French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday August 26th that the Amazon is a world issue. Meanwhile, the Brazilian government has rejected the $20 million in G7 aid intended to fight the fires in the country, according to AP.
Speaking on French TV after hosting the G7 summit in the resort of Biarritz, Macron delivered a message to his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro: "We cannot allow you to destroy everything."
Amid tensions with Bolsonaro over his handling of fires in the Amazon, “the lungs of the planet”, and his pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the forest, Macron said: "We respect your sovereignty. It's your country."
"[But] the Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance. But we cannot allow you to destroy everything," Macron said.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian presidency rejected the G7 countries’ $20 million aid offer to fight the blazes.
"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 slammed Macron’s comments and said he should better take care of "his home and his colonies."
"Macron cannot even prevent a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," he added, referring to the fire that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral in April. "What does he intend to teach our country?"
"Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron," Lorenzoni said.
Lorenzoni’s announcement came after a meeting between President Bolsonaro and his ministers, who decided to reject the aid.
Hundreds of fires raging in the Amazon, mostly in Brazil, have fuelled a diplomatic spat between Bolsonaro and Macron, who have locked horns repeatedly over the past week.