Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected an offer of aid from G7 countries to help in the fight against the Amazon wildfires.
French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of the G7 summit which ended on Monday, said that €19.8 million would be given to Brazil in order to help tackle the situation.
Whilst Brazilian officials have given no particular reason as to why the Brazilian government rejected the offer, President Bolsonaro accused France of almost colonising Brazil and treating it like one.
Continuing to try to mask the problem, Bolsonaro’s defence minister said that the fires erupting in the Amazon were not out of control.
Onyx Lorenzoni, Mr Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, commented on the offer, saying “Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe.”
He also added that “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?” This comment was made in reference to the Notre-Dame cathedral fire back in April.
Whilst Mr Lorenzoni also added that Brazil is exemplary in its protection of native forests and could teach “any nation” on how to protect them, statistics show that a record number of forest fires have started in Brazil, mainly in the Amazon, according to Inpe, Brazil’s space research agency.
Mr Macron stated last week that these fires are an “international crisis”, with the Amazon rainforest being crucial to global economies, as well as health.
Whilst Mr Bolsonaro previously stated that the Brazilian government lacked the resources required to fight the wildfires, the rejection of the financial aid handed to the country by the G7 comes as no surprise, given his insistence to remain prideful and handle the situation on his own.
During his announcement on behalf of the G7 on Monday, Macron said that the funds would be made available immediately, mainly in order to pay for more fire-fighting planes.
Apart from this, Macron also said that France would be ready to provide “concrete support with military in the region”.
In what is currently a conflicted government, Bolsonaro’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, initially said that the funding was more than welcome.