Israeli defence minister to talk NSO with French counterpart

Jerusalem: Israel’s defence minister will meet with his French counterpart in Paris this week and the two will discuss the Israeli spyware company NSO, a government statement said Tuesday.

The Defence Ministry said Benny Gantz will travel on Wednesday for the meeting with Florence Parly. The defence ministers will discuss the crisis in Lebanon and nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, the ministry also said.

Last week, a French newspaper reported that a Moroccan security agency had possibly targeted the cellphones of French President Emmanuel Macron and other members of the French government, following reports that Israel’s NSO Group may have been used to target politicians, activists and journalists in several countries.

Morocco’s government has denied wrongdoing and NSO has denied that Macron was targeted. Macron held an emergency meeting last week to consider possible actions.

Israel’s Defence Ministry, which authorises export of NSO, says it does so exclusively to governmental entities, for lawful use, and only for the purpose of preventing and investigating crime and counter terrorism. It says national security and strategic considerations are taken into account.