The Italian foreign ministry in Rome on Wednesday summoned the French ambassador over Paris’s criticism of Italy’s handling of the case of the Aquarius migrant-rescue ship.
“Following the statements released in Paris yesterday on the case of the Aquarius, this morning the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, summoned to the Farnesina the French Ambassador to Italy,” a ministry statement said.
French President Emmanuel Macron called Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini “cynical and irresponsible” in refusing to allow the Aquarius to offload 629 migrants at an Italian port at the weekend.
The spokesman for his En Marche party described Italy’s migrant policy as “sickening” The NGO-run ship is now in its way to Valencia after Spain agreed to offer a port of safety, although Madrid said Rome’s refusal to accept the Aquarius was potentially a criminal case.
Salvini, who is also League leader and deputy premier, hit back via Twitter.
“Spain wants to report us, France says I’m ‘sickening’. “I want to work serenely with all, but with one principle: #Italiansfirst”,” he said.