Rome, Jan 23 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s premier Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday moved to ease tensions between Rome and Paris after welfare and industry minister Luigi Di Maio accused France of neo-colonial policies that were “impoverishing” Africans and fuelling migration.
“We need to commit greater resources and put more energy into empowering a continent to be able to fulfil its vast potential,” said Conte.
“We will continue to work side by side with France’s government and with European institutions and countries to find a shared solution,” Conte stated.
Earlier on Tuesday, Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini sided with Di Maio in the row which saw France summon the Italian ambassador to protest his assertions on Sunday.
“The migrant problem has many causes,” the far-right League leader Salvini told Mediaset television.
“In Africa some take away wealth from the people and the continent and France is among them”.
Salvini added that Italy had “no lessons to learn” from France, which had turned back “tens of thousands of migrants” at the coastal border town of Vetimiglia including women and children.
Salvini also accused French police of dropping off migrants in woods in Italy’s northwest Piedmonte region under cover of darkness.
Salvini and Di Maio are also deputy premiers in the populist Italian government that took office in June last year.