13 July 2014, 10:09

US should stop treating Germany with suspicion - German DM

US should stop treating Germany with suspicion - German DM

Edward Snowden’s case has revealed Washington's true attitude towards Berlin, namely that despite the fact that the two countries are allies, the United States treats Germany with suspicion, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said, the RIA Novosti news agency reports.

To prevent distrust and supicion from eroding the US-German relations, von der Leyen called on Washington to stop spying on Germany.

At the same time, she said that Germany had no plans to curtail security cooperation with the United States as both countries depended on each other.

Merkel laments breakdown in trust between US and Germany amid spy row

Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented on Saturday the breakdown in trust between Germany and the United States amid a spying row that saw the CIA chief in Berlin expelled from the country. "The thing we always have to keep in mind when we are working together is if the person across the table is possibly working for someone else at the same time, that for me isn't a trusting relationship," she told German ZDF television in a pre-recorded interview.

"Here we obviously have different points of view and we need to talk to one another," Merkel said, adding that she had "naturally hoped for a change" in Washington's behavior. The shock move to kick out the US intelligence chief on Thursday followed the emergence of two alleged spying cases within days of each other, re-igniting German fury already on a low boil from another spying scandal last year in which it was revealed that Washington was monitoring Merkel's phone.

In the latest case, German police on Wednesday searched the Berlin-area home and office of a man who, local media reported, is a German defense ministry employee accused of passing secrets to the United States. A week earlier, a 31-year-old German BND foreign intelligence service operative had been arrested on suspicion of having sold over 200 documents to the CIA.

In recent days, Washington has hinted at its displeasure with Germany's decision to respond in a highly public manner by expelling the CIA's Berlin chief - an unusual display of fury by Germany towards its ally. On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who previously declined to go into detail about the row because it touched on intelligence matters, offered an insight into US thinking. "Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail," Earnest said. "Any differences that we have are most effectively resolved through established private channels, not through the media."

The scandal has also seen the chancellor come under political pressure at home, with many Germany politicians urging a strong response.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted to the scandal by saying he wanted a revived partnership with Washington, based on "trust and mutual respect". He pledged to begin rebuilding confidence at a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna over the weekend. Steinmeier has been one of a number of German politicians who has spoken frankly and openly about the espionage drama, in a way that appears to have irritated Washington.

The two nations cooperate broadly on foreign policy and on intelligence matters, including on the vital work of trying to detect and disrupt terror plots. Germany has in the past sought a "no spying" pact with Washington similar to US agreements with Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, but the US government balked at a deal that could set a precedent for others.

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