Amazon fires: G7 leaders on verge of agreeing to help, says Macron

International leaders gathering at the G7 summit are reportedly nearing an agreement to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday a deal to provide “technical and financial help” was close.

Leaders from the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Canada continue their meeting in the seaside town of Biarritz on Monday.

It comes amid international tension over record fires burning in Brazil, BBC said.

Critics have accused Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, of “green lighting” the Amazon’s destruction through anti-environmental rhetoric and a lack of action on deforestation violations.

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The severity of the fires and his government’s response has prompted global outcry and protests.

President Macron last week described the fires as an “international crisis” and pushed for them to be prioritised at the G7 summit this weekend.

On Sunday he said the leaders are “all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible.

“Our teams are making contact with all the Amazon countries so we can finalise some very concrete commitments involving technical resources and funding.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would provide £10m to protect the Amazon rainforest.

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Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but satellite data published by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) has shown an increase of 85 percent this year.

They say more than 75,000 have been recorded in Brazil so far in 2019, most of them in the Amazon region.

Environmental activists have drawn links between President Bolsonaro’s attitudes towards the environment and the recent surge in the number of fires in the famous rainforest.

President Bolsonaro has been accused of emboldening miners and loggers who deliberately start fires to illegally deforested land. Earlier this month he accused Inpe of trying to undermine his government with data revealing sharp increases in deforestation levels.

BBC analysis has also found that the record number of fires being recorded also coincides with a sharp drop off in fines being handed out for environmental violations.

Neighbouring Bolivia is also struggling to contain fires burning in its forests.

On Sunday President Evo Morales suspended his re-election campaign and said he was prepared to accept international help to tackle blazes in his country’s Chiquitania region.

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