President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. / Odd Andersen, AFP/Getty Images
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Friday at the White House to discuss their common dispute with Russia, and their own dispute over U.S. intelligence gathering.
While Russian military activity in Ukraine tops the agenda, the German leader is also expected to discuss reports that the National Security Agency intercepted phone calls involving her and other German officials.
This is Merkel's first visit to the White House since news broke about NSA intelligence gathering in Germany and other nations. The U.S. is in the process of revamping its intelligence policies.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Ukraine will be the focus of the meeting, and that the U.S.-Germany alliance is "indispensable" to meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
"One of those challenges now, when it comes to Europe, is the assault on the sovereignty and territorial integrity that Russia has been waging against Ukraine," Carney said.
The United States and the European Union placed further sanctions on Russia earlier this week. Obama and Merkel are expected to discuss the prospect of further penalties if Russia does not de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.
Obama and Merkel are also scheduled to discuss the global economy, trade and NATO cooperation.
NSA surveillance is "an issue that obviously has been a point of discussion between the two leaders and between our two governments, and may be brought up again in the conversation between the two leaders," Carney said.
The spokesman added: "I'm confident that it's not related to our shared approach to dealing with the situation in Ukraine."
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