Amazon rainforest fires: Brazil refuses $22m of aid from G7

27 Aug 19

Brazil has rejected the G7’s offer of $22m of aid to help fight fires in the Amazon – at least until French President Emmanuel Macron withdraws his “insults” to Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

The rainforest fires, which are burning at a record rate according to Brazil’s space research agency, have been the focus of international attention for the past week.

Over the weekend, the G7 agreed to send the money to Brazil after Macron warned the world that “our house is burning”.

But the French and Brazilian presidents have become embroiled in a spat in recent days.

Bolsonaro mocked Macron’s wife on Facebook, and in response Macron said in a speech that Bolsonaro had lied about his commitment to the rainforest, and that he hoped Brazil would “rapidly have a president who is up to the task”, suggesting Brazilian women would be ashamed of him.

And Bolsonaro has criticised Macron for his “misplaced colonialist mindset”.

On Monday, he tweeted: “We cannot accept that President Macron unleashes unreasonable and unreasonable attacks on the Amazon, nor hides his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of the G7 countries to ‘save’ the Amazon, as if we were a colony or no man's land.

“Other heads of state sympathized with Brazil; after all, respect for the sovereignty of any country is the least that can be expected in a civilized world.”

Macron said the offer of aid was a “sign of friendship”, not colonialism.

But according to Reuters, Bolsonaro told reporters today that only if Macron takes back his “insults” would he consider an offer of aid.

In recent weeks, Bolsonaro has been criticised for sacking the head of the space research agency Ricardo Galvão, after he said satellite data showed deforestation in the Amazon was rising.

The Brazilian president has said NGOs were responsible for some of the fires, whereas activists in Brazil have blamed the government’s environmental policies.

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