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Obama and Rousseff take climate focus, turn page on spy row

The leaders of Brazil and the US have pledged to work towards visa-free travel and increased use of renewable energy. Brazil's Dilma Rousseff labeled the talks a "relaunch" of relations following the NSA spying scandal.

US President Barack Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, announced "ambitious" plans to increase use of renewable energy and reduce deforestation, at joint press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

Both countries aim for one-fifth of their energy consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030.

"These are very ambitious goals, a near tripling for the United States and more than double Brazil's current output," said Obama.

The leaders hope to present a collective front at UN-sponsored climate talks in Paris in late November and December.

The heads of state also discussed trade and defense cooperation, and agreed to take steps so that Americans and Brazilians can travel between the two countries without visas.

Turning the page on the spy row

The diplomatic trip, which started Monday, was originally planned for 2013. However, it was delayed when documents released by Edward Snowden showed that the US National Security Agency had tapped Rousseff's telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

On Tuesday, Rousseff called the visit a "relaunch" of relations between Washington and Brasilia,

following a bitter row

.

"Since then, some things have changed," she said, citing assurances that the US would no longer spy on leaders in allied countries. "I believe President Obama," Rousseff added.

"He has told me that, should he ever need non-public information about Brazil, he would just pick up the phone and call me."

Rousseff also praised the American president over the thaw in relations with Cuba, saying the rapprochement improved US standing across Latin America.

In turn, Obama

hailed Brazil

as a "global player" and pointed to good relations with Rousseff.

"I trust her completely," Obama said. "She's always been very candid and frank with me about the interests of the Brazilian people and how we can work together. She's delivered on what she's promised."

After Washington, Rousseff will be heading to Silicon Valley to meet with executives at Google, Apple and Facebook.

dj/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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