Middle East

Germany sends envoy to Khartoum after embassy torching

Riot police talk to a Sudanese man as they stand guard during in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

BERLIN: Germany sent a senior diplomat to Sudan Wednesday to assess how to rebuild its embassy there after a mob set it ablaze last week, and to discuss "conditions" for bilateral ties.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle dispatched his director of Africa affairs, Egon Kochanke, to Khartoum, his ministry said in a statement.

"Security and the reconstruction of the German embassy as well as the conditions for relations between Sudan and Germany will be the main issues on the agenda of his visit," the ministry said.

"We expect a clear affirmation and concrete steps from the Sudanese government about protecting our embassy," Westerwelle was quoted in the statement as saying.

The ministry said Sunday that it decided to scale down staff numbers at its Khartoum embassy after the mission was attacked by thousands of protesters Friday as demonstrations over an anti-Islam film swept the Muslim world.

Extra security staff were sent to help protect the representation and a gradual restoraton of operations will depend on how the situation develops, a ministry spokeswoman said.

Westerwelle has said it was unacceptable "that our embassy was not sufficiently protected despite a prior request" and that he expected Sudan to "fully guarantee the integrity of our embassy and the safety of our fellow countrymen".

On Wednesday he called for calm amid announced plans by a German far-right group to screen the anti-Islam film and the publishing by a French satirical magazine of nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

"I would urge us not to pour oil on the fire," he told ZDF public television.

He added that freedom of speech and of the press were respected in Europe "but not limitless".





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