US President, German Chancellor Discuss Spying, Ukraine, Iran

Washington, July 16 (QNA) – US President Barack Obama telephoned Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, personally discussing the latest allegations of US spying in Berlin for the first time, the White House said.

The two leaders had not spoken since allegations became public in early July that a German intelligence agent and a Defense Ministry worker had passed documents to US spies, the (dpa) reported.

Last week German authorities announced that the CIA station chief at the US embassy in Berlin was being expelled.

During Tuesday’s call, the two leaders “exchanged views on US-German intelligence cooperation, and the president said he’d remain in close communication on ways to improve cooperation going forward,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama and Merkel were in agreement “that Russia must take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine amid the ongoing violence there.”
They insisted that Moscow support a ceasefire, a roadmap for talks under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
mediated contact group and the establishment of an OSCE border monitoring mechanism.

Russia has yet to end the flow of heavy weapons, equipment, and fighters to separatists in Ukraine, Obama and Merkel agreed.

They vowed to “remain closely coordinated on measures to impose costs on Russia, as necessary, as well as to continue to support Ukraine’s long-term stability and prosperity.”
The leaders also discussed ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, in which the United States and Germany are both parties, noting that “important gaps still remain.” They called it “imperative” for Tehran to take steps assuring the international community that its nuclear programme will be “exclusively peaceful.” (QNA)

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