Obama invites Merkel to visit during call about trade, NATO

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 8, 2014 3:19pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for the family picture event during the G20 summit in St.Petersburg September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for the family picture event during the G20 summit in St.Petersburg September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Grigory Dukor

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Washington this year, the White House said on Wednesday in a brief statement about a phone conversation between the two leaders.

The visit would give Obama a chance to make amends after revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had been monitoring Merkel's cellphone.

Merkel accepted the president's invitation to come, her spokesman said in a statement.

Obama is set to announce this month his decisions on how to rein in U.S. surveillance.

Obama wished Merkel "a speedy recovery" after she broke her pelvis while cross-country skiing, the White House said, and the two leaders discussed ongoing talks for a U.S.-European Union trade deal and an upcoming NATO summit.

Asked at a briefing whether Obama had reached the German chancellor on a land line or by cell phone, White House spokesman Jay Carney the president's calls to foreign leaders are done by hard line. He did not have further information on whether Obama and Merkel discussed the NSA scandal.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Jeff Mason and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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