G7 leaders agree on $20M wildfire aid package for Amazon countries

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:35 PM PT — Monday, August 26, 2019

A deal struck by international leaders at the G7 summit to develop a $20 million Amazon fund is met with lackluster support from Brazil. Shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron outlined the plan Monday, his Brazilian counterpart accused him of treating the country like a “colony.”

President Jair Bolsonaro, who’s been locked in a public dispute with Macron, said any joint plan about the region’s future should be made by the countries directly affected in order to protect their “sovereignty and natural wealth.”

“Do you think someone helps someone else to not be poor without something in return?” questioned the Brazilian leader. “Why do they have their eye on the Amazon, what do they want there?”

While Bolsonaro did not immediately clarify if he would cooperate with the plan, his environmental minister said the funding is “welcome.” A large amount of that money will go toward firefighting planes and military support on the ground.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera attend a joint press conference that focused on climate during the G7 summit Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in Biarritz. G-7 countries have agreed to an immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)

“We think that we have to protect these real lungs of our world (the Amazon rainforest), and that’s why I’m very happy that we have been able to reach an agreement and go in support of those countries immediately,” stated Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

While President Trump was unable to make the meeting in person due to a scheduling issue, Macron said the U.S. is completely on board with the Amazon deal.

“We had a discussion with President Trump, a long and very positive one, about the situation in the Amazon,” said Macron. “He shares the objectives that we are following and that have been reflected in this G7 summit initiative, so that is the first point.”

The second part of the agreement calls for a long-term plan for reforestation that would replenish biodiversity in areas destroyed by the fires. If the framework proves successful, the leaders expressed interest in applying it to Africa’s rainforests, which are also under threat from fires.

Firefighters work to put out fires in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the National Forest of Jacunda, near to the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil’s Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations said Sunday they were preparing to help Brazil fight the fires burning across the Amazon rainforest and repair the damage even as tens of thousands of soldiers were being deployed to fight the blazes that have caused global alarm. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

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