Brazil says Biden phoned President Rousseff about surveillance
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with representatives of the law enforcement community to discuss immigration reform in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, July 19, 2013. (AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:13PM EDT
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- The Brazilian government says U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden has telephoned President Dilma Rousseff in an effort to ease tensions created by the disclosure that the United States collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in Latin America's biggest nation.
The Brazilian presidency's website says Rousseff and Biden spoke for 25 minutes on Friday night.
After the phone conversation, Communications Minister Helena Chagas told reporters that Biden called Rousseff to offer explanations and to "express his regret over the negative repercussions caused by the disclosures."
Chagas said Rousseff accepted Biden's invitation to send a delegation to Washington to receive "technical and political details" about the case, but the date and makeup of the delegation had not been decided. State-run Agencia Brasil news agency said the group would be comprised of representatives of the foreign, justice and defence ministries and would go to Washington in about three weeks.
Rousseff told Biden she wants the U.S. government to "change its security policies and practices," the communications minister said.
"The president told Biden that the privacy of Brazilian citizens and the country's sovereignty cannot be infringed in the name of security," she said.
The newspaper O Globo reported earlier this month that information released by the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showed Brazil is the top target in Latin America for the NSA's intelligence-gathering effort aimed at monitoring communications around the world. The Brazilian government is investigating the disclosures and alleged links between Brazilian and U.S. telecommunications firms with a presence in the country.