Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s son and the country’s foreign minister visited the White House, on Friday, Aug. 30, seeking U.S. help, as firefighters battled to contain the ravaging wildfires in the Amazon.
The Brazilian leader said he asked for President Donald Trump’s help and that the U.S. president had said he is unable make a decision without meeting a Brazilian delegation.
So Bolsonaro sent his son, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro and Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo to the White House for talks.
After meeting President Trump, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro and Araújo spoke to White House reporters outside the West Wing.
“It went very well,” said Araújo, continuing, “President Trump emphasized the discussions at the G-7 and how he felt it was absurd to have some countries thinking Brazil should not have sovereignty over the Amazon in some way.”
Araújo said they are “very grateful for that stance.” He stated that the talks included joint interest in exploring the natural resources in the Amazon that will benefit the Amazon.
When asked if Brazil is accepting the G-7’s offered aid, the foreign minister replied, “There’s no G-7 offer, per se.” But only individual countries of the G-7, like the United Kingdom and the United States offered help.
Araújo stated that they are accepting the U.S. and U.K.’s offer, as in “technical support for fighting against the fires.”
Araújo told members of the White House media that Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro “will be the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.”
Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro “has been the key person in designing the new relationship between Brazil and the United States,” continued Araújo.
Bolsonaro planned to appoint his son Congressman Eduardo to be the ambassador to the United States. But the post still needs approval by the Upper House of the Brazilian Congress.
President Trump’s courteous remarks about Bolsonaro’s handling of the Amazon fires contrasted with the sharp criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron. The latter had questioned Bolsonaro’s sincerity and commitment to the environment.
“The president felt very offended, for among other reasons, because (French) President Macron called him a liar without any base,” said Araújo, who added that most Brazilian people are offended with the way Macron “was so dismissive of Brazilian sovereignty over its own territory.”
The conflict between the two leaders stalled the $20 million offer of help from the G-7 countries. The Brazilian leader said Macron has to apologize for his remarks.
Bolsonaro had initially suggested that nongovernmental organizations started the fires to damage the credibility of his government that has called for more flexible environmental regulations for the world’s largest rainforest to promote development.
Brazil banned on Thursday most legal fires for land clearing for farming and pasture for 60 days, in a bid to stop the blaze.
About 60 percent of the Amazon forest is in Brazil and the Amazon rainforests are a major absorber of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.