Tags: nsa | spying | germany | minister

German Foreign Minister: US Delegation Must Visit to Restore Trust

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 07:38 PM

By Greg Richter

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Washington should send a delegation to Berlin and other European capitals to help rebuild trust following revelations that the United States has spied on up to 35 foreign leaders,  German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says.

"This is a very delicate and sensitive issue for my country. We went through a very difficult history," Westerwelle told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" on Thursday. Westerwelle specifically mentioned East Germany's Stasi, a secret police and intelligence agency that functioned much like Russia's KGB.

"We are not naive. We know that we all have to fight against terrorism, but you cannot fight against terrorism by tapping the chancellor's cellphone," Westerwelle told CNN.

But he said the issue is being discussed throughout the German public, not just among political leaders, and the United States must take action to restore trust.

Westerwelle said Germany is not considering expelling American diplomats in retaliation, because there is still a deep friendship between the two countries. He said Germany has not spied on the United States.

The White House has said President Barack Obama was not initially aware American spy agencies were listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone and that he ordered the actions stopped as soon as he learned of it.

"I trust President Obama," Westerwelle said. "But I cannot tell you what your intelligence agencies are doing."

Reports surfaced this week that the United States has also spied on the Vatican, another ally, though the United States denied it.

Westerwelle said he has no knowledge that America is spying on the Vatican, but added that he cannot exclude the possibility.

"Probably everything is possible," he said.






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