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France excludes UK from Channel migrants meeting after Boris Johnson sent letter criticizing his handling of crisis

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The French government told UK Home Secretary Priti Patel she was no longer invited to a meeting on the Channel migration crisis after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized the handling of the situation by Paris.

France took offense at a letter Johnson sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

A source close to the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin described the letter as “unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of our discussions between partners”.

The decision highlighted the poor post-Brexit relations between the two countries and the difficulties they could face working together to curb the flow of migrants after the drowning of 27 people while trying to reach British shores on Wednesday.

“[Mr] Darmanin told her counterpart that she was no longer welcome, “a government spokesperson for Mr Darmanin told BFM TV.

British officials in London have said they hope Paris will reconsider its decision.

“No nation can tackle this alone and so I hope the French will reconsider their decision,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps told BBC News.

When their dinghy deflated in the English Channel earlier this week, 17 men, seven women and three teenagers died in one of many risky trips attempted in small boats overloaded by people fleeing poverty and war in Afghanistan, in Iraq and beyond.

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It was the worst such tragedy on record in the narrow sea lane separating Britain and France, which is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.

Mr Johnson said France was at fault and Mr Darmanin accused Britain of “immigration mismanagement”.

The deaths have intensified animosity between Britain and France, already at odds over post-Brexit trade rules and fishing rights.

French fishermen blocked the docking of a small British freighter in Saint-Malo on Friday and plan to block later the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel, two major hubs for trade between Britain and Europe.

Reuters

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