EU Leaders Call for Talk with US after Spying Allegations
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - France and Germany pushed Friday for Washington to agree rules for the spy game after revelations the United States spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many other world leaders and monitored millions of French calls.
The row over alleged spying continues to overshadow an EU summit in Brussels.
France and Germany want to hold talks with the US by the end of the year to settle a row over spying, which follows claims that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone and millions of French calls have been monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Merkel said once seeds of mistrust had been sown, it made co-operation on intelligence more difficult.
Leaders "took note of the intention of France and Germany to seek bilateral talks with the US", EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy told a press conference after a first day of summit talks wrapped up.
Van Rompuy said other countries could join Berlin and Paris should they wish in seeking this trust-based "understanding" with the United States "before the end of the year" in the field of intelligence gathering.
Merkel had arrived at the two-day talks saying: "Spying between friends, that's just not done" after reports the US National Security Agency had eavesdropped her calls.
"We need trust between partners and such trust needs to be re-established," she said.
Speaking at the end of the first day of the talks on Thursday, 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.
"It's become clear that for the future, something must change - and significantly," Merkel said.
The summit was meant to discuss boosting employment and the digital economy but was quickly overtaken by the growing scandal which has embroiled US President Barack Obama in embarrassing exchanges with key allies -- from France and Germany to Brazil and Mexico.
More could follow after a fresh slew of damaging revelations, with Britain's Guardian saying Washington had listened in on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders.
The revelations were sourced to US whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is alleged that the NSA and UK spy centre GCHQ eavesdropped on three undersea cables with terminals in Italy.
Hollande and Merkel called Obama earlier this week demanding clarification of claims the NSA had spied on millions of French phone calls and on the German leader personally.
The French president said there had to be a code of conduct put in place, recalling that the EU had set up a special unit to review the issue after leaks by fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden earlier this year.
These experts have to "accelerate their work with our American allies", Hollande said, because "this is a subject which is not going away".
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to say whether Washington was at fault.
"We are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity," Carney said, noting too that all nations spy on each other.
The European Parliament has already asked for a key EU-US bank data-sharing deal aimed at fighting terrorism to be suspended.