Amazon Fires: Brazil President Will Only Accept Help If Macron Withdraws "Insults"

27 August 2019, 16:49 | Updated: 27 August 2019, 16:51

A fire burns along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil's Amazon.
A fire burns along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil's Amazon. Picture: PA

Brazil's president said Mr Macron called him a liar and questioned the country's sovereignty after Brazil rejected a £16m offer in aid from G7 countries.

Brazil rejected the G7 countries' financial aid to help tackle the Amazon fires after president Jair Bolsonaro said the offer would leave his country like "a colony or no man's land".

Mr Bolsonaro told reporters: "First of all, Macron has to withdraw his insults. He called me a liar.

"Before we talk or accept anything from France... he must withdraw these words then we can talk.

"First he withdraws, then offers (aid), then I will answer."

Mr Bolsonaro and Mr Macron have been embroiled in a deeply personal and public war of words in recent days, with Brazil's president appearing to mock the French leader's wife on Facebook.

Mr Macron responded by saying it was "extremely disrespectful" and "sad".

Mr Macron and Mr Bolsonaro are involved in a deeply personal and public war of words
Mr Macron and Mr Bolsonaro are involved in a deeply personal and public war of words. Picture: PA

But Foreign minister Ernesto Araujo has said a new initiative was not needed, because international mechanisms were in place to fight deforestation.

Commenting on the G7 offer of aid, Mr Bolsonaro's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, told Brazil's Globo news website: "Thanks, but maybe those resources are are more relevant to reforest Europe.

"Macron cannot even avoid a predictable fire in a church that is part of the world's heritage, and he wants to give us lessons for our country?" Mr Lorenzoni added, in a reference to the fire that hit Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in April.

The French president made the offer of financial aid for the Amazon at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz, France after leaders had discussed fires ravaging the world's largest tropical rainforest - often dubbed "the lungs of the world".

Greenpeace France described the G7's response to the crisis as "inadequate given the urgency and magnitude of this environmental disaster".

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