Berlin: Germany has received information that US intelligence may be spying on the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called US President Barack Obama to protest.
The White House did not deny that US spies eavesdropped on her mobile phone in the past but said Mr Obama had assured Ms Merkel that "the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor" her communications.
Mr Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement on Wednesday that in her talk with Mr Obama, Ms Merkel "made clear that she unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable".
Phone tapping feares: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought an explanation from the White House after being told the US had tapped her phone. Photo: AP
She had demanded "an immediate and comprehensive explanation" from Washington, the statement said.
"Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government," the statement added, indirectly citing Ms Merkel's comments to Mr Obama.
"This would be a serious breach of trust."
Spying fears: Barack Obama and Angela Merkel. Spying claims: US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: AFP
"Such practices must be stopped immediately," the German chancellor told Mr Obama, the statement said.
Earlier this week both France and Mexico protested over similar surveillance practices, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said it will review allegations of US spying in detail from next week. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington over snooping allegations.
News of the eavesdropping suspicion and the stern German protest came first from Spiegel Online, whose parent magazine reported many of the US surveillance claims made by fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who had worked for the National Security Agency.
Spiegel Online said ongoing research by the news weekly had tipped the German government off to the potential surveillance, which authorities including the foreign intelligence service BND had considered "sufficiently plausible" for Berlin to confront Washington with.
Ms Merkel also told Mr Obama that she expected US authorities to reveal the extent of the American surveillance programme and "answer questions that the government posed months ago", Mr Seibert said.
"As a close ally of the United States of America, the federal government expects a clear contractual basis in future on the activities and cooperation of the (intelligence) services."