Did US eavesdrop on German Chancellor Angela Merkel?
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: With German Chancellor Angela Merkel being the latest foreign leader to have registered her dissent against the reports of US having spied on her cell phone, President Barack Obama sought to dispel her doubts by saying that her calls were not being monitored by America, the White House said.
"The President assured the chancellor the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor," said the White House spokesman Jay Carney.
However Carney`s statement did not make it clear if the US had spied on Merkel`s phone calls in the past.
Reacting strongly to the reports that her calls mifght have been spied upon, Merkel dialled Obama asking for an explanation.
The German Chancellor told Obama that she "unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable", said her spokesperson in a statement.
"She made clear that she views such practices, if proven true, as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally," the statement added.
The furore over the National Security Agency spying on foreign countries and their leaders was reignited after a report in the French newspaper Le Monde claimed that the US had tracked 70.3 million phone calls in France in a time span of just 30 days between 10 December, 2012, and 8 January, 2013.
The report generated strong reaction from France with French President Francois Hollande expressing his "deep disapproval", saying that such practices were "unacceptable between friends and allies because they infringe on the privacy of French citizens".
However US President Barack Obama called up French counterpart Francois Hollande and assured him that the US was reviewing its intelligence gathering practices.
The fury against the US had intensified by a similar report in the German weekly Der Spiegel according to which the NSA also hacked into the email account of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Agitated over the report, Calderon tweeted the new reports of the US tracking his emails were an "affront to the institutions of the country, given that it took place when I was president".
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