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Rousseff slams US failure to apologise over spying
November 7, 2013, 6:09 am

Rousseff also reiterated her charges against the US, saying the NSA surveillance program is economic espionage borne out of commercial and strategic interests [Getty Images]

Rousseff also reiterated her charges against the US, saying the NSA surveillance program is economic espionage borne out of commercial and strategic interests [Getty Images]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Wednesday that Washington’s refusal to tender an apology for the spying led to her cancelling her crucial state visit to the United States.

“I was going to travel. We said there was only one way to solve the problem, and it was an apology for what happened and a promise that it would not happen again,” she said in a local radio interview.

The trip was initially scheduled to begin on October 23.

The lack of apology from Washington created an impasse, she said, adding that she did not want to run the risk of having a new spying scandal break during her visit, which would be an embarrassment for both sides.

Rousseff also reiterated her charges against the US, saying the NSA surveillance program is economic espionage borne out of commercial and strategic interests.

She said reports of the NSA intercepting communication of state-oil giant Petrobras have belied US claims of the PRISM program being directed to thwart terrorism.

In Wednesday’s interview, Rousseff also responded to a recent story in the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, accusing Brazil’s intelligence agency of spying on diplomats from Russia, Iran and Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

She said the agency’s operations did not involve privacy violations as no phone calls or emails were tapped.

Rousseff had attacked the United States in her opening speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September.

“Brazil, Mr President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbour terrorist groups,” she said.

“As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country,” she added.

Earlier on Tuesday Brazil made public a draft bill that will allow the government to prevent internet companies like Google and Facebook from storing data about Brazilian citizens outside the country.

Simultaneous revelations regarding the UK embassy housing a secret listening post in Berlin made Germany summon the British Ambassador to respond to the allegations.

With inputs from Agencies

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