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Peru and Colombia call for meeting and pact to protect Amazon forest

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Peru and Colombia call for meeting and pact to protect Amazon forest
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REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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Brazil's neighbouring countries, Peru and Colombia, called on Tuesday on other countries with areas of the Amazon forest to convene next month to try and find a solution to the forest fires ravaging Brazil and Bolivia and forge a pact that protects the world's largest tropical forest.

The meeting will take place in Colombia's Amazonian region of Leticia on September 6, said Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra and Colombian President Ivan Duque in a statement.

"We have to raise our voice to a presidential level and make a pact where we all coordinate our actions to protect our Amazon," Duque told a news conference in the Amazonian city of Pucallpa in Peru.

Peru's president said the meeting would seek to commit countries to a common plan for protecting the rainforest in the Amazon basin — shared by Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, and Surina.

"It shouldn't just be a reactive policy due to the emergency that neighbouring countries are facing with these fires. Rather it should have a long-term view on how to avoid deforestation," Vizcarra said alongside Duque.

The fires are not only affecting Brazil. At least 10,000 square km are burning in Bolivia, near the tri-state border with Paraguay and Brazil.

Duque called the fires in Brazil "worrisome" but added that people around the world need to become more aware of how they contribute to climate change.

Leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales called for an emergency meeting of Amazonian countries on Friday but said "some countries" had shown a lack of interest for ideological reasons.

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