Italy summons French ambassador over 'hypocritical' criticism on migrants (
Italy's foreign ministry said it had summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday, amid a diplomatic spat between the two countries over the handling of a migrant crisis.

Italy had earlier said it would not accept "hypocritical lessons" from countries like France on migrants, in a growing row over 629 people stranded in the Mediterranean to whom the Italian government refused entry.

Rome was responding to French President Emmanuel Macron's accusation of "irresponsibility" over Italy's handling of the crisis.

"The statements concerning [the rescue ship] Aquarius that come from France are surprising ... Italy cannot accept hypocritical lessons from countries that have preferred to look the other way on immigration," the new populist government said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Italian government has never abandoned the almost 700 people aboard the Aquarius."

The migrants saved by the Aquarius, run by French NGO SOS M'editerran'ee, were on the overloaded ship for over 30 hours as Italy and Malta bickered over who should take them, before Spain stepped in and offered the port in Valencia as a place for the migrants to land in Europe.

"After the refusal of Malta to allow the people aboard the Aquarius to disembark there, we received an unprecedented gesture of solidarity from Spain. The same cannot be said of France, which has often adopted much more rigid and cynical immigration policies," the Italian government says. |
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