WASHINGTON: The United States Monday refused to comment on reports that a German man was arrested for working with American spy agencies, but offered to work with Germany to resolve a new espionage row.
“We are going to work with the Germans to resolve this situation appropriately,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, saying Washington was aware of the report but could not comment on intelligence matters.
Earnest also tried to head off further damage to US-German relations and the personal ties between President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which were strained by earlier claims the US National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropped on her mobile phone.
“The relationship that the US has with Germany is incredibly important. This is a very close partnership that we have,” Earnest said.
“That partnership is built on respect. It is based on decades of cooperation and shared values.” The US ambassador to Germany was called to a meeting late on Friday at the German foreign ministry, after media reports that a 31-year-old man arrested last week had been feeding information to a US spy agency for two years.
Merkel said earlier in Beijing that “if the reports are correct, it would be a serious case.”
She added that “it would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners.”
Earnest said that Merkel and Obama did not discuss the revelations during a phone call on Thursday in which they discussed the situation in Ukraine.
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