Brazil's leader snubs French minister for haircut

REUTERS
BRASILIA
Published 02.08.2019 00:30

Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro canceled a meeting this week with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, getting a haircut instead, amid deepening tensions over climate change policy that could endanger the EU-Mercosur trade accord.

Bolsonaro's spokesman cited an agenda clash, even though the meeting with the French cabinet minister was canceled just one hour before. Bolsonaro went for a haircut at the time of the scheduled meeting with Le Drian on Monday, and broadcast it live on Facebook.

Le Drian, who was on a tour of Latin American countries, said on Tuesday that he was carrying a message from French President Emmanuel Macron requesting implementation of the landmark Paris climate accord, respect of EU environmental and sanitary rules and protection of "sensitive" agricultural sectors. Last month in Japan, Macron said he would not sign the recently negotiated trade deal between the European Union and the South American Mercosur trade bloc if Bolsonaro pulls Brazil out of the Paris climate accord.

Bolsonaro had expected to hear criticism of his environmental policies from Le Drian. "Today I will meet with the French minister, if I am not mistaken, to discuss the environment, and he should not get tough with me," Bolsonaro told reporters on Monday morning. "He will have to understand that the Brazilian government changed and that subservience we had in the past with other governments does not exist anymore," Bolsonaro said.

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