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Brazil to follow NSA developments closely

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SAO PAULO - Brazil's government called U.S. President Barack Obama's promise to ban spying on leaders of close allies a "first step" on Sunday and said it would follow the consequences of the U.S. leader's Friday speech closely.

The South American country's reaction to Obama's pledge to scale back the National Security Agency in response to Edward Snowden's revelations was more cautious than the welcome response the U.S. received from the German government on Friday, however.

"It's a first step. The Brazilian government will monitor the practical ramifications of the speech very closely," Rousseff's spokesman Thomas Traumann wrote on the president's office official blog.

Revelations that the U.S. had monitored the personal e-mails of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff caused Brazilto cancel a state visit and cost Chicago-based Boeing a $4 billion-plus fighter jet contract last year.

Obama also tried to reassure Americans and foreigners alike that the United States would take into account privacy concerns that arose after former U.S. spy contractor Snowden's disclosures about the scale of the NSA's monitoring activities.