Brazil will accept G7 countries’ offer to provide more than $20 million to Amazonian countries to help fight forest fires only if the leader of France withdraws his "insults," Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday.
Bolsonaro denied rejecting the financial aid but told reporters his country has a few conditions before it is accepted, according to Spanish channel RTVE.
"First of all, Mr. Macron has to take back the insults he made against me. First he called me a liar and then, by the information I got, he said our sovereignty in the Amazon was an open issue," the far-right leader said.
"To talk and accept anything from France, which is the best possible intentions, he will have to withdraw those words and then we can talk," he added.
U.S. President Donald Trump threw his support behind Bolsonaro on Tuesday.
"He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil - Not easy,” Trump tweeted. "He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!.”
Bolsonaro thanked Trump for his support and said Brazil is fighting the wildfires with "great success."
"Brazil is and will always be an international reference in sustainable development. The fake news campaign built against our sovereignty will not work," he tweeted. "The US can always count on Brazil."
Macron announced Monday that G7 countries agreed to provide €20 million ($22.2 million) to Amazonian countries to fight ever increasing rainforest fires that have already risen 84% this year compared to last year.
The fires in the rainforest, known as the "lungs of the earth,” reduce biodiversity and speed global warming.
Bolsonaro responded on social media that he is in conversation with his Colombian counterpart to develop a joint plan between the majority of countries on the Amazon to "guarantee the sovereignty and natural wealth".
Macron has "different intentions" behind the idea of a G7 alliance to save the Amazon and is treating the region "as if we were a colony or a nobody's land," said Bolsonaro, who added that Macron's "unreasonable attacks" on the Amazon are not acceptable.
Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Lorenzoni Onyx, later said G7 countries would use the funds to "reforest Europe".
"Macron can’t even prevent a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," Lorenzoni told Brazil’s G1 news website, referring to the fire that damaged the Notre Dame cathedral in April.
"What does he want to teach our country?" he asked, saying that Macron has "plenty to take care of at home and in the French colonies."
By Beyza Binnur Donmez