Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro late Monday rejected a $22 million aid package offered by G7 countries to help battle fierce forest fires in the Amazon rainforest, which is often regarded as the planet’s “lungs”.
Speaking on social media, Bolsonaro argued there was a hidden agenda behind French President Emmanuel Macron’s aid offer, saying Brazil is not a colonial territory.
Bolsonaro went on to say that he discussed a plan with Colombian President Ivan Duque that guarantees neighboring countries' national sovereignty and natural resources in the Amazon region.
Bolsonaro’s rejection was based on the idea that the allocation of millions of dollars would harm the country’s sovereignty.
In a joint news conference Monday with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Macron announced that G7 countries would allocate $22 million in emergency funding to help with efforts to prevent fires in the Amazon rainforest. He also said France would provide military support in the region to fight the fires.
Tensions between France and Brazil rose after Macron called for an emergency meeting of G7 countries regarding the fires. Bolsonaro accused Macron of having a colonial mindset.
Notably, one of Bolsonaro’s followers mocked Macron’s wife on social media Sunday for her physical appearance and the Brazilian leader replied, saying: “Do not humiliate the guy, ha ha.”
Macron reacted to Bolsonaro’s comment, saying he was “extraordinarily rude”.
Reporting by Muhammed Emin Canik in Buenos Aires
Writing by Ali Murat Alhas