US Reassures France after NSA Spying

US Reassures France after NSA Spying
Thu Jun 25, 2015 15:49:40

US President Barack Obama reaffirmed in a phone call with his French counterpart Francois Hollande Washington's commitment to end spying practices deemed "unacceptable" by its allies, Al-Alam News Network reports.

The US presidents' Wednesday conversation, announced by Hollande's office, came after transparency lobby group WikiLeaks revealed on Tuesday that US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the last three French presidents.

The latest revelations of espionage among Western allies came after it emerged that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on Germany and that Germany's own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe.

"President Obama reiterated unequivocally his firm commitment ... to end the practices that may have happened in the past and that are considered unacceptable among allies," the French president's office said.

Hollande had earlier held an emergency meeting of his ministers and army commanders and the US ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry, Reuters reported.

"France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests," an earlier statement from the president's office said, adding it was not the first time allegations of US spying on French interests had surfaced.

A senior French intelligence official will travel to the United States to discuss the matter and strengthen cooperation between the two countries, Hollande's office said.

"We have to verify that this spying has finished," Stephane Le Foll, government spokesman, told reporters, adding that ministers had been told to be careful when speaking on their mobile phones.

While Paris and Washington have good ties in general, UN Security Council veto-holder France fiercely maintains its independence on foreign policy and over the last two years there have been moments of friction and irritation on both sides.

Hollande was disappointed by Obama's last-minute decision not to strike Syrian government positions in 2013. US officials have frequently, in private, criticized France's tough stance in talks over Iran's nuclear energy program.

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