The disclosure of the decade-long phone-tapping remains a sensitive issue in Germany. The comments came as Merkel visits Washington to meet with President Barack Obama, an event officials said would never occur until a “restoration of trust” was instituted between the two countries.
An attempt at a “no spy” agreement, demanded by Germany, failed, largely because no other U.S. ally has such an agreement, and the United States shares virtually all its intelligence with other members of what is known as the Five Eyes -- Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Germany terminated negotiations with the United States for enhanced intelligence sharing, since a no-spy agreement, politically essential for Merkel, was not included, American officials say.
Failure to reach an accord on intelligence comes at a time in which Merkel and Obama seek to demonstrate they agree on dealing with Russia’s actions in Ukraine, as well as containing Russia in the future.
Before she left Berlin for Washington, Merkel telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the release of a German-led team of seven military observers, held for over a week by pro-Russian separatists in the Ukrainian city of Solvyansk. Some in the West regard Putin’s inaction, regarding their release, as a sign he is unable or unwilling to intercede.