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February 24, 2016

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WikiLeaks bares new US spying on Merkel

US intelligence spied on talks German Chancellor Angela Merkel held with the United Nations chief and key European leaders, a German newspaper reported yesterday citing classified documents released by WikiLeaks.

The United States National Security Agency, which drew fire for tapping Merkel’s mobile phone, also gathered information on a 2008 conversation about climate change she held with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily said.

In the exchange ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit, Merkel said the world expected the EU to take a leading role on the issue, while Ban praised Merkel’s personal engagement on tackling climate change, the report said.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in an online statement that “today we showed that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s private meetings over how to save the planet from climate change were bugged by a country intent on protecting its largest oil companies”.

German-US relations were badly strained after fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed widespread US foreign surveillance, including tapping Merkel’s mobile phone.

WikiLeaks also released new papers on a 2011 meeting Merkel held with then French president Nicolas Sarkozy and then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Merkel and Sarkozy pressured Berlusconi to cut public debt and strengthen Italy’s banking sector, reported the Sueddeutsche.

The meeting was tense and unfriendly, according to a Berlusconi advisor, who the daily said may have been the target through whom the NSA obtained the information.


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