South American nations must work out a joint strategy to deal with U.S. cyber-spying, the Argentine Defence Minister Agustin Rossi said during a visit to Brazil on Thursday.

The region has been up in arms over disclosures based on documents from U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden that Washington’s electronic espionage targeted several Latin American nations, notably allies Brazil, Mexico and Colombia as well as leftist Venezuela.

“I believe that UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations) must have a joint defence strategy.(...) The issue of cyber-defence undoubtedly deserves to be addressed,” Mr. Rossi told reporters after holding talks with his Brazilian counterpart Mr. Celso Amorim.

“In this case, we are looking at a point of convergence between Argentina and Brazil,” the Argentine Minister said.

Mr. Amorim meanwhile said that if the issue was not tackled by the UNASUR — a grouping that excludes the United States — “we can work bilaterally.”

Last July, the leaders of Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay discussed the U.S. espionage row at a summit in Montevideo.

Press reports based on the Snowden leaks said the U.S. National Security Agency snooped on Brazilian government communications, those of state-run energy giant Petrobras, as well as phone call data and emails of millions of Brazilians.

Those disclosures prompted President Dilma Rousseff to condemn the United States at the U.N. General Assembly session in September and to cancel a planned state visit to Washington.

Brazil and Germany have also submitted a joint draft resolution on the protection of individual liberties to the U.N. General Assembly's human rights panel in New York.

And Brazil is to host an international conference on Internet governance in Sao Paulo next April. — AFP