Paris summons Italian ambassador
By Akpo Ometan
Angered by accusations from the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy that longstanding French policies and attitudes in relation to Africa have been responsible for many of the woes facing the African continent, including the current migrant crisis, France has summoned the Italian envoy in the country to provide an explanation.
The summons which was routed through the France’s foreign ministry is coming after Italian deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, who is the leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S), told a rally in the central Abruzzo region on Sunday: “If today people are leaving Africa is it because some European countries, with France taking the lead, have never stopped colonising tens of African states?”
Going further, he urged the European Union to penalise France on account of its negative role in the impoverishment of the continent and that as a first step, migrants from the continent should be taken to the southern French port of Marseille instead of Italy.
Di Maio is not the only traducer that the French have to contend with in the current Italian administration. In his own comments for example, Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, accussed France of not doing much to bring calm to violence-ravaged Libya because its energy interests there rivalled those of Italy.
According to him, ‘there are countries that steal wealth from Africa and France is definitely one of them.’
In its defence however, France says its efforts in Libya were focussed on ‘stabilising the country, preventing the spread of terrorism and curbing migration flows.’
But analysts say that France is indeed walking on thin ground in its defence given the volume of facts gleaned from past and present scenarios that confirm that its African engagement over the years has been less than altruistic.
President Emmanuel Macron of France