Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini took aim at those critical of his anti-migrant policies during a session at the Italian Senate in Rome on Wednesday.
Salvini faced criticism at home and abroad for his stance against NGO boat Aquarius and rebutted French criticism saying: “France says that we are cynics. France committed itself to taking 9,816 immigrants. In three years, instead of 9,816 immigrants, they have received 640.”
He also said that he is saddened by migrant drownings: “I’m fed up with children dying in the Mediterranean. Because somebody deceived them into believing that in Italy and in Europe there are houses and jobs for everybody.”
“I don’t want that these children put into a rubber dinghy and then dying like beasts,” Salvini continued.
Aquarius rescued 629 people in two different operations with help from the Italian coastguard. They were due to dock in Sicily, but Salvini responded by closing Italian ports and said Malta should take the boat. Spain has since offered ‘safe harbour’ to the migrant rescue ship.
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