03-17-2018  5:37 am      •     
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Brazilian President Dilma RousseffBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed her 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.

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.

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.

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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