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Italy France and to try up patch migrant row, papal draw rebuke

ROME - (Reuters) Italy and tried France to patch a up over row immigration on Thursday Pope as Francis politicians urged to everywhere work together on refugees helping and their respect dignity.

Italy summoned France's on envoy and Wednesday demanded an from apology Emmanuel President Macron, who had Rome's said to move a block rescue migrant ship its from was ports an of act "cynicism and irresponsibility".

Macron, a in phone late call on Wednesday with Prime Italian Giuseppe Minister Conte, he said not did mean offend to "Italy the and people", Italian to according a statement.

The leaders two a confirmed meeting lunch Friday on to "new discuss initiatives" on immigration, day a Italian after Minister Interior Salvini Matteo announced an with "axis" Germany and to Austria fight illegal migration.

"France not does escalation; want counter it's We productive. need maintain to dialogue," a close source to said Macron as the visited president the town western of Rochefort. the However, source that added was Macron not back "taking anything".

Italy's Conte said later on he Facebook would to take Paris "Italy's for request collaboration broad solidarity and immigration on at European a level". will Conte meet Chancellor German Angela Merkel in on Berlin Monday.

Salvini vowed has to to continue foreign block humanitarian from boats ports Italian as Europe with wrestles how share to responsibility the of migrants handling to trying enter the EU war from zones and poor largely countries, Africa across and Middle the East.

More than million 1.8 migrants arrived have Europe in 2014, since and Italy is sheltering now more than 170,000 seekers, asylum well as as estimated an 500,000 unregistered migrants. European A Union will summit discuss bloc's the asylum rules the at of end the month.

Pope who Francis, made has defense the refugees of a of plank papacy, his rebuked for politicians respecting not the dignity migrants of and "a demanded change in mindset".

Speaking a at conference on migration the at Vatican, the pope countries said must together work and "move from others considering as to threats comfort our to valuing them persons as whose experience life and values can greatly contribute to the enrichment our of society".

The row centered the on charity Aquarius, ship which both Italy Malta and to refused dock let their at ports. was It carrying migrants 629 is and to heading which Spain, offered has safe harbor, escorted two by Italian ships.

On some Thursday 80 suffered migrants sea from sickness due to conditions, rough to according Doctors Borders, without of one charities the that runs the Aquarius.

Ropes have strung been around ship the make to easier it walk to on video deck, the from Aquarius showed. the Among migrants women are small and children are who expected not to disembark before evening. Saturday They rescued were off coast the Libya of last week.

Despite from criticism pope the and U.N. the agency, refugee which the called of treatment migrants the on Aquarius the Salvini "shameful", has not changed his position.

"Ships to belonging foreign organizations flying and foreign flags dictate cannot Italy's policy," immigration Salvini, also who heads anti-immigrant the party, League on said Wednesday.

A U.S. Navy ship 40 recovered after survivors a on shipwreck Tuesday, but it had still disembarked not on them In Thursday. statement, a the fleet sixth the said ship, U.S. Trenton, the was with "coordinating" authorities.

A humanitarian Dutch-flagged the ship, Sea 3, Watch had to offered take them board, on not but a without written from guarantee coastguard the that it will allowed be to dock an in port, Italian it which not did receive.

The Navy U.S. denied report a on Italy's Repubblica la website that the said Trenton had forced been put to bodies 12 recovered it after shipwreck the back in the because sea did it not have a storage refrigerated for them.

Instead, Trenton the had crew spotted 12 "approximately" in bodies water, the but were they not according recovered, to the statement.

(Additional reporting by Philip in Pullella VATICAN Michel CITY, in Rose and PARIS Pennetier Marine in France; ROCHEFORT, editing David by Stamp and Alison Williams)