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ROME – The Latest on Italy's new populist government (all times local):
The Tunisian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Italian ambassador to protest comments by Italy's new anti-immigration interior minister that the north African country doesn't send its gentleman overseas, but "convicts."
In a statement Monday, the Foreign Ministry expressed its "great surprise" at Matteo Salvini's comment about migration between Tunisia and Europe.
The ministry said the remark showed a "lack of understanding of diverse mechanisms of coordination between the Tunisian and Italian services dealing with this phenomenon."
During a local campaign stop in Sicily on Sunday, Salvini said Tunisia was a free and democratic country that isn't experiencing "wars, epidemics, famines or pestilence." And yet, he continued, Tunisia "isn't exporting gentlemen, it seems more often they're exporting convicts."
Salvini, who has vowed mass expulsions of migrants who don't qualify for asylum, said Monday he'd be happy to discuss the issue soon with his Tunisian counterpart.
Tunisia has summoned the Italian ambassador for consultations to protest comments by Italy's new interior minister that the north African country doesn't send gentleman migrants but "convicts."
In a statement Monday, the Tunisian foreign ministry expressed its "great surprise" at Salvini's comments
Russian officials have denied claims that the country has supported, let alone financed, Italy's right-wing League or any other pro-Russia parties.
Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros publicly questioned on Sunday whether the right-wing, anti-immigrant party received financing from Moscow.
Russian reaction to the rise of the new Italian government made up of the League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has been relatively muted. Moscow has had good ties with previous Italian governments
The League-5-Star agenda proposes ending European Union sanctions on Russia, but Italy alone won't have power to shift the EU's stance on Russia sanctions.
Soros and League leader Matteo Salvini have long been at odds, particularly over migration policy.
Italy's League party is denouncing billionaire philanthropist George Soros for having publicly questioned whether the right-wing, anti-immigrant party received financing from Russia.
Soros' comments, delivered Sunday at an economic forum in northern Italy, focused attention on the pro-Moscow agenda of Italy's new euroskeptic League and 5-Star Movement government.
Soros was asked about possible Russian interference in Italy's foreign policy. He said he was "very worried" that Russia was exercising "negative influence" in Europe, and said Italians had a right to ask if Moscow was financially supporting the League.
League leader Matteo Salvini shot back saying the party had "never received a lira, euro or ruble from Russia," though he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "one of the best statesman."
The League-5-Star agenda proposes ending European Union sanctions on Moscow.