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German FM Steinmeier worried extremist attack could damage country's reputation

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed his concerns about the country's reputation abroad, a week after suspected right-wing extremists set fire to an asylum seekers' home in the town of Tröglitz.

"The events in Tröglitz are a disgrace," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) told the newspaper "Welt am Sonntag". He said the country's international partners would be "watching with concern" to see how Germany reacts to the suspected right-wing extremist attack on an asylum seekers' home in the town of Tröglitz in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The suspects set fire to a building that was supposed to house 40 refugees starting in May. Investigations into what police have confirmed was an arson attack are ongoing.

The small town in east Germany also made headlines before the attack, when residents organized protests against the planned home for asylum seekers.

However, Steinmeier underlined that the vast majority of Germans were opposed to xenophobia. He called on the public to fulfill its responsibility towards refugees.

According to the report published by "Welt am Sonntag," the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution pointed out that right-wing extremists in Germany were increasingly using concerns related to refugees for their anti-immigration campaigns.

In 2014, one third of all the right-wing public protests were directed against asylum seekers or planned homes for refugees, the newspaper stated, quoting sources from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

das/jr (dpa, AFP)

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