Merkel 'will not have to worry' about US spying: Obama

AFP, Saturday 18 Jan 2014

US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that he would not let intrusive surveillance undermine his relationship of "friendship and trust" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I don't need and I don't want to harm that relationship by a surveillance mechanism that somehow would impede the kind of communication and trust that we have," Obama told German television ZDF, according to excerpts of an interview to be aired Saturday evening.

"And so what I can say is: as long as I'm president of the United States, the chancellor of Germany will not have to worry about this," he said.

Obama pledged on Friday that his country's National Security Agency (NSA) would not routinely spy on leaders of America's closest allies, following global outrage at revelations of massive electronic eavesdropping.

Germany has been outraged to learn that the NSA was carrying out widespread spying, including listening in on Merkels' mobile phone conversations.

The NSA allegations were especially damaging in Germany due to sensitivity over mass state spying on citizens by the Stasi secret police in the former communist East.

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