BERLIN, Nov 5 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday stressed the importance of the German-US alliance, saying that an ongoing debate on whether to grant Edward Snowden asylum must not hamper bilateral ties.
“The chancellor believes she has an obligation to protect the data and privacy of German citizens from illegal monitoring and she is working to reestablish trust with the United States and put in place clear rules for future cooperation,” Xinhua quoted Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert as saying.
The comments come as increasingly louder voices from German opposition call for granting asylum to Snowden so that the former US spy agency contractor could travel to Germany to testify.
Opposition politicians including Left party chairman Bernd Riexinger and former leading candidate for the Green Party, Juergen Trittin, have demanded that the government grant Snowden asylum in return for his testimony on US spying that included alleged monitoring of Merkel’s mobile phone.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also said last week that the government was willing to talk with Snowden on the US spying if he was willing to shed light on the spying scandal.
American allies in Europe have been in an uproar over media reports that US intelligence agencies have monitored tens of millions of phone calls on the continent.
Snowden provided classified documents with evidence of the alleged spying scandal. He has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after exposing massive surveillance by the US intelligence service. IANS