Brazil reportedly plans to reject $20 million offered from G-7 countries to help fight the raging wildfires destroying the Amazon rainforest unless France’s president apologizes for calling Brazil’s president a liar.
“We are thankful, but maybe those resources would be more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, told Brazilian news website G1.
Brazil’s communication office confirmed the decision to reject the aid to several news organizations including Agence France Presse and CNN. The office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Tuesday.
Macron last week had called Bolsonaro a liar over his pledge in June to fight global warming.
“Given the attitude of Brazil over the last weeks, the president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka (G20) summit,” a French presidential official said, according to France 24.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Fire consumes an area near Porto Velho, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Brazilian state experts have reported a record of nearly 77,000 wildfires across the country so far this year, up 85% over the same period in 2018. Brazil contains about 60% of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
Bolsonaro on Tuesday lashed out at Macron and claimed France was questioning Brazil’s sovereignty. If Macron apologizes for his criticisms, “then we can speak,” Bolsonaro said, according to The Associated Press.
The rejection comes amid an ongoing verbal feud between Bolsonaro and Macron, who hosted the leaders of the U.K., Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. for the G-7 summit this weekend.
Bolsonaro has accused Macron on social media of sensationalizing the fires and only pretending to want to save the Amazon while really wanting to control it as a “colony.” In a personal attack, he has also criticized Macron’s wife.
When Bolsonaro was asked by reporters on Tuesday if he would apologize to Macron’s wife, Brigitte Macron, he denied offending her and ended questions by saying journalists “do not deserve consideration,” according to Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
Adriano Machado / Reuters Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a Soldier’s Day ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
Lorenzoni, in rejecting the offered foreign aid on Monday, further criticized Macron’s inability to prevent the April fire that ravaged Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral.
“Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site,” he said in his statement to G1. “What does he intend to teach our country?”
President Donald Trump also potentially waded into the feud, expressing his support of Bolsonaro on Twitter.
“He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil – Not easy. He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!” he tweeted.
I have gotten to know President @jairbolsonaro well in our dealings with Brazil. He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil – Not easy. He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2019 RELATED COVERAGE Trump's Trade War Linked To Amazon Rainforest Destruction In Brazil’s Amazon, Fire Hit ‘Like An Erupting Volcano.’ Then Came The Smokescreen. G7 Nations Squabble As Leaders Gather At Annual Summit Download REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus