Friday, 25 October 2013

SHUGHULI PEVU: European leaders call for talks to settle US spy row

Angela Merkel: "Once the seeds of mistrust have been sown it doesn't facilitate our co-operation... it makes it more difficult"
France and Germany want to hold talks with the US by the end of the year to settle a row over spying, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.
It follows claims that her mobile phone and millions of French calls have been monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Mrs Merkel said once seeds of mistrust had been sown, it made co-operation on intelligence more difficult.
The row over alleged spying continues to overshadow an EU summit in Brussels.
Speaking at the end of the first day of the talks on Thursday, Mrs Merkel said France and Germany wanted to "create a framework" with the US on surveillance.
She stressed that she wanted to look for a basis to move forward with Washington, and that she was looking for deeds, not just apologetic words.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy addresses news conference. 25 Oct 2013
Herman Van Rompuy said other EU countries could join France and Germany in talks with the US
"It's become clear that for the future, something must change - and significantly," Mrs Merkel said.
"We will put all efforts into forging a joint understanding by the end of the year for the co-operation of the (intelligence) agencies between Germany and the US, and France and the US, to create a framework for the co-operation."

At a separate news conference, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said EU leaders "took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks with the US".
Other countries would be "free to join this initiative," he said.
Mr Van Rompuy said intelligence-gathering was a vital weapon against terrorism but it would be prejudiced by "a lack of trust".


Other leaders expressed anger at the spying allegations.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said it was "completely unacceptable" to eavesdrop on the leader of an ally, a view echoed by Italian PM Enrico Letta, who added: "We want the truth."
Mrs Merkel has demanded a "complete explanation" of the phone-tapping claims, which emerged in the German media.
But the BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says that, despite the widespread anger about American spying, Mrs Merkel opposed a suggestion to suspend trade talks with the United States - and on that point, the UK will be relieved.
Mrs Merkel had raised her concerns with US President Barack Obama in a call on Wednesday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney later said Mr Obama had assured Mrs Merkel that her phone was not being listened to now and would not be in the future.
However, his statement left open the question of whether calls had been listened to in the past.
French President Francois Hollande has also expressed alarm at reports that French phone calls had been monitored

White House spokesman Jay Carney: "We will work to maintain the strongest possible ties with our closest allies"
Source: BBC

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