Di Maio, salvini say will talk

But M5S 'No' policy still a problem says League leader

(ANSA) - Rome, July 19 - Deputy Premier and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio and nationalist League leader Matteo Salvini separately said Friday they would meet to discuss ways of easing tensions that have spurred talk of a government crisis.
    But Salvini said he still had a problem with negative positions on League policy from many in the M5S.
    Di Maio ruled out a government crisis and called for talks with Salvini in order to "go forward" after relations between the two populist allies neared breaking point Thursday.
    "I rule out there being a crisis, I've always been taught not to do ill and not to fear: we have important reforms to achieve," Di Maio said on RAI TV.
    "The only thing I say is that it is better to see each other, and talk directly instead of at a distance, it's right to meet, so that we can clear things up and go forward, today, because today is the cabinet meeting and the talks on autonomy".
    Tensions came to a head Thursday as Salvini said he had lost personal trust in Di Maio amid rows over the new European Commission chief, whom the M5S voted for against the League, and over alleged Russian funding for Salvini's party.
    Salvini accused the M5S of flirting with the centre-left opposition Democratic Party (PD), a charge Di Maio angrily denied.
    Di Maio also stressed Friday that he did not suspect Salvini of getting Russian funds.
    "If I suspected Salvini I would not be in the government," said Di Maio, who is also industry and labour minister.
    Di Maio said Salvini, who is also interior minister, had promised he would brief parliament on the Russian funding allegations before Premier Giuseppe Conte speaks to parliament on the case on July 24.
    He also announced a parliamentary commission of inquiry on funding to all parties "including our own".
    Salvini said he would see Di Maio to ease the tensions that have spurred talk of a crisis between the government partners.
    But he said there was still a problem with negative stances from many in the M5S towards League policies like greater northern autonomy and moving ahead on major infrastructure projects.
    "I'll certainly see Di Maio, but Italy can't go forward with so many Nos," the deputy premier and interior minister said.
    "The problem is not Di Maio, but the No policy and blocks on the part of many in the 5 Stars." Salvini cited alleged "blocks" from Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli and Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, both members of the M5S.
    He said Toninelli had blocked a Genoa bypass "that would remove thousands of cars and lorries from the Genoese streets", and Trenta had blocked his tough anti-migrant policy "by proposing to put to sea other navy ships and risking to attract new migrant departures and business for the smugglers".