France backs off US fight after NSA spying claims
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius demanded a full explanation on NSA spying following daily Le Monde’s claims. AP photoFrance warned yesterday the United States to stop snooping on the telephone calls of its citizens but backed away from picking a fight with its ally over the issue.
In a breakfast meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius demanded a full explanation of the latest revelations about a controversial U.S. spying as well asking the Obama administration to stop NSA practices, according to a spokesman for the minister.
Despite the robust tone adopted by the foreign ministry, there were signs that Paris wants to defuse the row created by the latest revelations based on leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Le Monde newspaper reported this week that the U.S. National Security Agency had monitored more than 70 million phone communications in France in the past two years. Speaking in Paris on Oct. 21, Kerry however defended the U.S. position without going into the specifics of the recent claims.
“Protecting the security of our citizens in today’s world is a very complicated, very challenging task... because there are lots of people out there seeking to do harm,” Kerry said.