June 14, 2018 / 9:17 AM / 10 months ago

France's Macron told Italy's Conte no offence meant on migrants

French President Emmanuel Macron leaves after he attended the "prise d'armes" military ceremony at the Invalides in Paris, France, June 11, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron sought to defuse tension with Italy after it criticised its refusal to accept more than 600 migrants on board the Aquarius ship earlier this week, telling the Italian leader no offence was meant.

“The French president emphasised that he never said anything meant to offend Italy and the Italian people,” Macron’s office said in a statement on Thursday.

Macron told ministers in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday the Italian government had acted cynically and irresponsibly in its refusal to welcome the Aquarius, according to French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

Macron confirmed the two leaders would meet in Paris for a working lunch on Friday.

Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by John Irish

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