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Brazil's Bolsonaro demands apology from Macron before discussing Amazon fire aid

Brazil's Bolsonaro demands apology from Macron before discussing Amazon fire aid
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday demanded an apology from his French counterpart, Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronOvernight Health Care: White House seeks to clarify press release claiming pandemic over | Fauci: COVID vaccine likely not available until next year France to undergo second national coronavirus lockdown France to impose new national lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise MORE, before discussions can begin over international aid to fight wildfires in the Amazon, Reuters reported.

“First of all, Macron has to withdraw his insults. He called me a liar. Before we talk or accept anything from France ... he must withdraw these words then we can talk,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

“First he withdraws, then offers [aid], then I will answer.”

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Bolsonaro and Macron have been engaged in a war of words since the Group of Seven (G-7) nations, which includes France but not Brazil, agreed on a $20 million aid package to combat the forest fires burning the Amazon rainforest.

The Brazilian president mocked Macron’s wife on Facebook and then accused the French leader of disrespecting Brazil’s sovereignty.

Macron responded by calling Bolsonaro a liar, adding that Brazilian women are probably ashamed of their president.

Brazil seemed to reject the G-7 offer on Tuesday, with Brazil's ambassador to France calling it "interference" and Bolsonaro's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, saying the funds could be better used in Europe.

However, some members of Bolsonaro's government have expressed openness to the assistance, such as Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who called the aid “welcome.”

Brazil’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research, released data last week showing that wildfires have increased 83 percent from last year.

The 72,843 fires in a little less than nine months is a record, creating a massive threat to global biodiversity and efforts to combat climate change.

The spike has coincided with Bolsonaro's presidency, which started with the right-wing populist promising to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE has frequently praised Bolsonaro, 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.