PARIS (TheBlaze/AP) -- The French may have given the United States the Statue of Liberty, but some in the country aren't feeling as warm towards America and its Independence Day as they have in the past.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls was at the American ambassador's 4th of July garden party when he publicly dressed down the United States for its recent actions, denouncing the alleged "espionage" of spying on France and other countries.
And, as it happens, Valls guest of honor at the fete hosted by Ambassador Charles Rivkin Thursday. He is the top security official in France.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls attends on July 2, 2013 a graduation ceremony at the Officers School of the National Gendarmerie in the eastern city of Melun. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
In a speech before hundreds of guests, France's interior minister said that "in the name of our friendship, we owe each other honesty. We must say things clearly, directly, frankly."
He said that President Francois Hollande's recent demand for clear and precise explanations about reports of U.S. spying are justified, because "such practices, if proven, do not have their place between allies and partners."
Later Thursday, Valls said France had rejected an asylum request from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
In a statement, Valls said the request, received via the French embassy in Moscow, had been rejected after "taking into account a legal analysis and the situation of" Snowden.
European countries recently agreed that planned talks on free trade with the U.S. must start in parallel with discussions on National Security Agency surveillance.
"We cannot accept this kind of behavior between partners and allies," Hollande declared on Monday. "We ask that this immediately stop...There can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas until we have obtained these guarantees, for France but also for all of the European Union."
In Strasbourg, the European Parliament has agreed to start an investigation into the allegations that European Union offices were among those bugged, and called for more protection for whistleblowers.
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