Italy is seeking to have seven boats carrying roughly 1,000 migrants needing rescue off Libya taken back to North Africa, according to a Spanish aid group. Proactiva Open Arms, which has rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean, said the Italians want the Libyan coast guard to conduct the rescues and return the migrants.
Proactiva said in a tweet that Italian coast guard authorities who coordinate rescues sent out advisories to all ships in the area but told the aid group: 'We don't need your help.' In a tweet on Sunday, hard-line interior minister Matteo Salvini said: 'It's right that the Libyan authorities intervene, as they've been doing for days, without having the NGOs interrupt them and disturb them.'
It comes days after Salvini refused to let a rescue boat with 224 migrants on board dock in Italy, saying those on board 'will only see Italy on a postcard'. Salvini said the ship, operated by German aid group Mission Lifeline, had loaded the migrants in Libyan waters against the instructions of Italy's coast guard.
Mission Lifeline denied Salvini's claims, saying it conducted the rescue in international waters and asked for a safe port, which had not been assigned.
The Italians are doing the right thing. The NGOs, in the guise of "humanitarianism" are facilitating an illegal invasion of Europe. If the "migrants" need to be "rescued" they can far more easily and safely be returned home than ferried across the Mediterranean.