President Macron says G7 leaders close to deal on tackling Amazon fires

French President Emanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron at the reception ceremony of G7 leaders in Biarritz. /AP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said leaders of the G7 nations were close to an agreement on how to help fight the forest fires that have been ravaging the Amazon for more than three weeks.

“There’s a real convergence to say: ‘let’s all agree to help those countries hit by these fires’,” President Macron told reporters I Biarritz, where world leaders are gathered for the 2019 G7 Summit.

The French president said the G7 nations comprising of France, US, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany and Italy were finalizing a possible deal on “technical and financial help.”

A record number of fires have been ravaging the South American rain forest, mostly in Brazil, drawing international attention.

President Macron said the Amazon, which is the world’s largest rainforest, was vital for the future of the planet and as such needed to be protected.

The French leader is hosting tens of world leaders in Biarritz for the 2019 G7 Summit, which was described by European Council President Donald Tusk as a “difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders”.

Other than the leaders of the permanent G7 member nations, other leaders from various countries are also in attendance as invited guests. Those include President Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), President Paul Kagame (Rwanda), President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso), President Macky Sall (Senegal), Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt), President Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Prime Minister Narendra Modi (India), Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Australia) and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (Spain).

The Amazon forest fires have also drawn the attention of the United Nations, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying it “must be protected.”

“In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity,” the UN chief said.