Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Italy demands apology of the President of France

Italy demands apology of the President of France

There have also been been tensions with Malta and Spain after Italy refused to open its ports for the Aquarius ship carrying hundreds of migrants, while Conte himself surprised some European allies by siding with President Donald Trump's overtures to Russian Federation at a Group of Seven nations summit in Quebec. It originally carried 629 migrants but some were later moved onto two Italian vessels escorting it to Spain.

Italy demanded an apology from France on Wednesday after French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who claimed to be quoting Macron, said Italy had acted with "cynicism and a measure of irresponsibility" by refusing to allow the charity-run boat, the Aquarius, to dock.

France also said it was willing to take in migrants from the Aquarius after they arrive in Spain if they "meet the criteria for asylum".

The meeting with Merkel will begin at 1700 GMT and be immediately preceded by statements to the press, the statement from Conte's office said. The proposals should be discussed at next European summit at end of June.

In a swipe at France, Italy's government said it will not accept "hypocritical lessons from countries that have preferred to look the other way on immigration".

Earlier this week Salvini joined forces with the German and Austrian foreign ministers in an "axis of the willing" to combat illegal immigration.

In other signs of the continuing clash, Italy summoned the French ambassador for consultations, canceled a planned meeting between finance ministers and warned that diplomatic relations between the two European Union members had been compromised.

Italy has received more than 700,000 migrants and refugees since 2013. "He who puts his feet in Italy puts his feet in Europe", said Mr Conte, who was a law professor before he became premier. Rome says only migrants rescued by Italian ships can be brought to Italian ports.

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Discussions were complicated by a report released Friday by Oxfam, highlighting the plight of almost 20,000 migrants languishing at the Italy-France border without adequate water, food, shelter, or counsel on their rights. In a statement, the sixth fleet said the USA ship, the Trenton, was "coordinating" with authorities. The working lunch with Conte is scheduled to go ahead Friday after macron denied calling Italy "cynical and irresponsible" for closing its ports to the Aquarius.(ANSAmed).

However, Conte said Friday the two had "fully clarified" their views and were in "perfect agreement".

According to the newspaper The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for the first time macron has unveiled his idea of the March 20 worldwide day of Francophonie, which marks the establishment of the global cooperation organization of French-speaking countries.

Macron said he supported the measure and other "profound reforms" of the EU's asylum rules, and added the European Union had not shown enough solidarity with Italy, which is the first country many migrants from North Africa arrive at when they enter the bloc.

The pope made the comments Friday during an audience with Italian workers.

Despite criticism from the pope and the United Nations refugee agency, which called the treatment of the migrants on the Aquarius "shameful", Salvini has not changed his position.

Merkel refused a closed-door policy on the migrant issue, and more than 1.6 million people have arrived in Germany since 2014.

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