Germany won't ask Belgium to return land

11th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Officials confirmed that Germany has no plans to ask Belgium to return enclaves in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

11 December 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Germany has no plans to ask Belgium to return Belgian enclaves located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, foreign ministry officials said.

The issue was raised in the Belgian daily Le Jour Verviers, which quoted local officials as voicing fears Belgium might have to hand back the territory because of the dismantling of a railway line along the border with its larger neighbour.

Parts of the railway line, shut down since 2001, cross through Germany.

"Border issues between Germany and Belgium have been resolved conclusively by treaty," a foreign ministry official said.

He said the land in question, an area of around several square kilometres running through the Eifel and Ardennes regions, would remain Belgian territory after the line is dismantled.

When the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 mapped a new German-Belgian border after World War I, it allocated the railway's immediate surroundings, including stations, to the Kingdom of Belgium, thus creating five Belgian enclaves in German territory.

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