Friday, July 11, 2014

US-German Relations: German FM Steinmeier to Meet with Secretary Kerry to "Mend Fences"

According to The Associated Press, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday he will tell US Secretary of State John Kerry at a meeting this weekend that Berlin wants to reinvigorate the two countries' friendship "on an honest basis" after asking Washington's top spy to leave.

Thursday's decision to demand the departure of the intelligence representative at the US Embassy in Berlin was "the right decision, a necessary step and an appropriate reaction to the breach of trust that has taken place," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Berlin.

Reports over the past ten days that US intelligence had recruited two Germans — a man who worked at the country's foreign intelligence agency [BND] and a defense ministry employee. Steinmeier said those reports were "troubling." 

COMMENT: FM Steinmeier said he will meet Secretary Kerry on the sidelines of talks in Vienna about Iran's nuclear program.

There is "no alternative" to Germany's longstanding partnership with the United States in view of challenges in Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Steinmeier stressed. "That is why this cooperation must be marked not just by trust but by mutual respect."

"We want to reinvigorate our partnership, our friendship on an honest basis, the Foreign Minister emphasized. "And that will be the message I will give to my American colleague."

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany expects the unidentified American spy to leave the country "promptly."