Feb. 7 (UPI) -- France recalled its ambassador to Italy Thursday, citing comments made by Italian politicians criticizing French President Emmanuel Macron.
The French foreign office issued a statement that France has been the subject of "repeated accusations, baseless attacks and outrageous remarks" by Italian politicians, saying the comments "are unprecedented since the end of World War II."
"The most recent intrusions constitute a further, unacceptable provocation. They show a lack of respect for democratic choice by a nation that is our friend and ally. They show a lack of respect between democratically and freely elected governments," France said.
France's announcement came after Italy's two deputy prime ministers, Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio, criticized Macron over issues such as immigration and the so-called "yellow vest" protests, The Guardian reported.
Di Maio met with yellow vest leaders preparing to run in the European parliament elections, declaring the "wind of change has crossed the Alps" and "new Europe is being born of the yellow vests."
France said the European election campaign doesn't justify "a lack of respect toward any nation or its democracy" and encouraged Italy to rectify the situation.
"France calls on Italy to take action to restore the relationship based on friendship and mutual respect that measures up to our history and our common destiny," the foreign office said.
Salvini responded by suggesting a meeting with Macron to mend the relationship between the two countries.
"I don't want to row with anyone, I'm prepared to go to Paris, even by foot, to discuss the many issues we have," he said.