Brazilian president postpones Washington visit over NSA spying

Source: The Guardian

Dilma Rousseff snubs Barack Obama, saying planned visit cannot take place ‘in the absence of a timely investigation’

The Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, snubbed Barack Obama on Tuesday by postponing an official visit to Washington in protest at the spying activities of the US National Security Agency.

The row between the biggest economies in North and South America was the latest diplomatic fallout from the top-secret documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden. In August, Obama announced he was pulling out of a bilateral meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, over Moscow’s decision to grant asylum to Snowden.

Despite a last-minute call from Obama, Rousseff’s office released a statement saying the political environment was not amenable for the planned trip on 23 October.

“Given the proximity of the scheduled state visit to Washington and in the absence of a timely investigation … there aren’t conditions for this trip to be made,” the statement read. “The Brazilian government is confident that when the question is settled in an adequate manner, the state visit can quickly occur.”

A statement from the White House said: “The president has said that he understands and regrets the concerns disclosures of alleged US intelligence activities have generated in Brazil and made clear that he is committed to working together with President Rousseff and her government in diplomatic channels to move beyond this issue as a source of tension in our bilateral relationship.

“As the president previously stated, he has directed a broad review of US intelligence posture, but the process will take several months to complete.

“For this reason, the presidents have agreed to postpone President Rousseff’s state visit to Washington scheduled for October 23.”

The postponement followed reports that the NSA has monitored Rousseff’s telephone calls and emails, spied on communications by her aides and targeted Brazil’s biggest company, Petrobras.

Rousseff had earlier requested an explanation from Obama, but his reassurances failed to satisfy her concerns.

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