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Brazil rejecting G-7 aid to fight Amazon fires

Brazil's leaders are rejecting a $20 million offer from Group of Seven (G-7) member nations to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Brazil's ambassador to France said on French TV that the fund was "interference" and was approved without Brazil, according to Politico Europe

"We refuse because we see interference. [It’s] help we didn’t ask for," he said. "The G-7 help was decided without Brazil.”

He added that the "language is ambiguous." 

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, also told Globo news website in response to the offer: "Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," according to Politico. 

"Macron cannot even avoid a predictable fire in a church that is part of the world's heritage, and he wants to give us lessons for our country?" Lorenzoni added, referring to French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE and the fire at Notre Dame in Paris earlier this year. 

The fires in the Amazon rainforest have caused global concern. 

Bolsonaro in the 2018 election said he would open up the forest for business development and has blamed the country's environmental policies for “suffocating” its economy.

The country's National Institute for Space Research released data earlier this year that showed that deforestation increased by 88 percent in June in comparison to the previous June. Fires in Brazil also increased 85 percent this year compared to 2018 and a majority happened in the Amazon, according to the institute. 

Bolsonaro attempted to blame the wildfires on nongovernmental organizations, saying that groups set fires to make him look bad. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE has offered frequent praise for the new Brazilian leader, who earned the nickname "Trump of the Tropics" last year when he ran a populist right-wing campaign. 

Trump has also expressed significant skepticism about climate change, which experts say the forest fires could accelerate if not controlled, calling it a hoax engineered by China.

The G-7 countries agreed the aid package during a meeting on Monday that Trump did not attend.

Updated at 9:55 a.m.