France seeks 'cooperation' with Italy on migration

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France is "perfectly aware" of the pressure on Italy as it copes with an influx of migrants from Africa, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, and is "committed to cooperation and dialogue" on the issue.

The comment came amid an escalating row between the two countries after France criticised Italy's decision at the weekend to turn away a rescue boat carrying more than 600 migrants.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has suggested that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte should cancel a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday unless Paris apologises.

"We are perfectly aware of the weight of migratory pressure on Italy and the efforts of this country," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

"Nothing said by France has questioned this, nor the need to coordinate closely among Europeans."

Macron and Conte held talks at a G7 meeting in Canada last weekend and the French and Italian interior ministers spoke by phone on Tuesday, the foreign ministry added.

"We are committed to the dialogue and cooperation that we have in these areas with Rome," the spokesman added.

© 2018 AFP

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