Trump aide says US is keen to tackle blazes engulfing parts of the world's largest rainforest but it prefers a plan that includes a discussion with Brazil's government.
The US is ready and willing to help Brazil fight forest fires in the Amazon, an aide to President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, but only if it involves working with the Brazilian government.
"The US stands ready to assist Brazil in efforts to combat fires in the Amazon," National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis tweeted late Wednesday.
But the Trump administration prefers a plan that includes a discussion with Brazil's government, he said.
"We didn't agree to a G7 initiative that failed to include consultations w/@jairbolsonaro. The most constructive way to assist w/ Brazil's ongoing efforts is in coordination w/ the Brazilian Gov."
President Bolsonaro has actively encouraged the Amazon fires and rejected help from the G7 to combat them. Trump just pledged his full support to Bolsonaro.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 27, 2019
At a time when the planet depends on American leadership, Trump has failed.
Bolsonaro's clash with EU
On Monday the countries of the G7 –– Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US, pledged $20 million to tackle blazes engulfing parts of the world's largest rainforest that is crucial for maintaining a stable global climate.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly clashed with European leaders, especially France's President Emmanuel Macron, over Brazil's handling of the Amazon crisis.
Bolsonaro at first rejected the G7's offer, saying on Tuesday that he would be willing to accept the aid only if Macron withdrew his "insults," before changing his mind to say Brazil would accept foreign aid on the condition that it controlled the money.
But later on Wednesday, the South American leader fired a fresh salvo, accusing France and Germany of "buying" Brazil's national sovereignty and throwing into doubt whether his country was still open to accepting the aid funds.
Trump, who met with Bolsonaro at the White House in March, tweeted his "full and complete support" for the Brazilian president Tuesday and praised him for his "very hard" work on the Amazon crisis.
“The Amazon is the world’s largest and most diverse tract of rainforest, with millions of species and billions of trees.”— Climate Reality (@ClimateReality) August 29, 2019
The Earth’s lungs are on fire and we need to demand action before it’s gone. https://t.co/WwuSIhQ0jp pic.twitter.com/cEzjMLYYpI
Scuttling trade deal
Macron has accused Bolsonaro of lying to him about his commitments on climate change and vowed to block the EU-Mercosur trade deal involving Brazil that took decades to negotiate.
Although about 60 percent of the Amazon is located in Brazil, the vast forest also spreads over parts of either other countries or territories in South America.