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U.S. to Germany: We won't spy on you, promise

Staff writer |
The United States has assured Germany that a pact to ban mutual spying will include a vow not to snoop for German business secrets.

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Washington has been seeking to calm Germany since whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed large-scale global internet surveillance because there were allegations that Germany's embassy and offices of the European union in Washington had been bugged.

Negotiations for the "no-spy" pact were disclosed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's top aide, Ronald Pofalla, but the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has declined to confirm this. The pact would include a promise not to spy on each another's diplomatic missions or to conduct "economically related espionage," said Ms. Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

"A verbal assurance exists from the US side. The negotiations have begun," said Mr. Seibert. He added the talks were being conducted between the heads of the NSA and Germany's BND external intelligence agency.

There were no direct talks between Germany and Britain on such a pact, although Germany was in talks with other European Union nations on a similar set of mutual rules.


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