President Obama spoke by phone today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who offered condolences on the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona. The President and the Chancellor discussed the recent reports of surveillance activities allegedly conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency. The President assured the Chancellor that the United States takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of continued close cooperation between our respective intelligence services in the fight against terrorism and other threats to the security of the United States, Germany, and our allies. The leaders agreed to hold a high-level meeting of U.S. and German security officials in the coming days to discuss these matters in greater detail. They also looked forward to the initiation of a U.S.-EU/EU Member State dialogue on the collection and oversight of intelligence and questions of privacy and data protection, as proposed by Attorney General Eric Holder, as early as July 8. Finally, the leaders reiterated their strong support for the launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and welcomed the upcoming first round of discussions.