Rome

Free-trade talks must proceed despite spying, says Bonino

Foreign minister says clarity essential to maintain trust

Free-trade talks must proceed despite spying, says Bonino

Rome, July 2 - Free-trade talks between the United States and the European Union should continue regardless of tensions caused by a scandal over alleged spying, Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said on Tuesday. Bonino asked for parties to proceed "calmly," saying that clarity on the part of the US is "essential to maintain mutual trust," but that the importance of the free-trade agreement has to be considered. Allegations surfaced in the media over the weekend that the US spied on the diplomatic offices of the European Union and several countries, including Italy, raising hackles. "We have to call things what they are: if we're allies, it is unacceptable that someone behaves that way," said Defense Minister Mario Mauro, stressing that the reports must be confirmed. French President Francois Hollande also said that "there can be no negotiations...until we have obtained guarantees" that the US is not spying on the EU. Bonino voiced confidence the US would provide all the necessary details on the case.

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