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article imageMacron met Italian PM on Monday

By AFP     Jun 26, 2018 in World

French President Emmanuel Macron met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday, Macron said after his visit to the Vatican on Tuesday.

During a press conference Macron said he had kept the informal meeting discreet out of respect for Vatican protocol.

"When one visits the Pope, it is important that it is not confused with a visit to the Italian government", Macron said at the French Embassy to the Holy See in Rome.

Macron said that Conte had asked for the meeting during an emergency mini-summit on migration held Sunday in Brussels.

"It was a private meeting, that's why it wasn't on the agenda," said Macron, adding that the two leaders had discussed "current issues" such as "migration" and the Eurozone ahead of an EU leaders summit in Brussels this week.

Tensions have been running high between the two countries since Italy refused to let a French NGO ship the Aquarius, carrying more than 600 migrants, dock earlier this month.

A war of words ensued with Macron branding Italy's actions as "irresponsible" and Italy decrying France's "hypocrisy".

However, Sunday's mini-summit on migration served to calm the mood with Conte saying he was "very satisfied" with the outcome.

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