June 27, 2008

Amazon Region Dev’t Will Not Threaten Rainforest: Lula

Amazon region dev't will not threaten rainforest: Lula

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday dismissed claims that development of the Amazon region would devastate the rainforest.

"We must have the responsibility to understand the Amazon region has 25 million people, they wish to have TV sets, cars and cell phones," Lula said in an interview with an international news channel, in response to critics of the Amazon region development.

Inhabitants of the Amazon region also have the right to have their consumer desires met, he added. However, Lula emphasized that it could be reduced to a reasonable scope.

Environmental groups such as Greenpeace, as well as a number of politicians in Britain and elsewhere, have voiced concern about Brazil's development program being a threat to the Amazon rainforest, seen by scientists as the "lungs of the Earth" for its important role in absorbing carbon dioxide.

On June 5, President Lula signed a decree to create three reserves in the Amazon region to protect the rainforest, two of which are among the largest ones in the country.

The same day, Lula signed two more decrees, one extending indefinitely a deadline on restricting the exploitation of mahogany in the Amazon forest, the other ruling for the establishment of a working group within 30 days to define the final details of a fund for the protection and conservation of the Amazon region.

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