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UPDATE 1-Brazil to bring forward goal to end illegal deforestation, VP says

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(Recasts to focus on deforestation goal)

BRASILIA, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Brazil plans to bring forward its goal of ending illegal deforestation by two or three years, Vice-President Hamilton Mourao said on Monday, six days before a global climate conference.

Mourao said forest fires in the Amazon region had dropped "significantly" this year, by about 40%, and that the Brazilian government will reaffirm its commitment to international environmental goals at a U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow that runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.

Speaking at a news conference, Mourao said the government's previous goal was to end illegal deforestation by 2030. The Amazon has the world's largest tropical rainforest and it is considered a major bulwark against climate change.

Mourao noted, however, there should be negotiations to pay Brazil some form of compensation for "environmental services" or its actions preserving the Amazon rainforest.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is in favor of allowing commercial mining and agriculture on indigenous reservations, which have the most preserved forests in the Amazon.

Mourao recognized that building new highways through the rainforest brings environmental risks, but he added that they are essential for the Amazon region's development.

The VP disputed claims regarding illegal mining on indigenous lands, saying the number of illegal gold miners in the Amazon region is overestimated. He added the government calculates that number to be 4,000.

Mourao said the government has an obligation to crack down on illegal mining, pending a potential change in the law allowing mining in indigenous territories.

Brazil cannot rule out commercial mining in the Amazon, he said, adding that miners must observe Brazilian environmental rules. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Ana Mano and Anthony Boadle Editing by Paul Simao)

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