UK & World News
NSA Spying: Germany Demands Talks With US
Germany and France have demanded talks with the US by the end of the year to restore trust between the countries in the wake of the spying row.
Revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone was tapped by America has threatened to derail a multibillion-pound free trade deal between the US and European Union.
Speaking from the EU summit in Brussels, Ms Merkel said they wanted to "create a framework" with America on surveillance.
The row came after it emerged that the US monitored the phones of 35 world leaders, according to a National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Ms Merkel branded the claims "unacceptable" and said it was "really not on" for "friends to spy on each other".
US President Barack Obama promised her - via a phone call - that US intelligence services are "not monitoring and will not monitor" her communications.
However, Washington did not explicitly deny that her phoned had been tapped in the past.
Press secretary Jay Carney said the White House is "not going to get into specific allegations that have been made in public reports".
Mr Snowden's confidential memo shows the NSA obtained 35 unnamed world leaders' phone numbers from one senior official in another government department, who passed on contacts for some 200 people.
According to the report in The Guardian newspaper, the agency encouraged officials in departments such as the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon to share "rolodexes" filled with numbers for foreign politicians and military leaders.
The revelations have heightened tensions between the US and key European allies, whose leaders, speaking at the 28-nation summit meeting, echoed Ms Merkel's words.
German officials have demanded that summit negotiations of a free trade deal between America and the EU be shelved.
France's President Francois Hollande said: "What is at stake is preserving our relations with the United States. They should not be changed because of what has happened. But trust has to be restored and reinforced."
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden called it "completely unacceptable" for a country to eavesdrop on an allied leader.
His Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, said that if reports that Ms Merkel's cellphone was tapped were true, "it is exceptionally serious", while Italian premier Enrico Letta said: "It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable."
Earlier, The Daily Telegraph reported that the US had denied ever spying on Prime Minister David Cameron.
Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said: "We do not monitor PM Cameron's communications."
Asked if the US had ever spied on Mr Cameron in the past, she replied: "No."
The Prime Minister's official spokesman refused to comment, saying: "I'm not going to comment on matters of security or intelligence."
Britain and the US - along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand - are members of the so-called 'Five Eyes' group, who share signals intelligence and are supposed not to spy on each other.