The Latest: Italy rejects France's claim to Italian station
Mar. 31, 2018
ROME (AP) — The Latest on the spat between Italy and France over French border guards' actions at an Italian train station (all times local):
Italy is disputing France's claim that its border control agents had a right to use an Italian train station facility to carry out a drug test on a Nigerian man taken off a Paris-Naples train.
France has asserted that its guards were entitled to use the Bardonecchia station in Italy based on a 1990 agreement.
But in a statement Saturday after Italy summoned France's ambassador for consultations, the foreign ministry said it had told French customs officials this month that the facility was no longer available because a humanitarian group was now using it.
That aid group, Rainbow4Africa, had raised the alarm at what it called a "raid" Friday night by five armed French border agents.
Italy said it had expressed its "firm protest" about the French agents' "unacceptable" conduct and said the two countries would meet April 16 in Turin for further talks.
French authorities say armed French border agents were allowed to enter a northern Italian train station facility, following accusations that they allegedly forced a Nigerian migrant to give a urine sample for a drug test.
France's budget ministry, in charge of supervising border agents, says agents suspected the Nigerian man, an Italian resident who was on a train Friday from Paris to Milan, of carrying drugs. The ministry says the man agreed to take a drug test, performed in a facility of the Italian train station of Bardonnechia.
It says the French agents could use the place in accordance with a 1990 agreement.
French authorities say they are ready to discuss the situation with Italian authorities to "avoid any incident in the future."
The Italian foreign ministry says it has summoned the French ambassador for consultations after French border patrol agents allegedly entered and used an Italian train station facility to perform a drug test on a Nigerian migrant.
A foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the consultations were ongoing, said the ambassador was summoned Saturday afternoon.
The humanitarian group Rainbow4Africa, which helps migrants at the Bardonecchia crossing west of Turin, accused the five armed French border agents of intimidating its doctor, cultural mediators and lawyers inside the facility on Friday night.
Bardonecchia Mayor Francesco Avato said the French had no right to enter the facility, which he said the city operates with Rainbow4Africa as a "neutral" space to try to persuade migrants not to make the dangerous Alpine crossing into France.
— By Nicole Winfield in Rome.
Italian officials have denounced French border agents for allegedly entering a northern Italian train station facility to force a Nigerian migrant to give a urine sample for a drug test.
The humanitarian group Rainbow4Africa, which helps migrants at the Bardonecchia crossing west of Turin, accused the five armed French border agents of entering the train station facility and intimidating its doctor, cultural mediators and lawyers on Friday night.
Bardonecchia Mayor Francesco Avato said Saturday that the French had no right to enter the facility, which he said the city operates with Rainbow4Africa as a "neutral" space to try to persuade migrants not to make the dangerous Alpine crossing into France.
A volunteer who witnessed the incident told Sky TG24 that the Nigerian had Italian identity papers, a valid Paris-Naples train ticket and that his urine test was negative.
Former Premier Enrico Letta denounced the "raid" as the latest error committed by one of Italy's partners in Europe's migration crisis.