Amid new spy scandal, Kerry calls U.S. and Germany 'great friends'

VIENNA Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:33am EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier shake hands as they conclude remarks to the media, after talks between the foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program, in Vienna July 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Jim Bourg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier shake hands as they conclude remarks to the media, after talks between the foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program, in Vienna July 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg

VIENNA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, standing alongside Germany's foreign minister, on Sunday stressed the strategic importance of relations between the two countries, which have been battered by new allegations of U.S. spying on Berlin.

"Let me emphasize the relationship between the United States and Germany is a strategic one," Kerry said in Vienna on the sidelines of nuclear talks with Iran. "We have enormous political cooperation and we are great friends."

Kerry, appearing alongside Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier, did not address the latest spy scandal, though his remarks appeared aimed at the subject.

"We will continue to work together in the kind of spirit we exhibited today in a very thorough discussion," Kerry said, adding that he wished Germany well in its World Cup soccer final against Argentina on Sunday.

Steinmeier also spoke of the importance of U.S.-German cooperation in working to resolve the conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and the Iran nuclear standoff.

"Ties between the United States and Germany are necessary and essential for both of us," Steinmeier said. "We want to work on reviving this relationship, on a foundation of trust and mutual respect."

He said this applied to "all the difficulties that have arisen in our bilateral relations in recent weeks."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that new allegations of U.S. spying showed Berlin and Washington were completely at odds over how they viewed the role of intelligence, and she hoped German action would persuade the United States not to spy on partners.

Her comments to German broadcaster ZDF came just days after her government told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country, in a dramatic display of anger after German officials unearthed two suspected spies.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Fredrik Dahl, writing by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (12)
harrykrishna wrote:
sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

Jul 13, 2014 11:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mountainrose wrote:
I believe you. friends don’t let friends get busted spying on their cell phones

Jul 13, 2014 11:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jrpardinas wrote:
If the Germans think they’re in the same category as Israel and, perhaps, England when it comes to influence and standing at Neocon Central (i.e.g Washington), they’re seriously deluded.

Jul 13, 2014 11:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.