NSA affair clouds relations between Brazil, US

DPA Brasilia/Washington | Updated on March 13, 2018

Even before announcing on Tuesday she will postpone a state visit to Washington, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had expressed her dismay over the spy affair involving the US National Security Agency (NSA).

A Brazilian newspaper reported on September 5 that revelations about the NSA’s alleged spying programme placed Rousseff’s planned state visit to Washington on hold. The NSA allegedly spied on the President’s telephone calls and emails with her advisors and had the state-controlled oil conglomerate Petrobras in its sights.

Rousseff was awaiting an apology from the US Government for the agency’s alleged spying, the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported then.

In formally announcing the decision to postpone the trip, Rousseff appeared irritated by a lack of explanation from Washington. The President’s office issued a statement saying the right conditions for the visit did not exist.

Rousseff and US President Barack Obama spoke by phone on Monday and decided together to postpone the visit, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The visit had been scheduled for October 23.

“The President made clear that he is committed to working together with President Rousseff and her Government to move beyond this issue as a source of tension in our relationship,” said Carney. “We’re certainly acknowledging... the concerns that these disclosures have generated in Brazil and other countries.” Carney added that the President agreed with Rousseff that it was important to celebrate the broad relationship that exists between the two countries and that relationship should not be overshadowed by a single bilateral issue.

The alleged spying was revealed in secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to US reporter Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and writes for the British newspaper The Guardian.

Published on September 18, 2013

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