SAU PAULO, Aug 27
Brazil rejected aid from G7 countries to fight wildfires in the Amazon, with a top official telling French Pre-sident Emmanuel Macron to take care of “his home and his colonies”.
“We appreciate [the offer] but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news website.
Lorenzoni was referring to a US$20 million pledge made at the G7 summit in France to fight the rainforest blaze.
“Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a World Heritage Site,” he said referring to the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral. The international pledges at a G7 summit in France included the US$20 million from the group, as well as a separate US$12 million from Britain and US$11 million from Cana-da. Ottawa has also offered to send firefighting planes to Brazil. Other groups are contributing support for a region whose rainforests are a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Earth Alliance, a new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCa-prio, is pledging US$5 mi- llion in aid, saying the Amazon is one of the “best de- fences” against climate change.
Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles had earlier told reporters they had welcomed the G7 funding to fight the fires that have swept across 950,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) and prompted the deployment of the army.
But after a meeting between Bolsonaro and his ministers, the Brazil government changed course on Monday.
France’s Macron attacks ‘rude’ Brazil President Bol-sonaro for mocking wife Brigitte Tensions have risen between France and Brazil after Macron tweeted that the fires burning in the Amazon basin amounted to an international crisis and should be discussed as a top priority at the G7 summit.
He and other European leaders have threatened to stall a free-trade deal between the European Union and a bloc of South American nations over Bolsona- ro’s harmful policies. AFP