Germany has called on the United States to come clean and stop all spying activities against it, following the expulsion of the US spy chief in Berlin on Thursday. The latest developments here.
Justice Minister Heiko Mass told the Passauer Neue Presse on Friday that the US should now “wipe the slate clean” over spying in Germany, adding the United States needed a “clear stop signal”.
Germany ordered the US spy station chief to leave the country on Thursday after months of frustration at the lack of cooperation by the US to clear up the NSA spying scandal, and the uncovering of two alleged US spies working in German intelligence and the Ministry of Defence.
“The Americans must now actively help clear up the allegations,” Maas said. “This includes a clear statement on any other cases of espionage which we may not know about yet. Above all, we need a firm assurance from Washington that these activities have finished once and for all.”
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday he would discuss the transatlantic spy row with US Secretary of State John Kerry when both attend Iran nuclear talks in Vienna this weekend.
A day after Berlin expelled the CIA station chief, he said US-German ties must be built “on trust but also on mutual respect” and should be “reinvigorated on a basis of honesty. This will be the message I will deliver to my American colleague John Kerry when we met at the weekend in Vienna.”
Bild newspaper reported on Friday the spy chief now had 72 hours to leave Germany.
It said the US Ambassador in Berlin, John Emerson, was phoned at 11.30am on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry and told either the station chief left the country voluntarily or the secret service head would be officially expelled.
According to Bild newspaper, Merkel’s office envisages far-reaching consequences over the alleged espionage cases.
The tabloid reported on Friday that German intelligence was limiting cooperation with their US partners to the “bare essentials”, such as work concerning the safety of German soldiers in Afghanistan and terrorist threats.
News site Spiegel Online called the expulsion a “diplomatic earthquake”. It pointed out that such measures were usually reserved for “pariah states” such as North Korea.
There are few precedents for such dramatic measures between Nato members. Among the latest was France’s decision in 1995 to send home several US officials for spying on its territory.
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, known as a champion of close US ties, said it was right Berlin had “sent a very clear signal that it will no longer tolerate this kind of breach of trust and that we need a fresh start with each other”… see more