Paris — France took the exceptional step of recalling its envoy to Rome on Thursday to protest against a “provocation” from the Italian government, laying bare the tensions between the two historic allies. France’s foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Rome for consultations over a series of comments from Italy’s two deputy prime ministers, Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini. “For several months France has been the subject of repeated accusations, unfounded attacks and outlandish claims,” the ministry said in a statement, calling them “unprecedented” since the end of World War 2. Di Maio and Salvini, who formed a populist coalition government together last year, have repeatedly criticised Macron, who has in turn targeted their eurosceptic movements ahead of high-stakes European Parliament elections in May. The latest spat erupted Tuesday after Di Maio, head of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, revealed that he had met with “yellow vest” anti-government protesters outsid...

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