No comment on threats to U.S. ambassador

  • 2001-11-29
  • BNS
RIGA - Latvian officials are wary about commenting on news published in the media Nov. 26 that threats to the life of the former U.S. ambassador to Latvia were made by three Pakistanis last year.

The U.S. Embassy in Riga refused to comment at all, "for security reasons."

Latvian Interior Minister Mareks Seglins said he was informed of the threats made to Ambassador James Holmes. The culprits, he said, were swiftly taken into custody. Seglins suggested that further information be obtained from the security police.

But the head of the Latvian Security Police, Janis Reiniks, refused to elaborate on information he previously gave claiming only that the threats had come from Pakistani residents in Latvia.

Latvia's Prime Minister Andris Berzins said he had known of the threats, but refused to give any further information.

Some Latvian newspapers reported on Nov. 26, quoting Reiniks, that an assassination attempt had been planned against the ambassador, and that the security police managed to stop this happening.

Information about the plan was received from abroad, resulting in the three suspects being arrested and immediately expelled from Latvia. No weapons or explosives were found.

The U.S. ambassador was then guarded by the security police for a while until he himself asked this to end.

"In certain cases this year we were protecting the prime minister, the prosecutor general, and the Israeli and United States ambassadors. For the latter we averted a realistic terrorist threat from an Arab state," Reiniks said in the interview to the Latvian rural newspaper Lauku Avize while reporting on work performed by the security police lately.

However, the deputy head of the immigration police told Baltic News Service he had no information on any Pakistanis having been expelled from Latvia in relation to such threats.

Latvian security structures announced heightened security at the Israeli and U.S. embassies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.