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Italy-France relationship 'not debatable': Conte after France recalls ambassador

IANS  |  Rome 

The long-standing ties between and is not debatable, said on Thursday in response to news that has recalled its from for consultations.

In a statement tweeted by the French embassy in Italy, the cited "repeated accusations, baseless attacks, outrageous statements" that have been "unprecedented since the end of the war (World War II)" as its motivation.

"The latest interferences constitute an additional and unacceptable provocation," the statement said, reported.

"The campaign for the European elections cannot justify (such) lack of respect...All these acts create a serious situation, which put into question the intentions of the Italian with respect to its relationship with France".

"calls on to take action to recover a relationship of friendship and mutual respect, worthy of our history and our common destiny," the French diplomatic service in tweeted.

"I have not spoken to (French Emmanuel) Macron, but I wish to say that the relationship between and France, both cultural and economic, is a deep-rooted one and therefore it cannot be put into question by contingencies," said in response to questions from reporters about the recall of the

Traditionally close allies, France and Italy saw their relations worsen after the far-right and the anti-establishment Five came to power and formed a coalition in Italy last June.

Since then, Italian politicians have engaged in a war of words taking aim at the French president, a harsh advocate of liberalism.

Tensions between and have been high in recent months over several issues, including Italian Deputy Luigi Di Maio's outspoken support for the Yellow Vest protesters in France and his claims that France is fuelling Europe's migrant crisis through its "neocolonialist" policies in

On Tuesday, Di Maio, who leads the populist Five Star Movement, travelled to France, where he met with members of the extremist fringes of the Yellow Vest group ahead of European to be held in May. "The wind of change has crossed the Alps," Di Maio tweeted at the time.

On Thursday, Di Maio defended his actions on Facebook, writing that "my meeting with Yellow Vest fully legitimate. I claim the right to dialogue with other political forces that represent the French people."

"I don't want to fight with France, but I want France to respect its commitments," Deputy Matteo Salvini, who leads the rightwing League party, also said in televised comments, adding he is willing to talk to Macron any time and that he wants France to extradite Italian terrorist fugitives and to stop pushing migrants back across its border into Italy.

Di Maio and Salvini both serve as deputy premiers in Italy's rightwing-populist led by



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First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 06:02 IST