Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that he would gather South American countries that share the Amazon rainforest to discuss its protection and development.
Bolsonaro pushed back at international allegations that he was responsible for weakening environmental safeguards in Brazil that have led to farmers, developers and others setting fires to clear land more aggressively this year in the Amazon.
The meeting with regional neighbors, which excludes Venezuela, will be held on September 6 in Leticia, Colombia, and its goal is to “to come up with our own unified strategy for preserving the environment,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
The Brazilian president made the announcement after a joint meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Brasilia.
Pinera, who has a close relationship with Bolsonaro, joined him in a statement to declare that environmental challenges must be met while respecting “national sovereignty.”
Each country should have control over the “rational and sustainable use of their natural resources, in line with their environmental obligations and needs of their citizens, including indigenous peoples,” the joint statement read.
The declaration, along with the call for countries in the region to band together, follows Bolsonaro’s accusation against Germany and France, whom he said had tried to “buy” Brazil’s sovereignty through their pledge of $20 million in aid at the G7.