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Germany

Germany Criticizes Kosovo but Won't Cut Aid

Germany criticized Kosovo on Monday, Dec. 1, for detaining three of its intelligence agents for more than a week, but said it was not planning to cut back aid to the tiny Balkan state.

Graphic of a man wearing fedora in front of a brick wall

Authorities released the Germans due to lack of evidence linking them to the bomb attack

Deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said in Berlin that Germany had an interest in stability in both the region and in Kosovo and was not considering "reducing aid in reprisal."

But he added, "It is common to review aid after a certain period."

The government "strongly" welcomed the "overdue" release on Friday of the men, aged 41 to 47, who work for the BND foreign intelligence service. Steg said the allegations against them had been "groundless."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Thomas de Maziere, called the Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, last Tuesday and threatened to cap aid, particularly for defense, over the affair, the weekly Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday.

Germany is Kosovo's primary financial backer after the United States. It has pledged 100 million euros ($127 million) in aid for 2009 and 2010.

Kosovo said they were arrested Nov. 17 on suspicion of throwing a bomb at a European Union office building. The Germans said they were inspecting damage done by the bomb blast but had no role in the explosion.

Neither the German nor Kosovar authorities have officially confirmed that the men were working for the German foreign intelligence agency.

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