UNITED NATIONS, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivered a scathing critique of the United States for spying on its allies, a practice unveiled in a wave of leaks by fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
“Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” Rousseff told the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in Tuesday’s opening speech.
Rousseff spoke immediately prior to US President Barack Obama, who was scheduled to meet the Brazilian president in Washington next month before Rousseff canceled her trip last week due to revelations about US intelligence gathering.
Documents leaked by Snowden and made public earlier this month show that US intelligence services were spying on Rousseff’s emails, as well as the emails of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Rousseff has demanded an apology from the White House for the electronic surveillance activities. On Tuesday she called such surveillance “totally unacceptable” and a “serious violation of human rights,” and she asked the UN to “properly regulate the behavior of member states regarding these technologies.”
She added that Brazil will enact legislation and technology to prevent its electronic communications from being intercepted.
Obama did not directly address the criticism leveled by Rousseff in his speech at the UN, though he said the United States has “begun to review the way that we gather intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.”
Snowden is currently being sought by the US government on espionage charges related to his series of leaks abut secret US government surveillance programs targeting millions of Americans and foreigners telephone and electronic communications.
He fled to Russia in June, living in the transit zone of a Moscow airport before Russian authorities granted him temporary asylum, a decision that has exacerbated already withered relations between Moscow and Washington.