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SAO PAULO: Brazil’s environment minister wants $1 billion in foreign aid from countries including the United States to help reduce deforestation in the Amazon between 30% and 40%, according to an interview published on Saturday in newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo.

“The plan is $1 billion over 12 months,” the minister, Ricardo Salles, told the newspaper. “If those resources were available to be used in that way (to fight deforestation), we can commit to a reduction of between 30% and 40% in 12 months.”

Brazil has been widely criticized for its failure to curb deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has said he prefers to exploit the economic resources of the rainforest rather than protect it, and has sent troops to try to handle the problem with little success.

A third of the money would be used to fund actions to combat deforestation directly, Salles said, while the remaining two thirds would be used for economic development, to give people who have benefited from the rainforest alternative opportunities.

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