Harper In Alleged Huff Over Protocol

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BRASILIA, Brazil, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The Canadian Embassy denies Prime Minister Stephen Harper locked himself in a bathroom while officials argued over protocol for an official lunch in Brazil.

The Brazilian newspaper Folha reported diplomats whose names were not reported told it the incident occurred Monday at the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said Wednesday. The dispute, the newspaper said, was over when toasts were to be made during the lunch.

The CBC said the prime minister’s office said it didn’t know what had prompted the story.

The alleged luncheon incident followed another disagreement earlier at the presidential palace, the CBC said. In that episode, officials with the administration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had insisted only official government photographers be allowed for a photo op at the start of Harper and Rousseff’s meeting.

The network said the prime minister’s office said the Brazilians also would not allow a joint news conference with the two leaders because Rousseff didn’t want to take questions. However, after Harper and Rousseff made their statements, the Brazilian president held a separate question-and-answer session with Brazilian media a short distance away, the CBC said.

The network said the lunch in question then started 15 minutes late with no reason provided by officials.

Harper is in Brazil as part of a four-nation trade tour.

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