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Wikileaks shock waves continue to reverberate

The Local · 30 Nov 2010, 08:52

Published: 30 Nov 2010 08:52 GMT+01:00

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Rainer Stinner, the foreign affairs spokesman for the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), whose leader Guido Westerwelle came in for a particular shellacking in the documents, feared there would be mistrust between German politicians and foreign embassies.

“The work of foreign policy will of course be impeded in the future,” he told daily Hamburger Abendblatt.

He said he personally would have to think how often he spoke about developments and personal assessments from now on, he said. He was critical of embassy cables that made judgements about individual politicians.

“Assessments of German politicians have no relevance politically,” he said.

He added that it was stupid if German politicians were criticising their own colleagues to the Americans. According to the Wikileaks documents, Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had told the US Ambassador Philip Murphy that it was Westerwelle, and not the opposition Social Democrats, who was the main obstacle to Germany’s increasing its troop numbers in Afghanistan, which is an ardent wish of the US.

“But if it’s true that leading politicians have been backbiting about one another at the US Embassy, it is not particularly clever,” Stinner said.

According to daily Bild, the FDP is on a hunt to find the party member who leaked details of the coalition negotiations last year to the Ambassador Murphy. It was at the top of the agenda at a party leadership meeting on Monday the paper reported, with about half a dozen party members under suspicion.

FDP deputy leader Rainer Brüderle even raised the possibility of forcing suspects to sign affidavits, the paper reported. However other party leaders considered such an approach counterproductive and it was knocked back.

The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Bundestag, Ruprecht Polenz of the Christian Democratic Union, described the publications of the Wikileaks cables as “utterly explosive.”

“This is seriously damaging,” he told daily Passauer Neue Presse.

Not for nothing had the White House tried to prevent the leaks’ publication. Now it was up to American diplomats to pick up the pieces.

Story continues below…

“One can cope with the fact that some American embassy worker gives grades to German ministers and move on. But the question remains: How will American diplomats in future guarantee confidentiality in future conversations? Of course we know about such assessments and judgements. But it is something else to read about it in print afterwards. You have to be able to count on the fact that the contents of confidential conversations don’t end up in the public.

But Polenz rejected the idea that the leaks would cause any deep diplomatic problems.

“I could only imagine that happening if it came out of the reports that, for example, cabinet colleagues were speaking badly about one another and had been denigrating one another to the American side.”

DAPD/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:51 November 30, 2010 by hanskarl
I seriously doubt that the appraisals of other foreign governments and entities toward American diplomats are less less or more disparaging. These are facts of any business or government as they try to vet and uncover each others weaknesses. No one should be surprised at these revelations.

What is interesting is the revelations (finally) of China's involvement in arming Iran and Saudi Arabia's appeals for the US to attack Iran. there are far more deeper issues than being offended by this tripe. Any one involved in the higher levels of a company or government better be thick skinned enough to handle this type of situation. Besides, what has been reveled isn't really anything new when it comes to Guido. Frau Merkel is a different story. I would not say timid but rather guarded and careful when it comes to decision making.
14:19 November 30, 2010 by frankiep
Only according to the US government is the leader of another country to be ridiculed for "being careful" and unwilling to take risks. The behavior of the US government, from around 2002 right up until today, makes it increasingly more embarrassing every month to call myself an American.
14:57 November 30, 2010 by christmascorner
One must be naive to think all the countries do not do this.

Do the Germans talk about the U.S.? Do the French talk about the Germans? This deals with the social aspects as well. Merry Christmas one and all.
16:02 November 30, 2010 by hanskarl
"One must be naive to think all the countries do not do this."

stimmt, genau!!!
16:04 November 30, 2010 by raandy
What interest would the average person have in reading all this dirty laundry.I am not so sure this a positive thing.What I am sure of is if the US Justice Dept can find where Julian Assange violated the US Espionage laws he going to need a real good lawyer.
18:00 November 30, 2010 by Landmine
They should shut down that moron Julian Assange. Every country does things like this, this is why they are labeled SECRET. Leaks like these only makes things worse so that a moron like Assange can get some fame out of it. I'm sure the US will find some way to put this punk behind bars and spare everyone the embarrassment and danger he is putting people and countries in.
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