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Peru, Colombia propose emergency Amazon summit as fires blaze

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Lima (AFP)

Peru and Colombia proposed on Tuesday an emergency Amazon summit for countries in the region in order to coordinate a strategy to protect the vast rainforest currently blighted by numerous fires.

The Amazon is known as the "planet's lungs" but is suffering from its worst outbreak of fires in years, which has sparked a global outcry.

Peru President Martin Vizcarra and his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque called for an urgent meeting on September 6 in Colombia to "join forces" in protecting the rainforest, they said in a statement on the margins of a bilateral summit in Pucallpa, in Peru's northeast.

"The presidents recognize the necessity to join forces for the benefit of the protection and sustainable use of the Amazon region, which is one of the most important ecosystems for the planet's resilience," they said.

The summit's aim would be to "establish a pact that would conserve, develop and sustainably use" the Amazon while also benefitting "the communities that live there."

No mention was made of which other countries would be invited but the location of the proposed meeting, in Leticia, is practically on the three-way border between Colombia, Peru and Brazil, suggesting the latter would surely be involved.

The statement made no mention of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization based in Brasilia that comprises eight countries -- including Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam and Venezuela -- involved in development in the Amazon basin.

Duque said the Amazon was "a lung that benefits the world in capturing greenhouse gases, water sources and the protection of biodiversity," and its protection needs to be coordinated on a global scale.

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