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Pope calls for global commitment to put out Amazon fires

Published: Updated:

Pope Francis on Sunday called for a global commitment to put out the fires in the Amazon, saying the area was essential for the health of the planet.

“We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. Let us pray so that with the commitment of all, they can be put out soon. That lung of forests is vital for our planet,” he told thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly address.

Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops on Saturday were deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry.

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President Jair Bolsonaro also tried to temper global concern, saying previously deforested areas had burned and that intact rainforest was spared. Even so, the fires were likely to be urgently discussed at a summit of the Group of Seven leaders in France this weekend.