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Brazilian president's U.S. state visit postponed over alleged spying

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
updated 6:27 AM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will not travel to the United States for a state visit over allegations of U.S. spying.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will not travel to the United States for a state visit over allegations of U.S. spying.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brazil has protested reports of US surveillance of President Dilma Rousseff's phone, e-mail
  • Obama has promised to look into matter, but White House says it will take months
  • Brazil not happy with situation; Obama, Rousseff talked on Monday to try and work it out
  • Both government's say decision to postpone state visit reached jointly; will be rescheduled

(CNN) -- The United States and Brazil jointly agreed on Tuesday to postpone Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's state visit to Washington next month due to controversy over reports the U.S. government was spying on her communications.

Brazil protested recent disclosures of National Security Agency surveillance, which were included in media reports citing information apparently leaked by Edward Snowden, a former agency contractor who previously admitted leaking U.S. surveillance information to journalists.

A White House statement announcing the postponement said President Barack Obama had previously ordered a thorough review of American intelligence activities, but it acknowledged that process would take several months to complete.

As Brazil's uproar over NSA grows, U.S. vows to work through tensions

Rousseff spoke with Obama on the phone Monday in a last-minute attempt to patch things up, according to both governments. They decided for now to shelve the visit that had been scheduled for October 23.

Why are Brazil, Mexico angry with NSA?

Brazil still is not satisfied with the situation.

"The conditions for a state visit on the previously agreed date haven't been provided," Rousseff's office said.

But the White House said the two agreed to a postponement because they did not want the visit to be "overshadowed by a single bilateral issue, no matter how important or challenging the issue may be" and that the trip would be rescheduled.

"The president has said that he understands and regrets the concerns disclosures of alleged U.S. 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," the White House said.

Brazil, Mexico summon U.S. ambassadors over espionage reports

The reports alleged the NSA spied on Rousseff's mobile phone and e-mail communications as well as those of many of her advisers and oil giant Petrobras.

The reports embarrassed and outraged her, making the prospect of bilateral trade talks extremely difficult. The United States is Brazil's second-biggest trading partner after China.

The state visit was intended to bring the two biggest economies in the Americas closer together.

A Brazilian president hasn't embarked on a state visit to the United States in almost two decades.

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

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