“Today I can tell you that our ambassador will return very soon,” Le Drian told Italy's Corriere della Sera daily.
Relations plunged to their lowest level since the end of World War II last week when France recalled its ambassador to Rome to protest “unfounded attacks and outlandish claims” by Italy's new populist government leaders, Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini.
From left: Matteo Salvini, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Luigi Di Maio. Photos: Vincenzo Pinto/Ludovic Marin/Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Le Drian said that when Di Maio met 'yellow vest' anti-government protesters outside Paris “the line was crossed.”
The deputy prime minister, who is also minister of economic development, “met someone who has called for armed insurrection and for the intervention of the army”, said Le Drian.
Di Maio has said that he met the 'yellow vests' as leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement rather than as minister. He said the aim was to prepare a common front for European Parliament elections in May, while boasting on Twitter that “the wind of change has crossed the Alps”.
But Le Drian described the provocative encounter as “a public meeting between someone who has called for armed insurrection and a member of the Italian government, without respecting the most basic norms between European partners.”