US must work to repair relations after spying claims: French PM

PARIS (AFP) - The United States must "do everything in its power" to repair relations after reports emerged that it spied on French President Francois Hollande and two of his predecessors, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Wednesday.

"The US should recognise not only the danger that such actions represent for our freedom, but should also do everything in its power - and quickly - to repair the damage they have done to relations... between the United States and France," Mr Valls told Parliament.

He said governments could not be naive about the idea that other countries would pursue their national interests but said there had to be "reciprocal respect for sovereignty".

Documents released by Wikileaks on Tuesday indicate that the US spied on three French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hollande from 2006 to 2012. "These practices ... constitute a very serious violation of the spirit of trust," Mr Valls said, adding that a new "code of conduct" should be established on questions of intelligence.

He denied widespread comments in the press that France was just as guilty of spying on allies whenever possible.

"No, contrary to certain media speculations, France does not carry out surveillance and targeting of the communications of political leaders of its European partners," he said.

French President Francois Hollande will speak with his US counterpart Barack Obama "in the coming hours" to discuss reports that the US spied on him and two predecessors, parliamentarians said on Wednesday.

"Talks with the president of the United States are planned in the coming hours," said former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, part of a group of parliamentarians who met with Mr Hollande to discuss the latest revelations from Wikileaks.

Mr Hollande told the delegation that "France does not allow this practice of targeting foreign leaders", said another member of the group.

France has summoned the US ambassador to discuss the claims of US spying, which Hollande's office called "unacceptable".

The documents - labelled "Top Secret" and appearing to reveal spying on Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hollande from 2006 to 2012 - were published by WikiLeaks in partnership with French newspaper Liberation and the Mediapart website.

The White House did not comment on past activity, but said it was not targeting Mr Hollande's communications and would not do so in the future.

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