Brazil will reject $20 million of Amazon fire aid from G7

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PORTO VELHO, RONDONIA, BRAZIL – AUGUST 25: In this aerial image, a fire burns in a section of the Amazon rain forest on August 25, 2019 in the Candeias do Jamari region near Porto Velho, Brazil. According to INPE, Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, the number of fires detected by satellite in the Amazon […]

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Brazil will reject the offer of $20 million in aid for the Amazon fires pledged at the G7 summit in France, according to news site G1 Globo.

The chief of staff of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said that the country will turn down the money, suggesting that it should be used elsewhere instead, the site reported.

“We are thankful, but maybe those resources would be more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni was quoted as saying by G1 Globo late Monday night. CNN has contacted the Brazilian presidency for comment.

The blazes in the Amazon have caused a spat between Bolsonaro and French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vocal about the need for an international response to the fires.

The G7 is an informal grouping comprised of the world’s seven biggest economies. At the group’s annual summit, in the French resort of Biarritz on Monday, Macron announced it was making $20 million in aid available to help combat the fires.

But Bolsonaro said the idea of creating an international alliance to save the Amazon would be treating Brazil like “a colony or no man’s land,” calling it an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

Rebuffing the offer, Lorenzoni continued to criticize the French president. “Macron is unable to avoid a preventable fire in a church that is at a World Heritage Site and he wants to show us what is for our country? He has a lot to look after at home and the French colonies,” Lorenzoni said, according to G1. He was referring to the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in April.

“Brazil is a democratic nation, free and never had colonial or imperialistic practices which might be (the) objective of Frenchman Macron,” Lorenzoni added.

The conflict between Macron and Bolsonaro got personal when a user post on the Brazilian president’s Facebook page compared the appearance of his wife with that of the French first lady, implying that Macron was jealous. Bolsonaro’s official account then commented: “”Don’t humiliate the guy … haha.”

Macron described the remark as “extremely disrespectful.”

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