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Madrid and Rome insist their relations are good

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Madrid and Rome insist their relations are good


Italy and Spain have played down a diplomatic row over Rome’s get-tough policy on illegal immigration. The spat followed comments by Spain’s Deputy Premier that her government rejected racism and could not condone events in Italy. Rome in the past week has rounded up hundreds of illegal immigrants.

But Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said: “Relations with the government of Italy are and will continue to be good.” He said the issue had been clarified between the two countries’ envoys at a meeting on Friday.

After that meeting, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told the press the comments by Spain’s Deputy Premier referred not to Italian government policy but to events in Naples, where gypsies were forced to flee after locals torched two of their camps.

The violence came after a gypsy teenage girl was accused of trying to kidnap an Italian baby last weekend.

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