President Barack Obama is to hold high level meetings with the German government in an attempt to assuage concerns about reported US surveillance of their European allies.
The European Union has previously demanded an explanation as to the claims by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the United States' intelligence service spied on the offices of foreign allies in New York.
Responding to the deepening dissatisfaction voiced by French and German officials, a White House statement said yesterday that the President had spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where it was agreed the two governments would meet to discuss the allegations.
"The president assured the chancellor that the United States takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners," the White House said, noting U.S. and EU officials would discuss intelligence and privacy issues as soon as Monday.
Germany’s Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, confirmed the county would send ministerial officials to investigate the claims in Das Spiegel that the US bugged EU offices and embassies.
The concession comes after President Obama promised earlier this week to supply all the information requested by European allies regarding the accusations, which he said Washington was still evaluating.
Speaking after Snowden’s claims were made public, Chancellor Merkel delivered her strongest rebuke of the US to date. "We are no longer in the cold war," her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said.
"If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable."