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Italy PM slams 'aggressive' France response in migrant row

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a joint press conference with NATO's general secretary following their meeting on November 10, 2022 at Palazzo Chigi in Rome.
Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a joint press conference with NATO's general secretary following their meeting on November 10, 2022 at Palazzo Chigi in Rome.(Photo: AFP)
ROME, Italy — Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday condemned what she called the "aggressive reaction" of the French government to taking in a migrant rescue vessel rejected by Rome.اضافة اعلان

Paris accepted the Ocean Viking and the 234 migrants onboard, but in return said it would suspend a previous plan to take in 3,500 refugees currently in Italy, and urged other EU nations to do the same.

"I was very struck by the aggressive reaction of the French government, which is incomprehensible and unjustified," Meloni told a press conference in Rome.

She rejected France's claims that her new far-right government was failing in its responsibilities to take migrants crossing the central Mediterranean. 

Meloni claimed that on the same day France agreed to take in the ship — Thursday — Italy accepted 600 migrants, most arriving on small boats, the latest in almost 90,000 so far this year.

"What is that made it (France) so angry? Does it make them angry that Italy must be the only possible port for disembarkations in the Mediterranean?" Meloni said.

"This is not written in any agreement... I believe it is not fair."

She said "something is not working" in the European Union's management of those who set off from North Africa trying to reach Europe.

"It is not intelligent to argue with France, Spain, Greece, Malta... I don't want to do it, I want to find a common solution," Meloni said.


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