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German foreign minister hopeful on US surveillance

Sunday - 2/23/2014, 5:40am  ET

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's foreign minister says he hopes Washington has understood that surveillance of political partners "can have a political price" and is confident it will end monitoring of allied countries' leaderships.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was quoted as saying in an interview with the weekly Der Spiegel published Sunday that the task of overcoming differences over U.S. surveillance activities "should not be underestimated."

But he added his voice to growing skepticism over a hoped-for "no-spy" accord with the U.S., saying: "I doubt that a 'no-spy' agreement will get us much further."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government sought such an accord following revelations about surveillance by the National Security Agency, including allegations Merkel's cellphone was monitored. This month, President Barack Obama said there's no country with which Washington has a no-spy agreement.

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