Biden in Brazil to see World Cup, heal strained ties
By Anthony Boadle and Brian Winter
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, June 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden heads to Brazil on Monday, hoping to do more than just watch Team USA play Ghana in the World Cup.
Biden will also try to turn the page on chilly U.S. relations with President Dilma Rousseff, who was outraged by revelations last year that the National Security Agency spied on her and other Brazilian officials.
Rousseff, who canceled a state visit to Washington in response, recently indicated she was ready to move on from the spat. That could unlock faster progress on trade, offshore oil development and other long-elusive cooperation between the two biggest economies in the Americas.
Brazil's left-leaning leader told reporters she was eager to reschedule her Washington trip - but only if she gets a "strong signal that (spying) won't be repeated."
That comment sent officials in Washington scrambling to figure out precisely what she's looking for.
In response to the uproar over NSA spying in Brazil, Germany and elsewhere, President Barack Obama said in January that the United States would no longer spy on heads of state of allied countries.
Biden can't go much beyond that when he meets Rousseff in Brasilia on Tuesday, U.S. officials told Reuters. But they hope that face-to-face assurances from a leader for whom Rousseff has respect - and has even described as "seductive" - will be enough to move on.
Some in Washington had advocated postponing Biden's trip due to turmoil in Iraq. But the vice president decided it was a unique chance to heal relations with a country with a $2.2 trillion economy and growing diplomatic clout, one official said. Continuación...