03:34 GMT05 August 2020
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    France has recalled its ambassador to Rome, Christian Masset, in response to "unprecedented attacks" by the Italian government. Sputnik has discussed the issue with Mario Borghezio, a Member of the European Parliament for Italy’s Lega party, and Claude Blanchemaison, a former French ambassador to Italy.

    For Mario Borghezio, the meeting between Di Maio and the Yellow Vests is not at all surprising and he doesn't see any intention to interfere there:

    "It's quite obvious that an Italian political leader, or a member of the Italian government, can meet with the Yellow Vests, a movement that is not outlawed, and that has developed a rather strong action, but essentially in line with democracy".

    READ MORE: France Recalls Envoy From Rome After Italian Deputy PM Meets 'Yellow Vests'

    The arrival of Luigi di Maio in France to meet Christophe Chalençon and other protesters don't seem to outrage former French Ambassador Claude Blanchemaison:

    "Fortunately, we can move freely on French territory. I imagine that, in the run-up to European elections, Mr Di Mario wants to draw a parallel in his head between his Five Star Movement and the Yellow Vests, while, in my opinion, they don't have much in common", the former diplomat said. "The Tuesday meeting comes after multiple statements by the Italian deputy prime minister on France's role in Africa, the Franc-zone, and many other subjects; so it is, perhaps, the last straw".

    According to Blanchemaison, the decision might have been taken at a high level, not only at the Foreign Ministry, but that doesn't mean a severance of diplomatic relations.

    "This doesn't mean that the embassy stops working. In this case, the number two becomes an interim ambassador and the embassy continues functioning. The ambassador has been recalled 'for consultation', so it may be a few days or a few weeks, it's for a limited period of time. It is a political and symbolic gesture".

    Mario Borghezio pointed out that France has not been outdone, evoking the old Franco-Italian diplomatic issue regarding the extradition of former Italian terrorists who had taken refuge in France; Cesare Battisti is the most recent example.

    "There's an unresolved issue in the Italian-French relations regarding the protection that France has provided to the Red Brigades, who massacred magistrates, policemen, and carabineers", Borghezio concluded.

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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