Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday that South American countries containing parts of the Amazon rainforest will meet next month to discuss development and environmental protection of the forest, which has been ravaged by wildfires in recent days.
He said after meeting Chilean President Sebastián Piñera that all of the Amazon countries except Venezuela will meet “to come up with our own unified strategy for preserving the environment, and also for exploration sustainable in our region,” according to The Associated Press.
Piñera said countries that contain the forest “have sovereignty over the Amazon, that needs to be recognized always.”
Their comments come after Brazil rejected a $20 million fund to fight the forest fires offered by the Group of Seven countries.
Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused Germany and France of attempting to “buy” Brazil’s sovereignty, according to the AP.
Most of the Amazon is in Brazil, but it is also in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The recent fires have caused global concern.
Fires in Brazil have increased 85 percent this year compared to 2018, and a majority happened in the Amazon, according to the country's National Institute for Space Research.
Bolsonaro said during his 2018 campaign that he would open the forest up to business development and that the country's environmental policies have been “suffocating” its economy.