Matteo Salvini has rejected “humanitarian” demands that he reopen Italy’s ports to NGO boats ferrying migrants across the Mediterranean, insisting that shutting down the trafficking trade is “the only way to save lives”.
As figures showed a massive drop in the number of migrant drownings since he began blocking the boats last summer and disincentivised people from attempting the journey in the first place,
the Italian deputy prime minister hit back at claims his hard-line policy was responsible for the deaths of around 170 migrants believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya last week.
“The more migrants who leave [Africa in boats], the more die,” said Salvini.
His assertion has been backed up by UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures showing the number of migrants registered dead or missing in the Mediterranean droppedfrom 5,143 in 2016 to 2,297 last year.