Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro hit back at criticism of national and state policies on the environment.

In a video conference with leaders of Brazilian states in Amazon rainforest territory on Tuesday, he said the criticism was unjustified.

“These stories about the Amazon being in flames are a lie, and we must counter them with the correct figures,” he said.

Regional countries, including Brazil, signed a document last September calling for a joint effort for environmental protection and to ensure the sustainable development of the region.

According to Bolsonaro, business interests lay behind the criticism, partly due to Brazil’s status as a major food producer.

Much of the criticism has come from environmental groups that accuse Bolsonaro of allowing the rainforest to be destroyed to create more land for agriculture.

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