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Angela Merkel Hits Back In US Phone Tap Row
Angela Merkel warned the US that eavesdropping on allies was unacceptable, saying: "Spying on friends, that's just not done."
The German chancellor made her comments on Thursday at the European Union summit in Brussels where the growing US spy scandal had hijacked the agenda.
Ms Merkel told Barack Obama on Wednesday night during a heated telephone conversation that if suggestions the US had bugged her phone were true, it would be unacceptable and a "serious breach of trust".
Despite initial assurances that the US was not and would not listen to Ms Merkel's phone, the White House on Thursday refused to be drawn over allegations, leaving widespread speculation over whether the US had tapped her phone in the past.
Press secretary Jay Carney said the White House "not going to get into specific allegations that have been made in public reports".
Speaking at the EU summit, Ms Merkel said: "We need trust among allies and partners. Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about.
"The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies but such an alliance can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be."
Other leaders arriving for the 28-nation meeting echoed Ms Merkel's words.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said it was "completely unacceptable" for a country to eavesdrop on an allied leader.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said if the allegations that Ms Merkel's cellphone was tapped were true "it is exceptionally serious" .
Italian Premier Enrico Letta said: "It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable."
Earlier Germany summoned the US ambassador in Berlin, John B Emerson, over the claims. He met with foreign minister Guido Westerwelle.
For the chancellor, who grew up under the all-seeing ears of East Germany's Stasi secret police, any allegations of spying are sensitive ones.
She is so attached to her mobile phone that she bought 10,000 specially encrypted handsets for her and her staff.
Since material from National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden was published by The Guardian newspaper, the Obama administration has come under fire from allies in Europe and Latin America, with citizens and officials expressing outrage at the scope of Washington's spying.
The newspaper's latest revelations are that the NSA was monitoring the telephone calls of 35 of the world's leaders, though it does not name those involved.
France has also summoned the US ambassador in Paris after French newspaper Le Monde reported the NSA had swept up 70.3 million French telephone records in a 30-day period.
French President Francois Hollande spoke to Mr Obama on Monday and it was he who put the issue of personal data protection on the agenda of the European Union summit.
Few countries have responded as angrily as Brazil, with President Dilma Rousseff cancelling a visit to Washington, a rare diplomatic step.
On Thursday night she said that the alleged tapping of Ms Merkel's phone was a "violation of sovereignty and human and civil rights".
In Mexico the response has been more cautious, after allegations that the NSA allegedly spied on the emails President Enrique Pena Nieto and his predecessor Felipe Calderon - in addition to collecting data on Mexico's drug-fighting efforts.
The Mexican government has called the targeting of the presidents "unacceptable" and Mr Pena Nieto has demanded an investigation.