São Paulo (dpa) - The Brazilian government wants to decide for itself on the use of the aid promised by the G7 countries for the fight against the devastating forest fires in the Amazon.
"The Brazilian people and the Brazilian government decide how the funds will be used," said Environment Minister Ricardo Salles on Monday in São Paulo. "In any case, help is always welcome."
Previously, the industrialized nations had pledged $ 20 million (about 17.9 million euros) in emergency aid for the fight against the fires in the rainforest at the Biarritz G7 summit. The funds are mainly intended for the provision of fire fighting aircraft. France's head of state Emmanuel Macron had put the fires on the agenda of the meeting in the short term.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro had been outraged that the G7 states were interfering in Brazil's internal affairs. "We can not accept that President Macron is driving inappropriate attacks on the Amazon and hiding his intentions behind an 'alliance' of the G7 states to 'rescue' the Amazon as if we were a colony or no-man's-land," the head of state wrote Monday on twitter.
Macron described Biarritz as a "common good" in the Amazon region and cited the responsibility of the international community for the region. Because the Amazon rainforest can bind large amounts of CO2, it is critical to the global climate. "Respect for the sovereignty of a country is the least that can be expected in a civilized world," Bolsonaro continued.
In Brazil, the heaviest forest fires have been raging for years. Since January, according to the latest data from the Brazilian space agency INPE, the number of fires and slash-and-burn operations in the largest country in South America increased by 78 percent to more than 80,000 fires. In most cases, privately owned land was affected, but also in nature reserves and lands of the indigenous population are constantly breaking out of fire.
Environmentalists and indigenous groups accuse Brazil's right-wing President Bolsonaro of creating a climate where farmers, lumberjacks and gold diggers are encouraged to keep digging. According to media reports, farmers in the state of Pará have arranged for a "Day of Fire" and set fire to large forest areas.
«There is a suspicion of an orchestrated action. There is a suspicion that this has been planned for a long time, "said Attorney General Raquel Dodge. It initiated criminal investigations against the alleged arsonists.
Meanwhile, the local farmers' association denied coordinated slash-and-burn in the region. "If there was such a thing, it was an isolated case. We know nothing about an orchestrated action, "said the president of the association in Novo Progresso, Agamenon da Silva Menezes, the news agency Agência Brasil. "Nobody wants fires that could get out of hand. That harms everyone. »