The French government on Wednesday summoned the US ambassador to France to explain allegations of what President Francois Hollande branded “unacceptable” spying by the United States on its officials.
Hollande held an emergency meeting of ministers and army commanders after WikiLeaks revelations that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the last three French presidents.
“France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests,” a statement from the president’s office said, adding it was not the first time that allegations of US spying on French interests had surfaced.
“Commitments were made by the US authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected,” the statement said.
The US Embassy has so far declined to comment. A statement from the US National Security Council said it was not targeting and will not target Hollande’s communications, but the statement did not say whether spying had taken place in the past.
While Paris and Washington have good ties in general, UN Security Council veto-holder France fiercely maintains its independence on foreign policy and over the last two years there have been moments of friction and irritation on both sides.
Hollande was disappointed by President Barack Obama’s last-minute decision not to strike Syrian government positions in 2013. US officials have frequently, in private, lambasted France’s tough stance in talks over Iran’s nuclear programme.