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Brazil’s Foreign Ministry on Monday ordered its ambassadors in Europe and other G7 countries not to take vacation for the next two weeks in order to co-ordinate a diplomatic response to global concerns over the fires raging in the Amazon rain forest, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The move comes after Brazil sent a circular to diplomats last week with talking-points about the country’s environmental record in a bid to help respond to public criticism.

The decision to suspend vacations for ambassadors in certain countries was taken by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo after an emergency meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday evening, the two sources said.

Brazil’s spokesman said on Monday that Bolsonaro may visit the Amazon region later this week to check on fire reduction efforts.

Otavio Rego Barros said Chile and Ecuador have offered aircraft to help combat the fires.

France and Ireland have threatened to tear up the EU-Mercosur trade deal, 20 years in the making, over the fires. The office of French President Emmanuel Macron even accused Bolsonaro of lying when he played down concerns over climate change at the G20 summit in June.

Some ambassadors were already on vacation and had to return to their posts, the sources said.

Embassies have also been told to post to their social media pages with information such as that forest fires happen every year in the Amazon and that the current fires are not out of control.

- With a report by Gabriel Ponte

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