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Germany Asks Britain to Respond to Spy Report

FILE - An aerial view over the British embassy (c), Hotel Adlon (lower l), the Academy of Arts and the U.S. Embassy (top), between the Holocaust memorial (top L) and the public square Pariser Platz, with the Brandenburg Gate (top r) toward the Tiergarten
Germany's Foreign Ministry says it has asked Britain to respond to media reports that Britain's embassy in the German capital has been acting as a covert spying location.

A foreign ministry statement says German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has invited the British ambassador in for an explanation of reports published in British media.

In the statement, the foreign ministry said such a spy station operated from diplomatic premises would be against international law.

A spokesman for Britain's foreign office confirmed the meeting, but did not release details on what was discussed.

The Foreign Ministry's invitation is a less serious diplomatic move than summoning the ambassador.

The report, published Tuesday in Britain's Independent newspaper, said Britain's electronic eavesdropping center used high-tech equipment on the embassy roof in Berlin to intercept German data.

The report was based on documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Last month, Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador over allegations the NSA had eavesdropped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

German and U.S. officials met in Washington last week to discuss details of the surveillance activities.