Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Picture: AP Photo/Richard Drew

United Nations -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday defended his country's preservation of the Amazon rainforest and accused some international media outlets of lying about fires in the rainforest. 

"The Amazon is not being destroyed nor consumed by fire, as the media is falsely portraying," Bolsonaro said during the General Debate of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly which opened Tuesday. 

Media reports said in the past two months that fires across Brazilian forests spread at a record pace in years. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro refuted the conception that the Amazon is "a world heritage" or "the lung of the world," saying the misconception has led some countries to behave "with a colonialist spirit." 

He said, "Our Amazon rainforest is larger than Western Europe and it remains virtually untouched. This shows that we are one of the countries that protects the most its environment." 

Reiterating Brazil's sovereignty over the rainforest, Bolsonaro said the fires are due to "dry weather and winds" and indigenous and local populations' use of fire in their culture and means of survival. 

He invited people in the audience to visit Brazil and see the state of the Amazon in person, noting Brazil has just extended visa exemptions to the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada and is considering the adoption of similar measures for China and India, among other countries. 

Xinhua