Barack Obama agrees to talks with Germany to explain spying on allies

05.07.2013 15:32

Barack Obama has conceded to
high-level talks between US and
German security officials after
Angela Merkel demanded a detailed
explanation about revelations of
widespread American spying on
European allies.
The US president agreed to the talks
during a telephone call with the
German chancellor on Wednesday,
in an attempt to allay the concerns
of her government.
Germany was furious at the
revelations in Der Spiegel of US
surveillance on European officials.
In an interview earlier this week,
Merkel said it was "not on". The
European Union described the
disclosures as shocking.
A White House statement said
Obama and Merkel had spoken by
phone and agreed to the meetings.
The two leaders held face-to-face
talks in Berlin two weeks ago.
"The president assured the
chancellor that the United States
takes seriously the concerns of our
European allies and partners," the
White House said, noting US and EU
officials would discuss intelligence
and privacy issues as early as 8
The reports came to light after the
former US spy agency contractor
Edward Snowden leaked details of
surveillance activities by
Washington. He is in limbo in a
transit area of Moscow's airport as
the US pressures Russia to extradite
Earlier this week, Merkel expressed
anger at the US spying. "If these
reports are confirmed in the course
of our investigations, we will be
looking at an extremely serious
incident," she said, in an interview
with the Guardian and five other
European newspapers .
"Using bugs to listen in on friends
in our embassies and EU
representations is not on. The cold
war is over. There is no doubt
whatsoever that the fight against
terrorism is essential, and it needs
to harness intelligence about what
happens online, but nor is there
any doubt that things have to be
kept proportionate. That is what
guides Germany in talks with our
On Monday, at a news conference
in Tanzania, Obama promised to
supply all the information
requested by European allies about
the spying allegations, which he
said Washington was still
"Every intelligence service, not just
ours, but every European
intelligence service, every Asian
intelligence service, wherever
there's an intelligence service,
here's one thing they're going to be
doing: they're going to be trying to
understand the world better and
what's going on in world capitals
around the world from sources that
aren't available through the New
York Times or NBC News," Obama