- The French government has summoned Italian ambassador, Teresa Castaldo, on Monday, January 22, over harsh remarks on the country
- Di Maio, the country's deputy prime minister said that there are many African migrants in the country because of its role in the colonisation of the continent
- Di Maio urged the EU to sanction France for impoverishing Africa and for migrants to be taken to the southern French port of Marseille rather than Italy
The French foreign ministry has summoned the Italian ambassador after Luigi Di Maio, the country's deputy prime minister, blamed migrant arrivals on France’s ‘colonisation' of Africa.
Teresa Castaldo was summoned Monday, January 22, by Nathalie Loiseau, the cabinet chief of French European affairs, over the allegedly harsh comments reported by Ansa, the Italian news outfit, The Guardian reports.
Di Maio, who leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), launched his attack against France during a rally in the central Abruzzo region on Sunday, January 20.
He said: “If today people are leaving Africa it is because some European countries, with France taking the lead, have never stopped colonising tens of African states.”
Di Maio urged the EU to sanction France for “impoverishing Africa” and for migrants to be taken to the southern French port of Marseille rather than Italy.
An estimated 170 people were feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean recently on their way to Europe from Libya.
Ansa reported that the remarks were “hostile and without cause given the partnership between France and Italy in the European Union”.
This is said to be the most recent fight Italy has picked against France since M5S came to power in coalition with the far-right League in mid 2018.
Di Maio has never quite forgiven the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for speaking about “populist leprosy” in a reported criticism of the Italian government shortly after it was formed.
Earlier in January 2018, he urged France’s gilets jaunes, who have held several violent anti-government protests since early December, to “not give up”.
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Italy also summoned the French ambassador after Macron criticised Italy for “cynicism and irresponsibility” when the country’s leaders turned away a migrant rescue ship with more than 600 people on board weeks after coming to power. Di Maio refused to back down on hearing that Castaldo had been summoned.
Di Maio said: “I don’t think this is a diplomatic incident, I think it is all true,” he said. “France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 states prevents development and contributes to the departure of refugees.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Mamoudou Gassama had taken his first step towards French citizenship on Tuesday, May 29, by joining the fire brigade as praises continue to come his way.
The 22-year-old Malian migrant, Mamoudou Gassama, who saved a four-year-old boy dangling from a balcony in Paris, France, has joined the fire brigade as accolades continued to pour in for his heroic act.
Legit.ng notes that Gassama, who scaled four storeys of the building with his bare hands, joined the fire brigade on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.
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