Kerry and Merkel praise partnership ahead of Munich Conference

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Kerry and Merkel praise partnership ahead of Munich Conference

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Germany and the United States have hailed their working relationship ahead of the Munich security conference.

Ties have been strained recently between Berlin and Washington over the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance, but the US Secretary of State John Kerry said the matter would not hinder their progress.

“The United States really values this relationship. Those, aren’t just words. This is a very important relationship. As the Chancellor said, occasionally there is an issue here and there, there are bumps on the road, but we have a combined vision and understanding of the set of values that bring us together and have for decades now.”

It is Kerry’s first meeting with the German Chancellor since leaked documents last year revealed Washington had been spying on some of its European allies. But the matter is not expected to overshadow talks on Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and other key issues at the Munich Conference.

Our correspondent, James Franey said: “With the United States preparing sanctions against Ukraine, all eyes turn now to Europe and whether the EU is prepared to match its words with deeds. The question for European leaders is how long can they let the current crisis under President Yanukovych go on, before they take measures of their own?”