The United Arab Emirates has come out in support of President Donald Trump’s suspension of travel to the United States from seven countries with active terrorist organizations or affiliations.
While at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Trump’s executive order suspending travel was a “sovereign decision” and fully within the United States’ rights, The Associated Press reports.
“Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems,” Al-Nahyan said. “These countries should try to solve these issues … and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the US.”
Moreover, Al-Nahyan added that the order did not seem to be motivated by excluding specific religious groups.
“There are attempts to give the impression that this decision is directed against a particular religion, but what proves this talk to be incorrect first is what the US administration itself says … that this decision is not directed at a certain religion,” he said.
Rather, the seven countries listed, namely Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, are well-known terror hotspots, though of course other commentators have criticized the temporary travel ban as not being rigorous enough and arbitrarily leaving out other countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan, which are arguably more dangerous terror havens.
Al-Nahyan was not the only official in the UAE to back Trump’s executive order, and others were less subdued about their praise for the move.
A senior police official in Dubai tweeted out his “complete support” for the policy, saying that “[e]very country has the right to protect its security.”
But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres thinks the temporary ban will do little to stop terrorists from entering the United States and urged that it be dropped as soon as possible.
“I think that these measures should be removed sooner rather than later,” Guterres said.
Moreover, Guterres said the travel suspension violates “our basic principles.”
“If a global terrorist organization will try to attack any country like the US, they will probably not come with people with passports from those countries that are hotspots of conflicts today,” he added.
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