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article imageObama invites Merkel to U.S. after NSA spying row

By Abdul Kuddus     Jan 9, 2014 in World
New York - In a telephone call Wednesday, US President Barack Obama invited German chancellor Angela Merkel to Washington, reportedly to mend ties between the two historic allies following the straining of relationships on the NSA spying row.
Last year, Edward Snowden’s disclosure over U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Merkel triggered a furious reaction and strained relations between Berlin and Washington.
Reportedly the U.S. president offered the invitation to the Merkel when he called to wish a speedy recovery from a recent skiing injury. According to Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, she has accepted the invitation.
Snowden's leaks revealed that the U.S. government spied on several European leaders in addition to Merkel.
“Merkel has previously said the relationship between Germany and the U.S. was put on test by allegations of massive spying by NSA, including on foreign leaders,” the Washington Post reported.
Furious over the NSA fiasco, Merkel even called President Obama over the charges, and opined that the US must change its surveillance policies. During the conversation, Merkel sought personal assurances from Obama that she was not being monitored.
The United States denied listening to Merkel’s phone calls now, but hasn’t ruled out that this happened in the past. According to the Guardian, Washington never denied the allegations about Mrs Merkel's phone being tapped by NSA.
The damage-control measure by the U.S. is reportedly prompted by the negotiations for a proposed free-trade deal between the U.S. and EU, and a NATO summit that will be held on September in UK.
Besides creating widespread concern in Europe and several other countries, the NSA activities also triggered criticisms in the U.S.
While there haven’t been any visible changes in the NSA functioning, U.S. citizens reportedly want Obama to respect the increasing public sentiment against NSA’s unbridled powers over data collection.
“Obama is reportedly considering changes to the rules on surveillance of foreign leaders as part of a package of NSA reforms,” the USA Today reported.
Meanwhile domestic support for the former NSA contractor, who is enjoying temporary asylum in Russia, is on the rise. Reportedly the Pardon Edward Snowden petition has received an overwhelming number of signatures from people.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is primarily campaigning for Snowden’s clemency.
Recently, the increasing support has also “softened the stance of high-rank officials in the NSA and even President Obama seems to be taking a cautious step over the Snowden issue,” according to reports.
More about Angela merkel, Obama calls Merkel, NSA spying, Pardon Edward Snowden
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