France’s Macron dismisses Italian criticism over Libya

French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to comment on criticism by Italian officials of his country’s policy in war-torn Libya.

“I will not respond. That’s what they want (for me to respond)… all of that is of interest,” Macron said when he was asked about recent Italian criticism of the French policy in Libya.

“The Italian people are our friends and deserve leaders who match their history,” he was quoted as saying by France 24.

The French leader was speaking on Sunday on the sideline of a two-day visit to Egypt.

Last week, Italy’s Deputy Premier Luigi di Maio accused France of colonizing and impoverishing countries in Africa by linking the migrant crisis with the poverty created by France’s colonialism.

In response, the French Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian ambassador in a tit-for-tat move to blast the “hostile remarks.”

Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.