January 28, 2023

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Brazil leader complains on Amazon in Biden meeting

Brazil leader complains on Amazon in Biden meeting

Brazil’s right-wing leader on Thursday complained to US President Joe Biden about international pressure over the Amazon amid calls for more action on climate change.

“We have a wealth in the heart of Brazil — our Amazon, which is bigger than Western Europe, with incalculable riches, biodiversity, mineral wealth, drinking water and oxygen sources,” Bolsonaro said, as he met Biden on the sidelines of an Americas summit in Los Angeles.

“Sometimes we feel that our sovereignty is threatened in that area but Brazil preserves its territory well,” he said.

“On the environmental issue we have our difficulties but we do our best to defend our interests.”

Bolsonaro, a champion of agribusiness, has angered environmentalists with his attitude over the Amazon, a crucial “sink” for the planet’s carbon emissions.

Biden kept a positive tone in his public remarks, saying that Brazil has made “real sacrifices” to protect the Amazon.

“I think the rest of the world should be able to help you preserve as much as you can,” Biden said.

It was the first meeting between Biden and Bolsonaro, an ally of former US president Donald Trump, who has questioned the legitimacy both of US and Brazilian elections.

Bolsonaro told Biden that Brazil wants “clean, auditable elections” in October.

Biden did not address the elections with reporters present but his national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, earlier said that the US leader would not shy away from pressing on the need for free elections.

Bolsonaro is trailing in polls to former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a leftist icon who was jailed on controversial corruption charges.

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