Diplomatic Row: France cancels meeting with British official after UK PM ask Paris to ‘take back’ migrants crossing Channel

The recent channel tragedy which claimed the lives of 27 migrants off the coast of Calais in the English Channel has heightened unease between Paris and London.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Friday canceled the visit of his British counterpart, Priti Patel to a meeting on migration scheduled for Sunday.

The action comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on France to “take back migrants” in a letter sent to French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

The letter furthermore proposed joint sea, air, and land patrols starting as soon as next week, a proposal France is not comfortable with.

In a message to Patel sighted by AFP, Darmanin says that while the letter is a “disappointment,” making it public made matters even “worse,” prompting the cancellation of the visit.

Officials from other countries invited by France for the meeting in Calais are Belgian, German, Dutch ministers as well as the European Commission.

Meanwhile, in a phone conversation late on Wednesday, Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had vowed to step up cooperation to stop smugglers from organising the illegal Channel crossings.

LENS with input-AFP

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