Kerry says US, Germany ‘great friends’

 

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sought to move past recent allegations that the U.S. had recruited two German government officials to spy on Berlin.

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

Appearing alongside his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir, Kerry did not directly address the new spy scandal, saying the U.S. “will continue to work together in the kind of spirit we exhibited today in a very thorough discussion.”

Steinmeir stressed the “necessary and essential” alliance between the two countries as they work on a nuclear deal with Iran and resolving other conflicts around the world.

“We want to work on reviving this relationship, on a foundation of trust and mutual respect,” he said, adding that applied to "all the difficulties that have arisen in our bilateral relations in recent weeks."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week expelled the CIA chief in Berlin.

That action deepened a rift between the two nations that first appeared last year, when documents leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden showed the agency had secretly eavesdropped on Merkel’s cellphone communications.

On Saturday Merkel said she didn’t think the U.S. would stop spying on Germany, even after the latest row.

"I think it's not that easy to convince the Americans ... to completely change the way their intelligence services work,” Merkel said in an interview with ZDF translated by the Associated Press