US President Barack Obama has assured his French counterpart Francois Hollande that Washington was not tapping his communications, the White House says.
The American and French presidents spoke by phone on Wednesday, following a WikiLeaks report claiming that the US had been spying on three French leaders from 2006 until 2012. That report prompted an emergency meeting with key heads of intelligence and ministers in Paris, and the summoning of US ambassador for explanations.
After the emergency meeting, Hollande released a statement saying that the spying is “unacceptable” and “France will not tolerate it.” He then called Obama to talk the matter over.
In the phone call, Obama “reiterated that we have abided by the commitment we made to our French counterparts in late 2013 that we are not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president,”the White House said in a statement.
Nothing was said about the period beween 2006 and 2012, wwhich was mentioned by Wikileaks, though.
The statement released by Hollande’s office after the conversation, said in turn that “President Obama reiterated unequivocally his firm commitment … to end the practices that may have happened in the past and that are considered unacceptable among allies.”
Despite the surveillance scandal, the statement then said that French intelligence officials will soon go to Washington to “strengthen cooperation.”
The initial allegations of US spying were published by the French daily Liberation and on the website of French investigative journal Mediapart. They said the NSA had been wiretapping the communications of Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.