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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postpones US state visit over NSA spying scandal

The announcement came after US President Barack Obama spoke to Rousseff on Monday night in a last-minute attempt to salvage the visit.

Brazil obama kissEnlarge
US President Barack Obama kisses hello Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff as they arrive for a photo during the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday postponed her state visit to Washington next month following a US government spying scandal that has rocked relations between the two countries.

Earlier reports citing Brazilian media said Rousseff had canceled the trip, which would mark the first state visit by a Brazilian president in nearly two decades.

The decision to call off the Oct. 23 visit was announced by the White House and came after Rousseff spoke to US President Barack Obama on Monday night, following talks between the two leaders at the recent G20 Summit in Russia.

"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," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The trip has not yet been rescheduled.

More from GlobalPost: US-Brazil: Why can't we be friends?

Relations between Brazil and the United States have been severely strained by media reports that the US National Security Agency snooped on Rousseff’s and other Brazilians' personal communications, as well as spying on the country's state oil company, Petrobras.

The stories released by the Guardian and Brazilian TV program Fantastico were based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"The illegal practices of intercepting the communications and data of Brazilian citizens, businesses and government members constitute a serious assault on national sovereignty and individual rights, and are incompatible with the democratic coexistence between friendly countries," the Brazilian president's office said in a statement.

Rousseff had been under pressure from top advisers to cancel the trip even though doing so would represent a setback for relations between the two countries, the two largest economies in the Americas.

Before the recent spying scandal erupted, ties between Brazil and the United States had been improving.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/130917/brazilian-president-dilma-rousseff-postpones-us-visit

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