More than 900 rescued refugees arrive in Sicily

How Europe should share the responsibility of handling migrants trying to get into the bloc from war zones and poor countries, largely across Africa and the Middle East, remains a vexed question.

Macron said Rome had acted "with cynicism and irresponibility" by turning away the migrant ship Aquarius.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Giovanni Tria announced that he would cancel an official visit to Paris, though his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire later said the two had agreed to reschedule their talks.

Salvini said France had taken in only a fraction of the 9,816 migrants it had pledged to welcome under a 2015 European Union relocation plan to relieve frontline countries Italy and Greece of the burden of caring for newly arrived migrants.

Italy has defended its decision to refuse to allow the Aquarius rescue ship to dock, saying it has never abandoned the ship and is escorting it to Spain.

The migrants saved by the Aquarius, run by French NGO SOS Méditerranée, were stuck on the overloaded ship for over 30 hours as Italy and Malta bickered over who should take them, before Spain stepped in and offered the port in Valencia as a place for the migrants to land in Europe.

"The same can not be said of France, which has often adopted much more rigid and cynical immigration policies".

Italy's Foreign Ministry in Rome, where the French ambassador was summoned after a diplomatic spat over a stranded migrant ship.

MPs to question leading Brexiteer Arron Banks over Russia links
Mr Banks agreed to give evidence to the committee after previously pulling out as he accused MPs of conducting a "witch hunt". Banks gave three loans to the Leave.EU campaign totaling 6 million pounds ($8 million), according to the commission.

But Italy's foreign minister, Enzo Moavero, kept up the barrage by telling a French envoy that Macron's comments were "unjustifiable" and had compromised relations between the two countries. At the moment the conditions (for the meeting) don't exist.

Salvini insisted Tuesday that the country's ports would no longer be open to foreign boats carrying migrants.

Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the European nation where they first arrive.

France and Italy traded insults, rifts widened in Germany's ruling coalition and Austria called for an "axis of the willing" to take action as a simmering row over how Europe should handle irregular migration finally boiled over.

After meeting in Berlin, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer echoed Salvini.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn criticism from her own conservative party for her open-door migrant policy, adopted in 2015, which also provoked a rise in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. "Therefore I think that there must be many such kinds of cooperation, not just in this one direction".

An Italian coast guard vessel has docked in Sicily with more than 900 migrants aboard, evidence that Italy's new anti-migrant government is still taking in some asylum-seekers but is forcing the rest of Europe to accept others.

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