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US disagrees with G7 aid offer to tackle Amazon fires
Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) The US government has said that it did not approve the offer of $20 million in aid to Brazil made by the G7 member nations to fight the devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
"We didn’t agree to a G7 initiative that failed to include consultations with (Brazilian President) Jair Bolsonaro," Garrett Marquis, the official spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
"The most constructive way to assist with Brazil’s ongoing efforts is in coordination with the Brazilian government," he said. "The US stands ready to assist Brazil in efforts to combat fires in the Amazon."
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that G7 countries will earmark $20 million to help fight the massive fires raging across Amazonia, Efe news reported.
However, Bolsonaro said the following day that he would only accept the aid if Macron retracted his statements calling the Brazilian leader a liar and suggesting the possibility of giving the Amazon "international status" to prevent its destruction, which Brazil took as an attack on its sovereignty.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has praised Bolsonaro’s handling of the fire crisis.
"I have gotten to know President Bolsonaro well in our dealings with Brazil. He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects is doing a great job for the people of Brazil," Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
Brazil has claimed that the fires in the Amazon were under control and that they are common at this time of year but that some countries are taking advantage of the situation to justify trade restrictions on Brazil.
According to the Brazilian government, fires occur every year, with August and September being the critical months as they are peak dry season.
It has also claimed that the fires currently devouring thousands of hectares of the world’s largest rainforest were less severe than those that broke out in the early 2000s.