Lunedì, 15 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italy demands responses to U.S. spy reports

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Rome, July 1 - Italy demanded answers from the
United States Monday after allegations surfaced in the media
that the US spied on the diplomatic offices of the European
Union and several countries, including Italy.
"We have to call things what they are: if we're allies, it
is unacceptable that someone behaves that way," said Defense
Minister Mario Mauro, stressing that the reports must be
confirmed.
Speaking at a forum hosted by Italian daily La Repubblica,
the defence minister suggested the affair could force the EU to
take a bold position.
"Perhaps for the first time we'll see if such a thing as
European foreign policy exists," he said.
"Europe tends to grow up when its back is to the wall".
The European Commission handed European Union foreign chief
Catherine Ashton a mandate earlier Monday to raise the issue of
United States eavesdropping of EU data with US authorities in
Washington and Brussels.
The EC said it expected the US to clear up the affair,
saying it anticipated the US would be "as transparent as the EU
expects from its allies".
The suspicions of US spying on EU missions and the
embassies of European countries were based on a report published
Sunday by German weekly Der Spiegel.
It claimed that the US National Security Agency (NSA)
bugged diplomats from allies such as the EU offices in Brussels,
New York and Washington, as well as embassies of countries such
as Italy, Greece and France.
The report was partly based on revelations of American
government secret surveillance leaked by Edward Snowden, a
former NSA contractor reportedly seeking asylum in Russia after
the US revoked his passport.
The leaks, which had already generated friction between the
US and Russia, now risk derailing talks over creating a
transatlantic free-trade agreement between Europe and the US
planned for 2015.
"There can be no negotiations...until we have obtained
guarantees" that the US is not spying on the EU, said French
President Francois Hollande.
Negotiations are to take place next week in Washington.
"It's a thorny issue that needs to be met by satisfactory
responses," Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said.
Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino voiced confidence the
US would provide all the necessary details on the case.
US President Barack Obama responded to the wave of remarks
from European leaders by vowing to hand over all the information
America's allies were requesting.
The tone in Italy's dailies was skeptical.
"The Cold War is back, without the atom bomb but with the
Web," said Il Giornale.
"It's evident that the explanation given by Washington,
that its information gathering is tied to anti-terrorism
activities and the need to keep its aggressive enemies at bay,
is only partly true," said Il Corriere della Sera.

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