Who is Francesco Talò, Meloni’s diplomatic advisor who resigned after a fake phone call

Born in La Spezia and graduated in Law in Rome, he is 65 years old. He had been chosen as diplomatic advisor by Meloni in 2022, shortly after the installation of the new government. He resigned after the scam phone call orchestrated by the two Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus: “I thought it was right to take responsibility.” In his forty-year diplomatic career he has received positions at NATO, the UN, the United States, Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Francesco Maria Talò is the now former diplomatic advisor of Palazzo Chigi. As announced yesterday by Giorgia Meloni, the ambassador resigned after the scam phone call orchestrated by the two Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus: phone call in which the prime minister spoke for 13 minutes with the two, thinking instead of having her on the other end of the phone the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Talò had already taken responsibility for what happened in the statement released on Wednesday by Palazzo Chigi. Then yesterday came the step backwards: Talò resigned as head of the Prime Minister’s diplomatic office.

The resignation of Francesco Maria Talò

Announcing his resignation and thanking him for his work, Meloni said: “It is a gesture of great responsibility for a person who is aware, as head of the office, that this situation was handled with a lightness that exposed the nation.” In reality, from what emerges, Talò’s decision would have created a certain surprise in the government: many took it for granted that he would leave office in February, when his retirement would begin. According to other sources, it was an “inevitable move for those who have their own sense of institutions”.

Talò: “It doesn’t have to happen, but it happened”

After his resignation, Talò spoke about what happened in an interview with Libero. “The interlocutor was interesting. We received an email from a plausible address and then the phone call took place with its normal preparations. In the conversation the Prime Minister demonstrated perfect coherence between his well-known thoughts and the things he said. This is the episode, it is now clear that the management of the episode could have been better, because otherwise we would not have fallen for the deception. A deception that unites us with many illustrious leaders, equipped with important apparatus, structures that assist them, countries that dedicate considerable attention to security. It shouldn’t happen, but it happened”, he explained. And he added: “I thought it was right to take responsibility for not having carried out those additional checks which would have been appropriate, albeit in a context of great commitment, of overload of work of the my office and the plausibility of the message received. The affair caused a sensation that I believe has not occurred in similar cases elsewhere and so I felt I had to resign.” Then he reiterated: “I always believe it is appropriate to assume one’s responsibilities. I understand that it’s not very common, but it’s my way of being. I think I have been consistent, before 40 years of diplomatic career I was a Carabinieri officer, this is an experience that has remained with me forever, also because it comes from a family tradition. And this sense of duty, of sacrifice, of always feeling obliged towards the State, the nation, is part of my nature”.

Who is Francesco Maria Talò

Talò, former ambassador to NATO, weaver of relations with Washington, therefore experienced his last mission to Palazzo Chigi in the Italian delegation to London for the summit on artificial intelligence. Born in La Spezia and graduated in Law at the Sapienza University of Rome, he is 65 years old, married and has three children. He had been chosen as diplomatic advisor by Meloni in 2022, shortly after the installation of the new government. Since 2019 he has been the permanent representative of the Italian delegation to NATO in Brussels: in recent months he has followed important dossiers such as Ukraine and the future of the Atlantic Alliance. Since 2017 he has been a “ranking ambassador”, the highest level one can reach in a diplomatic career. Between 2017 and 2019 he was responsible for cyber security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and between 2017 and 2018 coordinator of the OSCE Conference for the fight against anti-Semitism. In the past he also held diplomatic positions in the United States (including consul in New York), in Israel (ambassador), in Pakistan and in Afghanistan (special envoy of the Foreign Minister). He was also director for South America at the Farnesina. In New York he also worked at the permanent representation of Italy to the United Nations (he was there on 11 September 2001). At Palazzo Chigi he had already been deputy diplomatic advisor and first advisor during some Berlusconi governments. Now, after leaving the post of diplomatic advisor to Meloni, he should return to service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, if necessary, receive new assignments. In February, however, retirement is expected.