04:46 GMT01 March 2021
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    Intense fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest have sparked a series of heated clashes between the Brazilian president and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The Latin American powerhouse even vowed to reject an offer of at least $22 million in aid from the G7 nations unless the French head of state withdraws his "insults."

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has accused Germany, and “in particular France”, of “buying our sovereignty".

    "It seems that $20 million is our price. Brazil doesn't have a price of 20 million or 20 trillion - it's the same thing for us", he said.

    Bolsonaro promised that his country would accept bilateral aid, but raised doubts whether Brazil would agree to the G7’s crutch.

    Brazil’s right-wing president repeated his claims that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron should withdraw his recent remarks, although the Brazilian government earlier welcomed all foreign aid to help tackle the forest fires in the Amazon, as long as it could control it.

    "Only after he withdraws what he said... we can talk again", Bolsonaro, who earlier threatened to reject $22.2 million from the G7 nations over Macron’s “insults”, insisted after he discussed the Amazon crisis with Chile's President Sebastian Pinera.

    The Amazonia fires had already heated up the war of words between the two presidents before the G7 summit began in the French resort town of Biarritz on Saturday. Macron called the fires in South America a serious international crisis and criticised his Brazilian counterpart for not living up to his obligations to combat climate change. He also accused him of lying about his commitment to fight deforestation. On Monday, Macron said that the Group of Seven industrialised countries would urgently allocate about 20 million euros [$22.2 million] to help extinguish the fires. Bolsonaro hit back at Macron with a tweet, saying that the G7 proposal treats the region like a colony.

    The spat reached a new level after Bolsonaro's reported reaction to a Facebook comment, suggesting that Macron is envious of him, as his 66-year-old wife Brigitte is supposedly less attractive than 37-year-old Brazilian First Lady Michelle. Macron branded his Brazilian counterpart "extremely disrespectful" to France's first lady and hinted that Bolsonaro might not be suitable for the top post.

    Although Bolsonaro vowed that Brazil would reject the offer of least $20 million from the G7 nations to tackle the fires in the Amazon rainforest unless Macron withdraws his "insults", the Brazilian government later welcomed all foreign aid from organisations or countries to help fight the forest fires in the Amazon, as long as it could decide how to use the assistance. Bolsonaro earlier pledged in an address to his nation to mobilise the army to help combat the blazes.

    The Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the Earth's atmospheric oxygen, is reportedly burning at a record rate due to wildfires.

    According to satellite data provided by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, this year the wildfire area had increased 82 percent compared to 2018. There were reportedly 1,663 new fires registered in the country last week, half of them in the Amazon basin.


    France's Emmanuel Macron Slams Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for Mocking His Wife, Brigitte
    Bolsonaro Refuses to Talk About G7 Offer on Amazon Aid Unless Macron Withdraws ‘Insults’
    Bolsonaro Using Wildfire Funds Spat with France’s Macron to Rally Fleeting Support Base
    'DesculpaBrigitte': Brazilians Apologise to French First Lady for Bolsonaro’s Facebook Remark
    Jair Bolsonaro, Emmanuel Macron, forest fire, Amazon, rainforest, Brazil, France
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