Italy’s new populist Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, returned from a quick trip to Libya expressing confidence in his decision to shut down Italian ports to the illegal Muslim migrant invasion, while pressuring the rest of Europe to help the North African country secure its borders.
NY Times Matteo Salvini chose the Libyan capital of Tripoli for his first official visit abroad to hammer home his commitment to suppressing the mass Muslim migration that has fueled anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe and brought his Italy First” party to power in recent elections.
Salvini called for United Nations-backed and European Union-funded centers to screen asylum applicants in nations that border Libya — primarily Chad, Niger and Sudan — but not in Libya itself or Italy.
He also vowed to help (financially) Libyan authorities assert control of their territorial waters to prevent Europe-bound African migrants from departing and to keep George Soros-funded NGO migrant aid groups based in Europe out of the way.
Salvini praised the Libyans for their “excellent work” and vowed to halt European aid groups with rescue ships in the Mediterranean. The Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms complained that Italy refused its offer Sunday to help bring to safety the people who ended up with the Libyan coast guard.
Amnesty International condemned the Italian government for handing over responsibility for the mission to Libya, alleging the migrants would be tortured anew in Libyan detention centers.
Salvini denied migrants were being tortured, branding reports of widespread human rights violations in Libyan centers as “lies and rhetoric.” Italy is committed, he said, to “blocking the full-on invasion of those NGOs that, in fact help, illegal migrant traffickers.”
Salvini has accused private aid groups of operating as sea taxi services for Libya-based smugglers and closed Italy’s ports to their ships.
The take-no-prisoners Italian minister challenged France — a loud critic of his anti-Muslim migrant policies — to open its port in Marseille to the Mission Lifeline ship, saying: “There’s a boat full of migrants in Maltese waters that’s waiting to be welcomed.”