Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has halted advance preparations for a Washington visit, officials said Thursday, amid a row over reports that she was targeted by US spies. A spokeswoman for Rousseff said a trip by a Brazilian delegation to prepare for the president’s October 23 visit to Washington “was cancelled.”
The spokeswoman did not say why the trip was cancelled, or whether it might be rescheduled, but it comes after Brazil demanded explanations from Washington for reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on her communications. Rousseff, who is in St Petersburg, Russia, for a G20 meeting that includes US President Barack Obama, “wants a retraction by the government of the United States,” the spokeswoman said.
A Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman told AFP “the technical mission was postponed” and added that “the expectation is it will take place” later. “We are waiting for a formal explanation from the US government,” he said. He said that an explanation it has not been provided so far. Asked whether Rousseff would meet with Obama on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, the presidential spokeswoman said “there is still nothing planned but she still has until tomorrow.”
US national security spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters in St Petersburg that the White House had not been informed of any delay to planning for Rousseff’s visit Washington. “I’m not aware of that. I know that they are seeing each other,” he said.