Brazil Will 'Reject' $30 Million From G7 To Fight Amazon Fires
Leaders at the G7 Summit pledged $30 million to help battle the Amazon fires, but Brazil is poised to reject the money.
The number of fires burning in the Amazon have risen by 79 percent in this year,
G7 countries committed more than $30 million to help battle the blazes, but Brazilian officials have rejected the offer.
Onyx Lorenzoni, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's Chief of Staff, called the money "colonialist and imperialist practices", in an interview with Brazilian news outlet Globo.
"Thanks, but perhaps these resources are more relevant to reforesting Europe," he said.
"Can Macron not even prevent a predictable fire in a church that is a World Heritage Site and wants to teach what for our country? He has a lot to look after at home and in the French colonies."
French President Emmanuel Macron is shrugging off Brazil's rejection of international aid to fight Amazon wildfires, saying the money is aimed at nine countries in the region and is a sign of friendship - not "aggressiveness."
In a diplomatic speech on Tuesday, Macron called that interpretation a "mistake." He said, "We would happily accept international solidarity, it's a sign of friendship."
READ MORE: Amazon Rainforest Fires: What Is Being Done?
He said the money isn't just aimed at Brazil but at nine countries in the Amazon region, including Colombia and Bolivia. France too considers itself an Amazon country via its overseas region of French Guiana.
Macron and Bolsonaro have been in a war of words, after the French leader shared his dismay as the "the lungs of the earth" continued to burn.
Our house is burning. Literally," Macron tweeted on Friday morning.
"It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days."
Bolsonaro hit back, warning the leaders to not interfere with his country's issues.
"The sensationalist tone with which he refers to the Amazon (appealing even to fake photos) does nothing to solve the problem," he tweeted just hours later.
Weak rainfall is unlikely to extinguish the record number of fires, with pockets of precipitation through September 10 expected to bring only isolated relief, according to weather data and two experts.
While Brazil’s government has launched a firefighting initiative, deploying troops and military planes, those efforts will only extinguish smaller blazes and help prevent new fires, experts said. Larger infernos can only be put out by rainfall.
With AAP & Reuters