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South America leaders gather to discuss protection of Amazon

LETICIA, Colombia — Leaders of several South American nations that share the Amazon are gathering Friday in Colombia to boost protection of the world’s largest rainforest.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales and the presidents of Ecuador and Peru are expected to attend the one-day summit on the Amazon River border between Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is to participate via videoconference due to medical restrictions against flying.

A surge in the number of fires in the Amazon this year has focused attention on risks facing the planet’s biggest absorber of carbon dioxide.

Colombian President Ivan Duque convoked the summit to enhance cooperation that began with the 1978 signing of a treaty by eight Amazon nations but which has stalled even as threats from climate change and unchecked development have increased.

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