The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has come out in support of U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning anyone from entering the United States if they are a national of one of seven countries. Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
“The United States has taken a decision that is within the American sovereign decision,” UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said at joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei 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 US administration itself says…that this decision is not directed at a certain religion,” he added.
The UAE has long taken a tough line on Islamism. In 2014 it designated the Muslim Brotherhood linked Council on American Islamic Relations as a terrorist group.
Other figures were more forthright. Senior Dubai police official Dhahi Khalfan tweeted his “complete support” of Trump’s policy. “Every country has the right to protect its security,” he said. “Trump, what you're doing is right.”
Saudi Arabia and Egypt have made no official comment.
Since issuing the temporary ban, Trump has spoken to several Arab leaders of states not included in the ban including King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President el-Sisi of Egypt, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi.
Kuwait has had a similar ban in place since 2011. Nationals of five countries, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria, are subject to a blanket visa ban on the grounds of the “difficult security conditions in the five countries” as well as the “the remarkably increasing tendency of nationals from the five countries to apply for visas to bring in relatives who faced or could face arrest by the local authorities to Kuwait.”
Kuwait says the ban is temporary and will be revisited when the security situation improves.