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Snowden 'Willing To Help' German Inquiry

  • RFE/RL

German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele (right) poses for a picture with fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden

German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele (right) poses for a picture with fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden

Germany's interior minister says German authorities are prepared to meet with Edward Snowden to discuss allegations of U.S. surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Hans-Peter Friedrich's comments on November 1 came after a German opposition lawmaker, Hans-Christian Stroebele, met with Snowden in Moscow the previous day.

Stroebele said the former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor told him he was prepared to testify to German prosecutors or a German parliamentary inquiry in either Germany or Russia.

Friedrich told reporters that German authorities would be interested in the information Snowden could provide.

"I don't know what [Hans-Christian Stroebele] has discussed with him, but if the message is that Mr. Snowden wants to give us information and tell us something, then we will gladly take that on, because any clarification and all the information we can get is valuable," he said.

Allegations that the NSA monitored Merkel's phone calls have sparked outrage in Germany.

Merkel has complained to U.S. President Barack Obama, and two senior German officials held talks on the issue in Washington this week.

The German parliament is expected to discuss the alleged NSA activities next week.

Snowden faces espionage charges in the United States for revealing information about U.S. surveillance programs worldwide.

His Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says Snowden cannot leave Russia as he would lose the temporary asylum status he was granted in the country.

Germany's government, along with many others, rejected an asylum request from Snowden earlier this year.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said on November 1 that, if Snowden now wanted asylum in Germany, he would have to come to the country and then apply for it.

But he noted that Germany has an extradition treaty with the United States.


With reporting by AP and dpa
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