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Brazil rejects $20M offer to fight Amazon fires, accuses Macron of offensive comments

Click to play video: 'Brazil rejects G7’s aid offer to fight Amazon wildfires' Brazil rejects G7’s aid offer to fight Amazon wildfires
ABOVE: Brazil rejects G7's aid offer to fight Amazon wildfires – Aug 27, 2019

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says Brazil will only accept an offer of international aid to fight Amazon fires if French leader Emmanuel Macron retracts comments that he finds offensive.

Bolsonaro on Tuesday said Macron had called him a liar, and he accused the French president of questioning Brazil’s sovereignty amid tensions over fires sweeping the Amazon region.

Bolsonaro says Macron has to retract some of his comments “and then we can speak.”

WATCH: Fate of G7 Amazon aid simmers amid Macron-Bolsonaro feud 

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Fate of G7 Amazon aid simmers amid Macron-Bolsonaro feud – Aug 27, 2019

“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 said. “First he withdraws, then offers (aid), then I will answer.”

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READ MORE: NASA photos show 2019 is Brazilian Amazon’s worst fire year in a decade

The Group of Seven nations has pledged US$20 million to help fight the flames in the Amazon and protect the rainforest in addition to a separate $12 million from Britain and $11 million (C$15 million) from Canada.

Brazil rejected the offer Tuesday morning following the close of this year’s G7 summit in France after Macron put the Amazon fires high on the agenda. Near the end of the event, world powers pledged a total of approximately $40 million to help fight the blaze and plant new trees because of the Amazon’s significance to the world’s climate.

WATCH: Amazon fires continue to burn as Bolsonaro rages against Macron

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Amazon fires continue to burn as Bolsonaro rages against Macron – Aug 27, 2019

The two leaders have become embroiled in a deeply personal and public war of words in recent days, with Bolsonaro mocking Macron’s wife on Facebook and accusing the French leader of disrespecting Brazil‘s sovereignty.

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Macron has questioned Bolsonaro’s trustworthiness and commitment to protecting biodiversity.

READ MORE: Canada offers to help Brazil fight Amazon forest fires as flames take centre stage at G7

Bolsonaro accused France and other rich countries of treating the region like a “colony.”

Macron said in a speech Tuesday that Bolsonaro’s interpretation is a “mistake.”

WATCH: Brazil’s president is facing mounting international pressure to find a solution to the raging wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

Click to play video: 'International pressure mounts on Brazil to save Amazon rain forests' International pressure mounts on Brazil to save Amazon rain forests
International pressure mounts on Brazil to save Amazon rain forests – Aug 24, 2019

He said the money isn’t just aimed at Brazil but at nine countries in the Amazon region, including Colombia and Bolivia. France, too, considers itself an Amazon country via its overseas region of French Guiana.

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Speaking to reporters in Brasilia on Tuesday, Bolsonaro appeared to adopt a slightly more conciliatory stance.

READ MORE: Leonardo DiCaprio fund donating $5M to help quell Amazon fires

“Did I say that? Did I?” Bolsonaro said when questioned about Lorenzoni’s comments.

The number of blazes recorded across the Brazilian Amazon has risen 79 per cent this year through Aug. 25, according to Brazil‘s space research agency. The fires are not limited to Brazil, with at least 10,000 square kilometres (about 3,800 square miles) burning in Bolivia near its border with Paraguay and Brazil.

WATCH: Protesters in Rio de Janeiro demand action from Bolsonaro government as Amazon burns

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Protesters in Rio de Janeiro demand action from Bolsonaro government as Amazon burns – Aug 23, 2019

But Brazil is at the epicentre of the blazes, which Bolsonaro has blamed on environmentalists, non-governmental organizations and the weather. He has also said fires in the Amazon were more prevalent under previous left-wing governments.

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Weak rainfall is unlikely to extinguish a record number of fires raging in Brazil‘s Amazon anytime soon, with pockets of precipitation through Sept. 10 expected to bring only isolated relief, according to weather data and two experts.

— With a file from the Associated Press

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