Advert

Italy still waiting for apology from France's Macron - Deputy PM

Conte meeting with Macron will still go ahead

Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio.

Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio.

Updated at 10.20am

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday he still expects French President Emmanuel Macron to apologise for critical comments he made about Italian immigration policy two days ago.

Macron said Rome had acted with "cynicism and irresponsibility" by closing its ports to a migrant ship earlier this week, setting off a bitter diplomatic spat between the two countries, with Italy's new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte considering putting off a meeting with Macron due on Friday.

"We're waiting for an apology. If we get one, we can start down a new path," Di Maio said in a radio interview.

"There's still time to take a step back, apologise, and then start over."

In the meantime, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday confirmed his planned Friday meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, a statement said, after a conciliatory phone call between the two politicians.

Conte had considered pushing back the visit amid a diplomatic spat that broke out with France after Italy closed its ports to a humanitarian migrant rescue ship earlier this week. Macron and Conte spoke by telephone on Thursday evening, a statement said.

"President Macron underscored that he did not say anything that was meant to offend Italy or the Italian people," a statement from the Italian prime minister's office said.

"Macron and Conte agreed that with the end-June European Union summit looming, it is necessary that new initiatives are discussed together."

Pope Francis also weighed in on the issue and on Thursday called for a "change in mindset" on migration policies, saying international cooperation was vital.

Francis made his comments in a message to participants at a conference on international migration being held in the Vatican. He called for the "shared global management of international migration in the values of justice, solidarity and compassion".

Francis, who has made defence of migrants and refugees a major plank of his papacy, said overcoming the current migration crisis "demands a change in mindset".

He said countries "must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society."

The pope said the trans-national dimension of the migration crisis required "the assistance of the entire international community" because it exceeded the capacity of individual states.

"Such international cooperation is important at every stage of migration: from departing one’s country of origin all the way to reaching one’s destination, as well as facilitating reentry and transit," Francis said.

"In each of these countries, migrants are vulnerable, feeling alone and isolated. The recognition of this fact is vitally important if we wish to give a concrete and dignified response to this humanitarian challenge," he said.

 

Advert
Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus  
Advert
Advert