Brazilian president defends policies amid recent Amazon fires

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Brazil’s president has launched a strong defence of his far-right government while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, blasting any criticism of his policies on recent fires in the Amazon region.

Jair Bolsonaro also criticised French president Emmanuel Macron in a speech on Wednesday before the Future Investment Initiative in the kingdom, while praising American leader Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro at one point said: “The Amazon region belongs to us.”

Brazilian President
Bolsonaro praised US president Donald Trump (AP)

Scientists say the vast rainforest is a bulwark against global warming as its lush vegetation absorbs heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The moisture given off by its trees also affects rainfall patterns and climate across South America and beyond.

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International outcry earlier this year led Bolsonaro to ban Amazon farmers from lighting fires for 60 days and send federal troops to help combat the blazes.

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