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Germany cancels surveillance pact with US

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The July 8, 2013 photo shows the former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling, near Munich.

Germany says it has canceled its surveillance agreement with the US and Britain following the revelations by the former contractor to National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden about Washington’s mass spying program worldwide.

The agreement dated back to 1960s and allowed Washington and London to carry out spying operations in German territory to protect their troops there.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, in a statement, described the cancelation as “a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy.”

Just weeks ahead of the country’s national elections, the German government has been under pressure from the public and the opposition parties over its cooperation with White House’s controversial surveillance program which also targeted German citizens.

Meanwhile, a statement from the British Foreign Office said the German measure is not significant because the agreement has not been used since 1990.

“It’s a loose end from a previous era which is right to tie up,” said the statement.

A German official also told the AP that the move was symbolic. The official, who declined to be named, added that ending the agreement would not affect the intelligence cooperation between Berlin and its allies.

The revelations by Snowden sparked strong and angry reactions among Germans. Many civil rights activists drew a parallel between the NSA spying program and the activities of the secret police during the communist East Germany and the Nazi era.


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