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Chaotic conditions, repeatedly: Afghan Consulate in Bonn seeks new location

Chaotic conditions, repeatedly : Afghan Consulate in Bonn seeks new location

The city council and the Federal Foreign Office are holding talks with the Consul General of Afghanistan – about a move from Bonn-Ückesdorf to another location. Again and again chaotic conditions keep arising in front of the consulate.

The Afghan consulate is "open-minded" about moving from Liebfrauenweg in Ückesdorf to another location. This is the result of an answer from the city administration to a big request of the Bürger Bund Bonn (BBB). According to the answer, the Afghan Consul General Sayed Niamatullah Sayer had explained this to Mayor Ashok Sridharan in a personal meeting on January 16th.

Chaotic conditions regularly arise in front of the consulate when several hundred Afghans want to deal with their passport matters there at the same time. People come to Ückesdorf mainly from North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Lower Saxony. The residents complain about wildly parked vehicles, garbage, disorder and also about threatening situations. The Bonn police are regularly on site, as are employees of the municipal public order office.

The consulate could move within Bonn or to a neighbouring town or municipality as long as there is a suitable location. "At least an outsourcing of the passport and visa matters, which account for about 80 percent of the current visitor volume in Ückesdorf, to another location is being considered," the statement of the administration says. The consulate is currently looking for suitable properties on the real estate market. The consulate also receives support in this regard from the administration. However, the search on the tense Bonn real estate market is not easy.

"Search profile forwarded to Bonn real estate agents"

The administration is now checking internally whether "alternative own or external venues“ can be offered or suggested to the Afghan Consulate General". At present, however, no space is available in the database of the Economic Development Agency's real estate service. "The search profile was also forwarded to the Bonn real estate agents, so that the Economic Development Agency can be contacted immediately in the event of new offers," the administration continues.

Municipal properties are also not available, and the Federal Institute for Real Estate Affairs (BImA) is also unable to provide suitable sites at present. The BImA can only offer areas of less than 150 square metres or areas of more than 5000 square metres. The administration has also asked Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW (BLB), but has not yet received any feedback.

Prior to the talks with the Lord Mayor in January, representatives of the Foreign Office had already met with Abdul Jabar Ariyaee, Chief Executive of the Afghan Embassy, in mid-November. The Foreign Office had explained to him all the problems concerning the consulate, according to a Foreign Office conversation attached to the administration's statement. The Foreign Office had suggested the introduction of a "strict appointment system" as an interim solution. In addition, visitors to the consulate should use public transportation, as the residential area in which the consulate is located could not accommodate visitors' vehicles.

City of Bonn spoke with affected residents

Ariyaee confirmed to the Federal Foreign Office that the Afghan foreign representations are "facing great challenges" due to the high number of refugees. Meanwhile, he said, 250,000 Afghan nationals were living in Germany.

In mid-December, he said, the city of Bonn had held talks with the affected residents. Thus, the Liebfrauenweg will soon be a "fake" one-way street. Entry from Hubertusstrasse will be prohibited, and blocked streets in the areas where it joins Liebfrauenweg will be marked. In addition, on the street side of the consulate, the area of the absolute stopping ban is to be extended to Hubertusstraße and parking areas are to be marked on the opposite side of the street.

Original text: Maximilian Mühlens. Translation: Mareike Graepel