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German government disavows spy agency’s Saudi Arabia report

December 4, 2015

BERLIN (AP) — The German government has distanced itself from a report by the country’s spy agency that suggested Saudi Arabia’s ambitious young defense minister could endanger the Gulf kingdom’s ties with regional allies.

The BND spy agency published a short report Wednesday that said Saudi Arabia’s previously cautious diplomatic stance was being replaced by “a new impulsive policy of intervention” under King Salman and his son Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the defense minister.

The unusually blunt assessment and its publication have embarrassed Germany, which has long-standing political and economic ties with Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters Friday that it was the BND’s role to brief the government, not the public, and that “the views articulated (in the report) don’t reflect the position of the German government.”