Brazil’s Bolsonaro fuels spat with Europe, fires soar

Ariquemes, Brazil, Aug 31 (AFP/APP):President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday that Europe has “nothing to teach” Brazil about preserving the environment, as the country aligns itself with the United States over fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader’s comments come as the latest official data show thousands of new fires were ignited across Brazil on Thursday — the first day of a ban on burning — with most of them in the Amazon basin.

Offers of international help to combat the worst fires in the Amazon in years have been made, but the issue has provoked accusations in Brazil that foreign countries — particularly in Europe — were trying to meddle in its affairs.

Brazil has found an ally in the United States where President Donald Trump praised Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis and offered US assistance.

After meeting Trump at the White House on Friday, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said the two countries had similar views on the fires.

The talks were also attended by Bolsonaro’s son and hopeful ambassador to the United States, Eduardo.
“I think we’re on the same page, the governments are on the same page,” Araujo told reporters, explaining that this means pushing back against what he said was interference in Brazil’s affairs by foreign governments concerned over the rainforest’s future.

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