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Environment

Hollande hits out at Trump on climate change during Colombia visit

media French President Francois Hollande arrives at Catam Military airport in Bogota Reuters/路透社

French President François Hollande has launched a fresh barb against US President Donald Trump - this time over climate change. On a visit to Colombia on Monday, Hollande said he could not understand how anyone could ignore the "tangible proof" that global warming is really taking place.

"I have just come from Chile, where thousands of hectares have gone up in smoke," Hollande said during a joint news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. "There is tangible proof everywhere in the world and I don't even understand how some people can doubt the existence of climate warming."

During his election campaign Trump described as a Chinese invention to undermine US manufacturing industry and said he would pull his country out of the Cop21 climate deal agreed in Paris at the end of 2015.

"Doubtless they [climate change doubters] are ill-informed," Hollande commented drily. "But I imagine that scientific data will be given to them. The sooner, the better.

Latin American trade deals

Hollande also talked up trade deals, as he had in Chile, following the withdrawal of the US from the Transpacific Trade Partnership on Trump's first day in office, Monday, and his plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

On arriving in Bogota, the French president called for strengthening of European Union trade ties with the Pacific Alliance, which includes Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

Farc peace agreement

On Tuesday Hollande was due to visit a site in the Cali region of south-west Colombia where members of the Farc guerrilla movement are surrendering their weapons as part of the peace deal signed with the government last year.

The agreement, which was renegotiated after a first deal was rejected in a referendum, "proves that with negotiation, dialogue, perseverance, vision, one can settle conflicts", he commented on Monday.

The main purpose of his visit was to demonstrate France's support for the peace process, Hollande said.

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