Brazil has said it will accept foreign aid to help fight fires in the Amazon, but only if it can determine how the money will be spent.
The move comes amid an increasingly bitter war of words involving French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro over the crisis.
Presidential spokesman Rego Barros said: ‘The Brazilian government, through its president, is open to receiving financial support from organizations and countries.
‘This money, when it enters the country, will have the total governance of the Brazilian people.’
Brazil has said it will accept foreign aid to help fight fires in the Amazon, but only if it can determine how it will be spent. The move comes amid an increasingly bitter war of words involving French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro (pictured)
G7 leaders pledged the $20 million after discussing the fires ravaging an area often dubbed ‘the lungs of the world’.
The offer, which was made at a summit in France, has stirred up emotions within Bolsonaro’s nationalist government.
Some officials are grateful for the much-needed help, and others view it as a colonial gesture that undermines Brazil’s control of its lands.
Bolsonaro has previously said he would only consider accepting a $20million offer of aid from the G7 if French President Emmanuel Macron withdrew the ‘insults’ against him.
Bolsonaro and Macron have been embroiled in a war of words, with Bolsonaro mocking Macron’s wife and accusing the French leader of disrespecting Brazil’s sovereignty.
The number of blazes in Brazil has skyrocketed by 80 per cent this year so far, compared to the same period in 2018, according to data from space research agency INPE
Macron has called Bolsonaro a liar and said Brazilian women are ‘probably ashamed’ of him.
Brazil’s president is finding himself increasingly isolated on the global stage over his response to the blazes, which threaten what many view as a key bulwark against global climate change.
The far-right government’s response could threaten Brazil’s trade deals and powerful agribusiness sector, which is a crucial driver of its recession-plagued economy.
Flávio Dino, the governor of Maranhao state, told reporters: ‘We think that it’s not the moment to turn down money.
‘The anti-environment rhetoric could expose Brazil to international sanctions.’
The governor’s comments came after Bolsonaro pledged to agree on a package of legislative measures with the states by September 5 to help prevent the surge in forest fires happening again.
The number of blazes in Brazil has skyrocketed by 80 per cent this year so far, compared to the same period in 2018, according to data from space research agency INPE.
Widespread rain that could snuff the fires out are likely weeks away, according to weather data.
Brazilian farmer Helio Lombardo Do Santos and a dog walk through a burnt area of the Amazon rainforest. The fires are not limited to Brazil, with at least 10,000 square kilometres burning in Bolivia
A local farmer, who declined to give his name, said he expected the fires to worsen next week when the forest is usually at its driest.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Bolsonaro, an ideological ally on the environment, China and trade.
Trump Tweeted to say the Brazilian president ‘is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil – Not easy. He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!’
Bolsonaro responded, also on Twitter: ‘We’re fighting the wildfires with great success. Brazil is and will always be an international reference in sustainable development.’
The fires are not limited to Brazil, with at least 10,000 square kilometres burning in Bolivia, near its border with Paraguay and Brazil.
Neighbors Peru and Colombia on Tuesday asked Bolsonaro to attend a meeting on September 6 to discuss the disaster and come up with a long-term coordinated plan to stop deforestation.
Norway’s environment minister on Tuesday urged representatives of oil firm Equinor, fertilizer-maker Yara and aluminium producer Norsk Hydro to make sure their supply chains in Brazil are not linked to deforestation.