Faso's ambassador to Germany, 55-year-old Xavier Niodogo, in Berlin.
SPIEGEL: What have you done?
Niodogo: My government has sent an official protest note to the German Foreign Ministry, in which we demanded an explanation for the comparison.
SPIEGEL: Has there been a reaction from the German side?
Niodogo: I have had personal talks with senior representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Finance Ministry. I was given assurances that Minister Steinbrück regrets that his statements caused confusion. They said he was misunderstood and that it was not his intention to declare Burkina Faso a tax haven.
SPIEGEL: Do you consider that an apology?
Niodogo: It is certainly important that it is also being publicly stated that the statement could be misunderstood and that Burkina Faso is not a tax haven. In addition, I would also like to invite Mr. Steinbrück to visit Ouagadougou. There, he could see for himself how wonderful our country is.