Obama Wants to Improve Intelligence Cooperation With Germany After Spy Scandal
WASHINGTON, July 16 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel said he wants to improve cooperation in the intelligence field amid the recent spy scandal, according to the statement issued by the White House Wednesday.
"The President and the Chancellor also exchanged views on U.S.-German intelligence cooperation, and the President said he'd remain in close communication [with Merkel] on ways to improve cooperation going forward," the statement reads.
It was the first conversation between Obama and Merkel since beginning of July, when the spy scandal between the two countries broke out. Initially German-American relations worsened following the revelations of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked the documents proving that the US intelligence tapped Merkel's phone.
On July 2, a 31-year-old employee of the German intelligence service, the BND, was arrested and confessed to having leaked information about the government's special committee investigation into American intelligence activities in Germany to the NSA. On July 9, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported about the second spy suspect, who allegedly worked in the German defense ministry.
Amid the scandal Berlin has limited the cooperation of the BND and the Defense Ministry with its US counterparts and asked Washington's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief to leave the country. The White House said the US authorities value cooperation with Germany on safety issues and hope to soon resolve the spying issue.
According to the White House, despite the contradictions on the intelligence issue Obama and Merkel had a productive discussion on the situation in Ukraine and Iran's nuclear program.
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