U-turn: Bolsonaro open to foreign aid to fight Amazon fires

(EurActiv, 27 Aug 2019) Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is willing to accept foreign aid for fighting fires devastating the Amazon rainforest, but only if the country controls the funds, his spokesman said Tuesday (27 August).

The announcement suggests Bolsonaro has dropped an earlier demand that French President Emmanuel Macron withdraw “insults” made against him before he would accept a G7 offer to help put out the fires in the world’s largest rainforest.

“The Brazilian government through President Bolsonaro is open to receiving financial support from organizations and even countries,” Otavio Rego Barros told reporters in the capital Brasilia, without referring specifically to the G7’s offer.

“The essential point is that this money, on entering Brazil, will be under the control of the Brazilian people.”

Bolsonaro has been involved in an escalating war of words with Macron over the worst fires to hit the Amazon in years — blazes that have sparked a global outcry and threatened to torpedo a huge trade deal between the European Union and South American countries.

A top Brazilian official on Monday rejected the G7 countries’ offer of $20 million to combat the fires devastating the forest in Brazil and Bolivia, saying Macron should take care of “his home and his colonies.”

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EurActiv, 27 Aug 2019: U-turn: Bolsonaro open to foreign aid to fight Amazon fires