Germany backpedals on claim Qatar funds extremists

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Associated Press

Posted on August 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 22 at 8:01 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is seeking to calm a diplomatic spat with Qatar after the Gulf nation took umbrage at a German official's claim that it is funding the extremist Islamic State group.

Germany's development minister said in a television interview Wednesday that it was important to examine who is financing the group. Gerd Mueller told public broadcaster ZDF that "the key word is Qatar."

His spokeswoman, Katharina Maenz, told reporters Friday that Mueller had merely been referring to media reports about Qatar's involvement.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schafer said German diplomats in Doha had met with Qatari officials to reassure them that Berlin considers the oil-rich Arab country a partner and that "if there were misunderstandings then we regret this."

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has invested billions in major German companies.

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