- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

BERLIN (AP) - A top lawmaker in Germany’s governing coalition is pressing for the completion of a “no-spy” agreement with the United States, insisting that failure would be unacceptable.

Germany announced in August that Berlin and Washington would negotiate an agreement not to spy on each other after revelations about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance caused widespread unease - later compounded by allegations that the U.S. monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

Thomas Oppermann, the caucus leader of the Social Democrats - Merkel’s partners in government - said Tuesday that “a failure of the agreement would be unacceptable” and would “change the political character of relations.”

The government says that talks are ongoing.

Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman at the U.S. State Department, said she had not seen reports that German negotiators are unhappy with the way the talks are going.

But, she said, “the goal of these discussions have been to further intensify and strengthen cooperation between U.S. and German intelligence services. The U.S. and Germany already cooperate extensively in the areas of security and intelligence to address global threats that we all face. … It’s a very close relationship, and I have no reason to think that won’t continue.”

AP correspondent Deb Riechmann contributed from Washington.

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