The foreign minister to the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim-dominant country that borders Saudi Arabia and Oman, has come out in defense of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recently enacted moratorium on immigration from terror-prone nations.
“The United States has taken a decision that is within the American sovereign decision,” foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan reportedly said during a press conference Wednesday alongside his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
“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 U.S. administration itself says … that this decision is not directed at a certain religion.”
The is a temporary ban and it will revised in three months, so it is important that we put into consideration this point,” he added. “Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems. These countries should try to solve these issues … and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the United States.”
Sheikh Abdullah also reportedly expressed support for the U.S. president’s proposal to implement safe zones in Syria.
“If the aim behind these areas is humanitarian and temporary and under an international umbrella, I think this is a basis we can work on,” he said.
However, he was not the first official from the UAE to speak out in defense of the U.S. president’s executive orders.
In a series of tweets posted Sunday, Dubai’s head of general security Dhahi Khalfan praised the “ban,” arguing that Trump had the right to do what was necessary to protect his constituents.
“We completely support Trump in his ban on entry to those who may cause a breach in America’s security,” he wrote, according to translations provided by the Jordanian news website Al Bawaba.
“Every country has the right to protect its security from anyone who could be dangerous for the safety of its people. Previous US administrations have embraced all the wanted men of the Arab world and those classified as terrorists … Trump what you’re doing is right.”
Included among those who disagreed with both Sheikh Abdullah and Dhahi Khalfan was Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who reportedly lashed out at the moratorium, claiming that it was a sign the U.S. president did not understand politics.
“He [Trump] is new to politics,” he said. “He has been in a different world. It’s a totally new environment to him. It will take him a long time and will cost the United States a lot, until he learns what is happening in the world.”
Trump, who has previously signaled his intention to revoke the widely panned nuclear deal achieved with Iran by former President Barack Obama, would likely disagree.