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President Barack Obama told Germany's leader in a call Tuesday he would strive to improve the two countries' intelligence cooperation in the wake of fresh allegations of espionage. According to a statement from the White House, Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "exchanged views on U.S.-German intelligence cooperation, and the President said he'd remain in close communication on ways to improve cooperation." The rest of the call dealt with the crisis in Ukraine and nuclear talks with Iran.

The conversation occurred as the United States' relationship with Germany endured further strain, following last week's removal of the CIA station chief in Berlin. The move followed allegations that the United States had recruited two Germans to spy for Washington. Last year, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. had listened in on Merkel's cellphone calls.

On Ukraine, Obama and Merkel reiterated their agreement that Moscow must take steps to de-escalate the situation in the eastern part of the country, where Ukrainian troops continue to battle pro-Russian separatists.


— Becky Bratu with The Associated Press