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Brazil Has Rejected The G7's $22M Aid Package To Fight The Amazon Fires

The money was promised by world leaders at the G7 summit in France. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s chief of staff said that France couldn’t even prevent a fire in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Last updated on August 27, 2019, at 10:40 a.m. ET

Posted on August 27, 2019, at 7:33 a.m. ET

Carl De Souza / AFP / Getty Images

A burned area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 25.

Brazil will reject $22 million worth of aid offered by the G7 to help fight fires raging in the Amazon.

The aid package, the bulk of which was for firefighting planes, was agreed to at the conclusion of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, this weekend.

But Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, said that the money would be “put to better use reforesting Europe.”

More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest in 2019. According to Brazil’s space agency INPE, that number represents an 80% increase this year.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host of the G7 summit of the world’s largest advanced economies, had called the fires an international crisis.

Jacques Witt / AFP / Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the G20 summit in Japan in June.

“The Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance," he said. "But we cannot allow you to destroy everything.”

This led to Bolsonaro accusing France and other European nations of treating Brazil like a colony.

Writing on Twitter on Monday, Bolsonaro had said that “respect for the sovereignty of any country is the least that can be expected in a civilized world.”

- Outros chefes de estado se solidarizaram com o Brasil, afinal respeito à soberania de qualquer país é o mínimo que se pode esperar num mundo civilizado.

And according to the Associated Press, Bolsonaro said Tuesday that Brazil could accept the aid funds if Macron withdraws his "insults."

Speaking to Brazil’s G1 website, Bolsonaro's chief of staff Lorenzoni had mocked the G7 offer, saying Macron should focus instead on preventing fires at Notre Dame Cathedral.

“Macron can’t even prevent a foreseeable fire in a church that is a World Heritage Site,” Lorenzoni said.

“What does he want to teach our country? He has plenty to take care of at home and in the French colonies.” French Guiana, an overseas department of France, borders northern Brazil.

Relations between Brazil's and France’s leaders are extremely poor at the moment. This weekend the Brazilian president’s official Facebook page appeared to endorse a meme mocking Macron’s wife, Brigitte.

Macron responded by saying the “incredibly disrespectful comments” were “sad first of all for [Bolsonaro] and the Brazilian people.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.