Berlin sees no political motive to Saudi shooting on envoys

15th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

The German government on Wednesday said it had no reason to believe an attack by gunmen on two German diplomats in Saudi Arabia this week was politically motivated.

The two envoys escaped unharmed when their car came under fire Monday in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, where most of the country's Shiite Muslim minority lives.

German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said the area was known for "security risks".

"We have no evidence and no concrete indications that this attack on the two German diplomats had a terrorist motive, a political motive," he told reporters.

"But this is a conclusion that I must put under the caveat that in the course of the investigation, which we of course are pursuing with great intensity, and which we are insisting on from the Saudi side, new evidence could emerge that requires us to change that judgement."

The Saudi official news agency SPA reported that authorities were seeking the gunmen without saying whether the incident was linked to unrest in Eastern Province.

Schaefer declined to comment directly on German media reports that said the two envoys worked for the country's foreign intelligence service BND.

"A diplomat is easy to define: it is someone who is formally accredited in a host country," he said. "So when I say 'diplomat', I mean that."

Reports on Wednesday quoted officials as saying that they believed the attack was likely a kidnapping attempt to extort a ransom rather than a politically motivated assault.

© 2014 AFP

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