Macron ‘never meant to offend’ Italy with migrant comments

Paris (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron did not mean to offend Italy with comments about the migrant crisis that have sparked a bitter diplomatic row, his office said Thursday.

In a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday evening, “the president stressed that none of his comments were intended to offend Italy and the Italian people,” Macron’s office said in a statement.

A lunch meeting between the two leaders in Paris on Friday, which Rome had threatened to cancel after Macron accused Italy of “cynicism and irresponsibility” in its response to the stranded Aquarius migrant ship, will go ahead as planned, the statement added.