Brazil's president said he would accept $20 million from the G7 to tackle the Amazon fires, but only if Emmanuel Macron apologizes for calling him 'extraordinarily rude'
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to backtrack on his refusal of $20 million in G7 aid to help fight the Amazon fires, saying that he'll consider accepting the money on one condition.
- Bolsonaro, who is locked in a war of words with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, wants Macron to apologize to him for calling him rude earlier this week.
- Macron's comment came after Bolsonaro appeared to endorse a Facebook post mocking the 25-year age gap between Macron and his wife Brigitte.
- The Amazon is losing the equivalent of three football fields a minute. If not enough action is taken to put them out in time, the Amazon rainforest could turn into a savanna.
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Brazil's president appeared to backtrack on his refusal to accept $20 million in G7 aid to help fight the Amazon fires, saying that he would consider accepting the money if French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes for calling him rude.Jair Bolsonaro refused the money in a Monday tweet, saying the G7's offer of help to "save" the Amazon made Brazil seem "as if we were a colony or no man's land."Advertisement
His chief of staff also suggested that the G7 aid was "colonialist and imperialist," and singled out Macron, who has been at the forefront of Western condemnation of Brazil's response to the fires.
Brazil's refusal of the G7's money came as Bolsonaro and Macron - who hosted this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France - exchanged personal barbs amid their disagreement over how to handle the fires.After Bolsonaro appeared to endorse a Facebook post mocking the age gap between 41-year-old Macron and his 66-year-old wife Brigitte over the weekend, the French president called his Brazilian counterpart's actions "extraordinarily rude" and "sad."
"First, he called me a liar," he continued, referring to Macron's accusation last week that Bolsonaro had lied about his country's climate commitments.
"Then, the information I had is that our sovereignty is up for grabs in the Amazon," Bolsonaro continued."So, before talking or accepting anything that comes out of France's best possible intentions, he will have to take those words out and then we can talk."Advertisement
The Elysée Palace has not yet responded to Business Insider's request for comment.
- On Thursday, Macron tweeted an image of the Amazon fires, saying: "Our house is burning. Literally."
- On Friday, he publicly opposed a free trade deal between the EU and a bloc of South American states including Brazil over Bolsonaro's inaction over the climate change. (The EU's ambassador in Brasilia has since told Euractiv that the deal will not be affected.)
- On Sunday, Brazil's education minister called Macron an "opportunistic cretin seeking the support of the French farm lobby."
- That same day, Bolsonaro appeared to endorse a Facebook post containing two photos - one of 41-year-old Macron and his 66-year-old wife Brigitte, and the other of 64-year-old Bolsonaro and his 37-year-old wife Michelle.
- The caption of the post read: "Now you understand why Macron is persecuting Bolsonaro?" To which the Brazilian president responded: "Do not humiliate (him)... man, ha ha."
- On Monday, Macron called Bolsonaro's comments "extraordinarily rude," adding: "I have great respect for the Brazilian people and can only hope they soon have a president who is up to the job."
- Bolsonaro refused the G7's offer of $20 million in aid that same day. Both he and chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, likened the gesture to colonialism.
- Lorenzoni added in a statement to Brazil's G1 news site: "Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," in reference to the Notre Dame blaze in April. "What does he intend to teach our country?"
- Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Brazil's defense minister, claimed on Monday that the country had the fires "under control," without giving further details. Some of the fires had been extinguished as of Tuesday, but many remain.
Brazil's refusal of the G7 funds may also be linked to the country's longstanding fear that other nations will try to seize it and deny Brazilians from using its natural resources, Business Insider Sinéad Baker reported.
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