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France recalls Italy ambassador after worst verbal onslaught 'since the war'

PARIS (Reuters) – France has recalled its ambassador in Rome after what Paris described as baseless and repeated attacks from Italy’s political leaders in past months, and urged Italy to return to a more friendly stance.

“France has been, for several months, the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements,” France’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said Italy’s attacks were without precedent since World War Two. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another.”

Italy’s two deputy prime ministers, Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League and Luigi Di Maio of the populist, anti-establishment 5-Star movement, have goaded French President Emmanuel Macron on a host of inflammatory issues.

“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France.”

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