Monday 23 September 2019

Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister welcomes refugees ‘escaping war’

Matteo Salvini said it was a pleasure to welcome the children, contrasting them to economic migrants.

Italy’s interior minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini speaks to children upon their arrival in Pratica di Mare’s military airport, near Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
Italy’s interior minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini speaks to children upon their arrival in Pratica di Mare’s military airport, near Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Italy’s hard-line interior minister has welcomed 51 refugees and asylum seekers who arrived in Italy after being detained in Libya and then airlifted out by the UN refugee agency.

Matteo Salvini, whose crackdown on migrants fleeing Libya aboard smugglers’ boats inflamed tensions across Europe, was on hand at Rome’s Pratica di Mare military base on Wednesday as the men, women and children disembarked from a flight from Niger.

ipanews_631cb727-f6cc-4cd2-bf71-3a4b9eb65343_embedded239698290
Matteo Salvini tries to help a young girl walk down the plane steps (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

He tweeted that “welcoming children who are truly escaping war, as I did this morning in Rome, is a pleasure”.

He added that they are different from economic migrants who he believes should be expelled from Italy.

The 51 migrants were identified by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as deserving of international protection and were flown out of Libya to Niger pending relocation.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News