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Spurning Amazon aid, Bolsonaro demands apology from Macron

Firefighters rest briefly as they put out fires along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil's Amazon, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. The Group of Seven nations on Monday pledged tens of millions of dollars to help Amazon countries fight raging wildfires, even as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused rich countries of treating the region like a "colony." (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Summary

As the Amazon burns, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is waiting for French President Emmanuel Macron to apologize

Bolsonaro says Brazil will only accept offer of international aid if Macron retracts comments he finds offensive

The G7 has committed millions of dollars to help deal with the Amazon fires

JACUNDA NATIONAL FOREST, Brazil — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday said Brazil will only accept an offer of international aid to fight Amazon fires if French leader Emmanuel Macron retracts comments that he finds offensive.

Bolsonaro said Macron had called him a liar and he accused the French president of questioning Brazil’s sovereignty amid tensions over fires sweeping the Amazon region.

Macron has to retract some of his comments “and then we can speak,” Bolsonaro said.

He spoke a day after the Group of Seven nations pledged $20 million to help fight the flames in the Amazon and protect the rainforest, in addition to a separate $12 million from Britain and $11 million from Canada.

Macron, who has questioned Bolsonaro’s trustworthiness and commitment to protecting biodiversity, has shrugged off the snub from the Brazilian president.

The French leader said in a speech Tuesday that Bolsonaro’s interpretation is a “mistake.”

He said the money isn’t just aimed at Brazil but at nine countries in the Amazon region, including Colombia and Bolivia. France too considers itself an Amazon country via its overseas region of French Guiana.

Macron and Bolsonaro have been feuding over social media in recent days.

Equipped with hoses connected to rubber backpacks, Brazilian firefighters in the Amazon on Monday raced in a truck along dirt roads toward plumes of smoke after a spotter in a military helicopter directed them to a fast-spreading fire.

A landowner opened the gate of a barbed wire fence and the firefighters set to work, dousing a fire they believed was intentionally set to prepare land for crops or pasture. When their water supply ran out, they made a fire break, clearing brush with machetes and chain saws to starve the blaze of its fuel.

A fire burns trees and brush along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in the Vila Nova Samuel region which is part of Brazil’s Amazon, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. The Group of Seven nations on Monday pledged tens of millions of dollars to help Amazon countries fight raging wildfires, even as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused rich countries of treating the region like a “colony.” (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)