A meeting took place on Tuesday (October 22) at the French foreign ministry between French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

France summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday (October 21) after Le Monde newspaper reported the huge scale of alleged American spying on French citizens, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius calling the revelations unacceptable.

Le Monde said the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) recorded 70.3 million items of French telephone data between Dec. 10, 2012 and Jan. 8, 2013 and had collected tens of thousands of French phone records.

Its targets appeared to be individuals suspected of links to terrorism, but also people tied to French business or politics, the paper said.

The issue triggered a phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande. The two men "discussed recent disclosures in the press - some of which have distorted our activities and some of which raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed," the White House said in a statement.

Obama noted that the United States was reviewing how it gathers intelligence to balance security and privacy concerns, the White House said.

The allegations tested France's relations with Washington just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris for the start of a European tour over Syria.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the Le Monde report on Monday had revealed "unacceptable practices".

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Kerry declined to comment on Washington's intelligence-gathering as a matter of policy, but said that the United States would hold talks with France and other allies on the issue.

Presented by Adam Justice

Read more: https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nsa-snowden-france-obama-francois-hollande-kerry-515738