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Brazil, France spar over Amazon rainforest fires

France calls fires 'international crisis'; Brazil says Macron seeks to capitalize on 'internal issue'

Beyza Binnur Donmez, Diyar Guldogan   | 23.08.2019
Brazil, France spar over Amazon rainforest fires FILE PHOTO

ANKARA

The presidents of Brazil and French clashed over forest fires in the Amazonian rainforest, ahead of a G7 summit meeting.  

The fires reduce biodiversity and speed global warming.

"Our house is burning. Literally,” France’s Emmanuel Macron wrote Thursday on Twitter. “The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis."

Macron suggested the issue be discussed during this weekend’s G7 summit that France is hosting in the town of Biarritz.

But Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro hit back, accusing Macron of "a misplaced colonialist mindset."

"I regret that President Macron seeks to instrumentalize an internal issue of Brazil and other Amazonian countries for personal political gains," he tweeted.

He said Macron’s “sensational tone … does nothing to solve the problem."

Bolsonaro said the Brazilian government remains open to dialogue based on objective data and mutual respect.

Earlier, Bolsonaro accused environmental groups of starting the wildfires, but gave no evidence. 

However, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) said the growing number of fires is related to deforestation.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) underlined that the number of wildfires in the country had risen 83% from to the previous year.

Bolivia, Paraguay to jointly fight rainforest blazes

Bolivia's environment and water minister announced Friday his country and Paraguay have committed to work jointly to combat transboundary forest fires -- which affect Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

There will be permanent monitoring of air quality where fires occur, Carlos Ortuno told Bolivian media.

"Although at some point there is perceived discomfort from the smoke generated, ... it has not reached levels of danger for the population," he added.

Intense smoke caused by forest fires reached Peru and Ecuador, according to experts. 

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