Obama called Merkel to wish her a quick recovery after her recent skiing wound and invited her to visit Washington at a “mutually agreeable time in the coming months,” the White House said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The US president also congratulated Merkel on the “formation of her new cabinet.”
“The leaders noted the full agenda for 2014, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations and NATO Summit, and looked forward to working closely together to advance our shared interests,” the statement added.
Merkel’s office confirmed that she would accept Obama’s invitation. However, it did not give a date for the visit.
Global outrage over the US government surveillance spiked after a confidential memo obtained from former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency had illegally eavesdropped on the phone conversations of dozens of world leaders, including Merkel.
The German weekly Der Spiegel said in a report published on October 26, 2013, that the magazine had seen secret documents from the NSA, which show that Merkel’s cellphone had been listed by the agency’s Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002.
The report added that the German chancellor’s mobile number was still on a surveillance list in June 2013.
Merkel told Obama in October 2013 that the claims of NSA spying would be a “breach of trust” between two countries.
On January 3, the government of Merkel agreed to a public inquiry into the NSA spying.
Last year, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.