The leaders of France and Brazil have met and announced a $1.1 billion investment in Amazon

SAO PAULO (AP) – The leaders of Brazil and France on Tuesday announced a plan to invest 1 billion dollars ($1.1 billion) in the Amazon, including forest areas in neighboring French Guiana.

The governments of the two countries have agreed that the money will be spread over the next four years in order to protect the forest. It will be a joint venture between Brazil’s state-run banks and France’s financial regulator. Private weapons will also be accepted, Brazil and France said.

President of France Emmanuel Macron‘s and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are meeting this week to revive cooperation between the countries after years of conflict with former President Jair Bolsonaro, expanding cooperation to protect forests and promote trade.

Macron began his three-day visit to Brazil in the Amazon city of Belem, where he met with his longtime friend Lula. The French President took a boat to the island of Combu to meet with traditional leaders.

Macron and Lula saw demonstrations by Greenpeace Brazil with signs that read “No oil in the Amazon.” The Brazilian government has decided to allow oil to be used in an area near the Para region, where Belem is located.

Lula said in his speech that Macron’s visit is part of the international efforts to strengthen the protection of forests.

“We want to convince those who have already cut down the forests that they have to help in the necessary way to the countries that still have their forests so that they don’t stop,” Lula said in a speech near the French president.

Macron’s office also said during the visit that the European trade agreement with the South American bloc Mercosur would not exist. The French president is against such an agreement as long as South American producers do not respect the environment and health standards like Europeans, after farmers raised concerns during protests in France and Europe.

The President of France decorated traditional leader Raoni Metuktire with the Legion of Honor medal for his efforts to protect forests.

“You were in Europe and I promised you that I would come here to your forest and live with your people in this enviable forest,” Macron told the traditional leader, according to French radio station RFI. “President Lula and I have one reason for our friend in this country which is yours.”

Lula and Macron will seek to “establish a common strategy” to fight climate change and poverty, Macron’s office said, when Brazil hosts the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Rio de Janeiro in November and the UN climate talks in Belem. next year.

On Wednesday, Macron and Lula will launch a diesel-powered submarine built in Brazil with French technology at the Itaguai shipyard outside Rio de Janeiro. The French president will travel to Sao Paulo to meet with Brazilian investors. On Thursday, the French President will go to Brasilia to meet Lula again.

____ Corbet reported from Paris.

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