Newscast Media WASHINGTON—European lawmakers in Washington on Monday blasted the
United States in the wake of reports of massive US surveillance activities against its
allies, including alleged eavesdropping by US intelligence on German Chancellor Angela
Merkel. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media BERLIN—German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called President Obama over the German government’s suspicions the US could have tapped her mobile phone. Barack Obama assured Merkel that his country is not monitoring her communications.
Earlier, the German government spokesman said that Berlin had information the US National Security Agency (NSA) could have been spying on Merkel.
“We swiftly sent a request to our American partners asking for an immediate and comprehensive clarification,” Steffen Seibert said in a statement, Reuters cites.
Berlin demanded that American authorities shed light on the scale of its spying on Germany if it took place and thus finally answer the questions that the Federal government asked “several months ago,” Seibert said.
Merkel called Barack Obama over the issue and demanded an explanation. She had made clear to Obama that if the information proved trued it would be “completely unacceptable” and represent a “grave breach of trust,” Seibert said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama assured the German leader “the United States is not monitoring the communications of the chancellor.”
Earlier this year, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the American spy organization intercepted large amounts of data exchanged between German citizens without any legal authorization. The scandalous revelations outraged Germans and sparked widespread demonstrations in the country which is wary of surveillance, largely due to its Stasi past.
While German opposition politicians, the media and activists have been vocal in their anger over the American eavesdropping, Merkel remained restrained in her comments on the matter.
In June, during Obama’s visit to Berlin, Merkel said she was surprised by the scope of the American data collection efforts, but admitted that Germany was “dependent” on cooperation with US agencies. She said that it was thanks to “tips from American sources” that an Islamic terror plot in Germany was foiled in 2007. She added though that it was important to continue the debate about reaching “an equitable balance” between providing security and protecting personal freedoms.
Interior Ministry spokesman Jens Teschke said Wednesday the German government was still in talks with America about the spying issue.
“[But] we have recognized that many of the allegations made by Mr. Snowden can’t be substantiated, and on other issues that there was no mass surveillance of innocent citizens,” he said, as quoted by AP agency.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media — At a meeting in the German city of Freiburg, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed their commitment to the single European currency and to the fiscal solvency of the eurozone.
“There is a spirit that is uniting us all,” the German chancellor told reporters during a break in the talks. “If the euro fails, the European Union fails, too.”
Meanwhile, President Sarkozy vowed that Germany and France “will defend the euro, because the euro is Europe.”
Sarkozy also backed Germany’s opposition to creating unified European sovereign bonds. The idea of harmonizing some eurozone debt, as suggested by several members of the currency union, has met with strong opposition from Germany and France, whose balance sheets are relatively healthy.
“French and German citizens would not be happy if we were to bundle the debts together,” the French president said. He argued that the concept might be worth considering in the future, but only after the bloc’s members ramp up their economic and political cooperation.
“We should not put the cart before the horse,” Sarkozy told reporters.
Friday’s meeting was in preparation for the EU summit in Brussels on December 16 and 17.