Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he would only consider a $20 million offer from the G7 nations to help fight wildfires in the Amazon if French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes to him for comments he found insulting.
Bolsonaro's conditions for accepting the money came hours after his special communications office said Brazil turned down the funds.
Brazilian leaders criticized Macron, who led the effort for the donation, slamming the amount of the offer.
"We are thankful, but maybe those resources would be more relevant to reforest Europe," Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Bolsonaro, said.
"Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," he added, a reference to fire devastating Paris' historic Notre Dame Cathedral in April.
"What does he intend to teach our country? Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron."
Later Tuesday, Bolsonaro seemed to backtrack on the idea that he turned down the money. He said he would only respond to the offer if Macron apologizes.
On Thursday, Macron called on the G7 leaders to discuss the Amazon fires at the upcoming summit in France.
"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet's oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis," he tweeted.
Bolsonaro responded to Macron by mocking the appearance of French first lady Brigitte Macron in a Facebook post. The French president called Bolsonaro's remarks "extraordinarily rude."
Bolsonaro, whose interactions with Macron have become increasingly personal, chided the French president in a Twitter post.
"We cannot accept that a president, Macron, issues inappropriate and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon," Bolsonaro wrote. "Nor that he disguises his intentions behind an 'alliance' of the G-7 countries to 'save' the Amazon as if it were a colony or no man's land."
More than 72,000 fires have burned the Amazon this year, which provides about 20 percent of the world's oxygen. The number is an 84 percent increase over 2018.
Amazon Watch, an environmental watchdog nonprofit, accused the Brazilian government of encouraging farmers there to start fires so it can create pastures for farmland.