Germany Summons US Envoy over Spying Row

Germany Summons US Envoy over Spying Row

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Germany summoned the US ambassador to Berlin over claims that the US carried out surveillance on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will meet US envoy John B Emerson later today.

The move comes just hours after the White House insisted the US was not listening in on her phone calls.

Mr Obama and Ms Merkel spoke by phone on Wednesday after the German government said it had received information that the Chancellor's mobile may be monitored by US intelligence.

Ms Merkel told Mr Obama that if true, it would be unacceptable and a "serious breach of trust", according to her spokesman.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the Chancellor."

However, he did not specifically say the US had never monitored or obtained Ms Merkel's communications, Sky News reported.

Mr Carney said the US was examining Germany's concerns as part of a review of how the government gathers intelligence.

Since material from National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden has been published, the Obama administration has come under fire from allies in Europe and Latin America, with citizens and officials expressing outrage at the scope of Washington's spying.

Ms Merkel had already raised concerns over the electronic eavesdropping issue when Mr Obama visited Germany in June. But Wednesday's comments, which came after allegations published in German magazine Der Spiegel, were more sharply worded.

She told the US president that among close partners such as Berlin and Washington "there must not be such surveillance of a head of government's communication", according to her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

For the chancellor, who grew up under the all-seeing ears of East Germany's Stasi secret police, any allegations of spying are sensitive ones.

But she is not the only one to raise concern.

France summoned the US ambassador in Paris after French newspaper Le Monde reported the NSA had swept up 70.3 million French telephone records in a 30-day period.

French President Francois Hollande spoke to Mr Obama on Monday and put the issue of personal data protection on the agenda of the European Union summit, which opens today.

In Italy, Premier Enrico Letta raised the topic of spying during talks with Secretary of State John Kerry, after newspapers reported that a parliamentary committee was told the US had intercepted phone calls, emails and text messages of Italians.

Few countries have responded as angrily as Brazil, with President Dilma Rousseff cancelling a visit to Washington, a rare diplomatic step.

In Mexico the response has been more cautious, after allegations that the NSA allegedly spied on the emails President Enrique Pena Nieto and his predecessor Felipe Calderon - in addition to collecting data on Mexico's drug-fighting efforts.

The Mexican government has called the targeting of the presidents "unacceptable" and Mr Pena Nieto has demanded an investigation.



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