Germany's foreign minister said his government's decision to ask the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave was inevitable given recent allegations of spying, but he said he wants to renew the friendship between the two countries based on an "honest foundation."
Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Berlin on Friday that the decision to expel the U.S. intelligence official "is the right decision, a necessary step and a fitting reaction to the break of trust which has occurred."
"Taking action was unavoidable, in my opinion. We need and expect a relationship based on trust," the foreign minister said, according to Reuters.
"We want our partnership, our friendship, to be renewed on an honest foundation," Steinmeier added. "We are ready for that in any case."
As we reported Thursday, the request for the U.S. station chief's departure involved two cases of espionage allegedly involving the U.S. and amid the fallout from the surveillance of Germans by the National Security Agency:
"The expulsion and the suspected cases of espionage come at a delicate time for U.S-German relations. Ties between the allies have been strained since revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the agency spied on Germans, including Chancellor Angela Merkel."
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle says that "both Steinmeier and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to attend the latest round of talks on Iran's nuclear program in Vienna this weekend. The German foreign minister said he would express his concerns to his U.S. counterpart when they meet in the Austrian capital."