Brazil and France launch diesel-powered submarine

Brazil and France launch diesel-powered submarine

French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian Lula da Silva will launch a diesel-powered submarine built in Brazil with French technology at the Itaguai shipyard outside Rio de Janeiro.

This is the third submarine delivered by Paris to Brasilia. It is part of a Prosub program launched by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Da Silva in 2008.

Macron is the first French president to visit Brazil in 11 years. The officials are meeting this week to revive the relationship between the countries after years of frictions with former President Jair Bolsonaro.

Macron and Da Silva also announced Tuesday a plan to invest 1 billion euros in the Amazon. In a joint statement, they said the money will be spread over the next four years to protect the rainforest.

It will be a collaboration of state-run Brazilian banks and France's investment agency. Private resources will also be welcomed, Brazil and France said.

Macron started his three-day visit to Brazil in the Amazon city of Belem, where he met his Brazilian counterpart. The French president then took a boat to the Combu island to meet with Indigenous leaders.

Both Macron and Lula attended a protest by Greenpeace Brazil with banners that read “No oil in the Amazon.” The Brazilian government has contemplated allowing the tapping of oil in a region close to the Para state, where Belem lies.

Lula said during a speech that Macron's visit is part of a global effort to beef up rainforest protections.

“We want to convince those who have already deforested that they need to contribute in an important way to countries that still have their forests to keep them standing,” Lula said.

The French president decorated Indigenous leader Raoni Metuktire with the prestigious Legion of Honour medal for efforts at conserving the rainforest.

“You were in Europe and I promised to come here to your forest and be with your people in this forest that is coveted,” Macron told the Indigenous leader. “President Lula and I have a common cause for one of our friends in this land that belongs to you.”