Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he will reject over $40 million of aid to fight Amazon wildfires unless French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes for comments he deemed offensive.
Mr. Bolsonaro said Mr. Macron was undermining Brazil’s autonomy and labeled him a liar, The Associated Press reported.
He told the French president to retract the comments “and then we can speak.”
Mr. Macron has questioned in the past whether Mr. Bolsonaro can be trusted in environmental issues.
This news comes after Brazilian officials rejected $20 million from this weekend’s Group of Seven summit — along with another $21 million in additional aid — to combat the Amazon wildfires.
Mr. Bolsonaro slammed Mr. Macron for “unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region” and “hiding his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of G-7 countries.”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Bolsonaro has criticized Mr. Macron’s calls to curb the burning of the Amazon rainforest.
When Mr. Macron called it an “international crisis,” Mr. Bolsonaro accused the French president of using a “colonial mindset” for “political gain.”
Onyx Lorenzoni, Mr. Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, also took shots at Mr. Macron, telling Globo news site, “Thanks, but maybe those resources 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 said, referring to the April fire in Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral.
Mr. Macron spearheaded the funds that were agreed to by the rest of the G-7 — Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. — offering Brazil millions to fund more firefighting planes and to “offer concrete support with military in the region.”
Canada and Britain each pledged a separate $11 million and $12 million, respectively.
Brazil’s space research center reported this week that the number of fires in the Amazon has risen by 80% this year and that more than 99% of those blazes were caused by humans.