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Germany wants to speak to Snowden

By Agencies in Moscow and Berlin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-11-02 07:20

Russian PM Medvedev says US phone tapping 'absolutely cynical'

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden would not be able to travel to Germany to be questioned by prosecutors about US spying but can speak to them in Russia, a report said on Friday.

Some German lawmakers had called on Snowden to travel to Berlin to give evidence on US spying that extended to eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

But a source quoted by the Interfax news agency said that such a trip would be impossible for Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia in August.

 Germany wants to speak to Snowden

German Green lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele poses for a picture with fugitive former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in Moscow on Saturday. Photo by Reuters

"It is practically ruled out for Edward Snowden to travel outside Russia. In this case he would lose his refugee status and could be handed over to Washington by US allies," the news agency quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying.

Germany's top security official said on Friday he will try and find a way for Snowden to speak to German officials if the former National Security Agency contractor is willing to provide details about the NSA's activities including the alleged surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

The comments by Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich came after a German opposition lawmaker traveled to Moscow and met Snowden.

German public television ARD reported on Thursday that the former NSA contractor had met Green party lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele in a secret location with two journalists.

Stroebele, a well-known maverick in German politics, tweeted a photograph of himself and Snowden. ARD showed images of the two shaking hands in a room before their three-hour meeting.

"He proved that he knows many things. He is willing in principle to help shed light" on the spying, Stroebele told the station, adding Snowden declared his willingness to testify in Germany or in Russia.

Angry leaders

The United States faces a tough task undoing the damage inflicted by allegations it has spied on leaders of allied countries, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"It's not very pleasant when you are spied on ... so the leaders are angry. I understand them," Medvedev said on Thursday.

Medvedev suggested such spying was not unusual, but he added that "it is assumed that it is not done in such an absolutely cynical way".

"What can you say in this situation? 'Sorry, we won't do it anymore' or 'We will not try to listen in on you'? Nobody will believe it," he said.


(China Daily 11/02/2013 page8)

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