France to send its ambassador back to Italy 'very soon'

AFP - [email protected]
France to send its ambassador back to Italy 'very soon'
Will the ambassador soon return to France's embassy in Rome? Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The French ambassador will return to Rome "very soon" after being recalled last week during an unprecedented spat, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview published on Thursday.


"Today I can tell you that our ambassador will return very soon," Le Drian told Italy's Corriere della Sera daily.

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

READ ALSO: Presidents attempt to mend frayed Italian-French relationship

From left: Matteo Salvini, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Luigi Di Maio. Photos: Vincenzo Pinto/Ludovic Marin/Alberto Pizzoli/AFP 

Le Drian said that when Di Maio met 'yellow vest' anti-government protesters outside Paris "the line was crossed."

The deputy prime minister, who is also minister of economic development, "met someone who has called for armed insurrection and for the intervention of the army", said Le Drian.

Di Maio has said that he met the 'yellow vests' as leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement rather than as minister. He 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".

But Le Drian described the provocative encounter as "a public meeting between someone who has called for armed insurrection and a member of the Italian government, without respecting the most basic norms between European partners." 



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