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Brazil President Bolsonaro open to G7 aid if Macron 'withdraws insults'

Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 27, 2019, 06.35 PM (IST)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he was open to discussing G7 aid for fighting fires in the Amazon if his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron "withdraws insults" made against him, news agency AFP reported. 

"To talk or accept anything from France, with the best possible intentions, he (Macron) has to withdraw these words, and from there we can talk," AFP quoted Bolsonaro as saying.

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.

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

"Did I say that? Did I?" Bolsonaro said when questioned about Lorenzoni's comments.

"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."

Earlier the Brazilian government has rejected G7 aid of 20 million euros to fight Amazon fires.

"We appreciate (the offer), but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news website.

"Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site. What does he intend to teach our country?" Lorenzoni continued, referring to the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral.

Macron had accused Bolsonaro of lying about a June pledge to fight global warming and threatened to block efforts to seal a major trade deal between the EU and South America's Mercosur nations over the Amazon crisis.

(With inputs from agencies) 

Story highlights

"To talk or accept anything from France, with the best possible intentions, he (Macron) has to withdraw these words, and from there we can talk," Bolsonaro told reporters.