UN vows to be in touch with U.S. over spying report
The United Nations said Monday that it would be in touch with the United States over reports that the world body was spied on by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
"The United Nations was aware of the reports and would be in touch with the relevant authorities," said Farhan Haq, the associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a regular news briefing.
The NSA bugged the video conferencing system at the UN headquarters in New York and cracked its encryption in the summer of 2012, German weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday, citing secret documents disclosed by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
"The inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organizations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well-established international law. Therefore, member states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions," Haq said.
The 1961 Vienna Convention defines a framework for diplomatic issues and status among nations and international organizations. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
According to the documents analyzed by the German weekly, the NSA also ran a monitoring program covering more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide.
Snowden's Revelations about the PRISM spying program and other surveillance programs that obtain personal information by hacking phone calls and emails have embarrassed Washington and triggered outrage around the world.
United Nations (Xinhua)