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Presidents attempt to mend frayed Italian-French relationship

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Presidents attempt to mend frayed Italian-French relationship
The French Embassy in Rome. Photo: AFP
12:53 CET+01:00
The French and Italian presidents "reaffirmed the importance" of their countries' ties in a phone call yesterday after relations recently plunged to a new low.

France's President Emmanuel Macron and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella had a telephone conversation yesterday, the French presidency said, as relations between the two countries had become strained.

The two leaders "recalled that France and Italy, who together built the European Union, have a special responsibility to work together for its defence and revival," the Elysee statement said.

Relations plunged to their lowest since the end of World War II last week when France recalled its ambassador to Rome in protest against "unfounded attacks and outlandish claims" by Italy's ruling populist party leaders, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini.

Paris was angry over Di Maio's meeting with French "yellow vest" anti-government protesters outside Paris.

Di Maio said the aim was to prepare a common front for European Parliament elections in May, while boasting on Twitter that "the wind of change has crossed the Alps".

Salvini on Monday signalled his willingness to talk to ease the spat with France.

The conversation between the two heads of state on Tuesday was seen as another step in that direction.

"They reaffirmed the importance of Franco-Italian relations, fostered on historic, economic and cultural ties," the French presidency said.

ANALYSIS: What's behind Italy's spat with France

 
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