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© Photo: AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-10-23

President Barack Obama on Wednesday sought to assure German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the United States is not monitoring her communications but did not deny reports that US intelligence might have listened to her calls in the past.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel the United States is not monitoring her communications, but the White House did not deny reports US spies eavesdropped on her mobile phone in the past.

"The president assured the chancellor the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday.

Carney was then asked whether US spy agencies had picked up Merkel's communications inadvertently, but he merely repeated wording similar to his earlier answer.

The tenses used by Carney did not rule out reports that the United States eavesdropped on Merkel's mobile phone calls in the past, as reported by "Der Spiegel" magazine on Wednesday.

France, US to work on 'bilateral cooperation' between intelligence agencies

The United States and France have agreed to work on new "bilateral cooperation" between the two countries' intelligence agencies, French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said on Wednesday.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

The latest embarrassing revelations of activity by the US National Security Agency (NSA) threatened the trust and close cooperation between Obama and Merkel.

The US president considers the newly reelected German leader one of his closest allies and friends on the world stage and has frequently spoken of his respect for her.

Earlier, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the chancellor called Obama to say she "unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable".

Berlin had demanded "an immediate and comprehensive explanation" from Washington.

"Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government," the statement said. "This would be a serious breach of trust."

The statement said Merkel told Obama, "Such practices must be prevented immediately."

The reports, based on information provided by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, made Merkel the latest foreign leader to face claims their communications had been intercepted by the secretive NSA.



Date created : 2013-10-23


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