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Trump's Muslim travel ban draws ire from leaders across the world

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:44 IST

Amidst massive protests at most major United States airport, President Donald Trump is not backing down. Donald Trump signed an executive order halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries - Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. On Monday, here\'s what he had to say:

Trump's order, which abides by his poll promise, drew ire worldwide and criticism from various international leaders. The most prominent of those being German chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel regretted Trump's decision. She told the media that she "explained" the Geneva refugee convention over a phone call to Trump on Saturday and the obligations of the US toward it. "The chancellor regrets the US government's entry ban against refugees and the citizens of certain countries," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement. "She is convinced that the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion.

The Geneva refugee convention basically requires the international community to take in a certain number of war refugees on the basis of humanitarian grounds. All the signatory states are required to do so. This is what Merkel explained to Trump over a 'phone' call.

Merkel on Monday criticised the "US immigration policy as being biased against Muslims".

Here's what other leaders had to say:

French president - François Hollande

François Hollande, the French president, said on Saturday, ""when [Trump] rejects the arrival of refugees, while Europe has done its duty, we should respond to him". He then added, that in an uncertain world, "withdrawal into oneself is a dead-end response".

Democratic principles require "the principles on which it is founded, in particular the acceptance of refugees", Hollande reiterated.

Italy's prime minister - Paolo Gentiloni

Italy's prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, had this to say in a tweet:

It translates to, thanks to Google Translate, "Italy is anchored to its values. Open Society, the plural identity, no discrimination. Are the pillars of Europe".

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland - Charlie Flanagan

Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, had this to say in a statement, "While US immigration policy is a matter for the US authorities, it is clear that the most recent decisions could have far-reaching implications - both on humanitarian grounds and on relations between the US and the global Muslim community. Accordingly, I share the concerns of other EU partners regarding this most recent development.

Many people are feeling great concern about these changes including some Irish citizens in the United States. Our Embassy in Washington and Consulates remain in active and ongoing contact with Irish immigration centres throughout the US. I am conscious that matters are still evolving and that the US courts are now involved. We will continue to monitor developments in this area very closely".

Canadian prime minister - Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau had this heartwarming message on Twitter:

Iran's foreign minister - Javad Zarif
Javad Zarif, Iran's Foreign Minister, said the decision was "a great gift to extemists". Iran took retaliatory action and banned US citizens from entering the country.

"While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the US government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive US limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America . . . are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists," said the statement. Zarif added that all visitors "with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed".
Swedish foreign affairs minister - Margot Wallström

Margot Wallström said she was "deeply concerned". Here's the rest of her statement on Twitter:

Australia's foreign affairs minister - Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop said the government would be working closely with the Trump administration to implement the "strong border policies". She added, "We share a common view on many issues so we will continue to work very closely with the Trump administration," adding: "The very best days of the Australia-US relationship lie ahead".

United Nations refugee agency and International Organization for Migration

The United Nations refugee agency and International Organization for Migration, on Saturday, urged Trump and his administration to continue offering asylum to those fleeing the war. It added that the resettlement programme was 'vital'.


Sudan called the decision by Trump "very unfortunate" and a reverse of the "historic steps" taken by former presient Barack Obama just weeks earlier. It is particularly unfortunate that this decision coincides with the two countries' historic move to lift economic and trade sanctions ... and just as economic and financial institutions as well as businessmen in the country were set to continue developing their investment projects," the statement said.

First published: 30 January 2017, 8:12 IST