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Netanyahu implored Berlusconi to help patch ties with Washington

NSA said to have listened in on conversation in which Israeli PM implored his counterpart to help patch ties with Washington

Benjamin Netanyahu,   right,   meets with then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi


Classified documents released by WikiLeaks reveal the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on leaders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the party-loving Italian billionaire, Berlusconi.

WikiLeaks said:

stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relationship with US President Barack Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu; relations with Washington that were strained by plans for Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu told Berlusconi that there was no direct contact between him and Obama, deepening the tension, the cable reveals.

According to the cable, Israel reached out to the Italians as well as other European countries to help with “smoothing out the current rift in its relations with the United States.”

The dispute with Obama erupted over an Israeli announcement on March 9, 2010, while Vice President Joe Biden visited the country, that it would build 1, 600 homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood.

Italy’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it had summoned the US ambassador to Rome over reports of widespread US surveillance of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, among several other European leaders.

US ambassador John Phillips was called in “for clarification on the media reports that allege Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi and some of his close associates were subjected to wiretapping in 2011, ” it said in a brief statement.






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