Brazil government says it is being targeted over Amazon fires

Updated: Aug 24, 2019, 08:25 IST | Agencies |

French Prez Emmanuel Macron calls the situation an international crisis and that leaders of the group of seven nations should hold urgent talks

Protesters gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists outside the Brazilian embassy in London on Friday. Pic/AFP
Protesters gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists outside the Brazilian embassy in London on Friday. Pic/AFP

Rio de Janeiro: Amid global concern about raging fires in the Amazon, Brazil's government complained on Thursday that it is being targeted in a smear campaign by critics who contend President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb widespread deforestation.

The threat to what some call "the lungs of the planet" has ignited a bitter dispute about who is to blame during the tenure of a leader who has described Brazil's rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the wildfires an international crisis and said the leaders of the Group of seven nations should hold urgent discussions about them at their summit in France this weekend. "Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest — the lungs which produces 20 per cent of our planet's oxygen — is on fire," Macron tweeted. Bolsonaro fired back with his own tweet: "I regret that Macron seeks to make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries. The sensationalist tone he used does nothing to solve the problem."

Ireland might block trade deal

Ireland may vote to block a trade deal between the EU and South American nations if Brazil fails to curb fires ravaging the Amazon, PM Leo Varadkar said. "I am very concerned that this year has seen record levels of destruction of Amazonian forests by fire," he said. "There is no way Ireland will vote for EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil doesn't honour its environmental commitments."

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