Obama, Rousseff meet in Russia after disclosure of alleged U.S. spying

BRASILIA Thu Sep 5, 2013 6:57pm EDT

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a reception for the Brazilian Football delegation at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia September 2, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a reception for the Brazilian Football delegation at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia September 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday and the two discussed disclosures that the United States had spied on her private communications, as world leaders gathered for the G20 summit of major economies in Russia.

White House official told Reuters that Obama and Rousseff had discussed the alleged eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency, but did not provide any details.

The two leaders sat next to one another at the first plenary session of G20 leaders.

Rousseff, furious over the alleged monitoring of her emails and phone calls by the NSA, this week called off a trip by an advance team to Washington to prepare for a state visit to the United States by the Brazilian leader that now could be called off because of the disclosure of the NSA's activities.

Brazil's presidential palace said the canceled trip was for a team of logistical planners, security personnel and protocol officers that would have left this weekend to start preparing the October 23 visit.

Rousseff may still cancel her visit to the White House in October unless she receives a public apology from the United States for the alleged spying, a senior Brazilian official told Reuters.

The visit, which is the only such invitation extended by Obama this year, was intended to highlight a recent improvement in relations between the two biggest economies in the Americas, as well as Brazil's emergence over the past decade as a vibrant economy and regional power.

Rousseff's office said her state visit has not been canceled and another, larger advance team is scheduled go to Washington before her trip.

The Brazilian government has given the United States until Friday to give it a written explanation of what the NSA was doing monitoring Rousseff's communications, as reported on Sunday by a Brazilian television program based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy U.S. national security adviser, said Washington will work to resolve the dispute through "diplomatic and intelligence channels."

"We understand how important this is to the Brazilians. We understand their strength of feeling on the issue," he said. "What we're focused on is making sure the Brazilians understand exactly what the nature of our intelligence effort is."

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Maria Carolina Marcello. Additional reporting by Steve Holland in St. Petersburg, Russia.; Editing by Paulo Prada and Christopher Wilson)

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