Brazil has rejected a U.S. request to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq because of the "difficult" security situation there, Defense Minister Jose Viegas (search) said.

Thursday's announcement came days before President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (search) was to meet President Bush in Washington. Brazil opposed the war in Iraq.

"The request was rejected in view of the difficulties facing the U.S. and British army since the regime of Saddam Hussein was toppled," Viegas said.

"Brazilian citizens understand our reasons to avoid exposure of [Brazilian] troops in Iraq as the situation there continues being difficult, with soldiers injured or killed almost daily."