In response to a question, Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement today regarding the security of foreign embassies in Berlin:
“I am concerned by the fact that foreign embassies in Berlin have been attacked or occupied 13 times in the past two years. We absolutely must improve our security concept in order to change this state of affairs.
If we want our German embassies around the world to enjoy the requisite level of protection, we must ensure that foreign embassies here are kept safe. Given the fact that there have been 13 serious incidents in only two years, it is obvious that there is a problem. It is up to the authorities to solve it.”
Foreign Minister Westerwelle has written a letter to the Mayor of Berlin, calling on him to take all necessary measures without delay so that attacks on foreign missions can be prevented in the future. The letter was occasioned by the dramatic attack on the Iranian Embassy last Monday.
The protection of diplomatic missions is an obligation incumbent on Germany under international law. In the last two years, foreign missions in Berlin have been stormed and/or occupied 13 times, with damage to property caused in 11 instances. The latest incidents centred on the embassies of Iran (in November), Libya (also November) and Nigeria (in October). In his letter, Foreign Minister Westerwelle stressed the urgent need for action to better protect diplomatic premises in Berlin.