Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan States Fact: There is No Muslim Ban
The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s most successful nations, and a model for the Muslim world, maintained that President Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim countries is not anti-religious or otherwise prejudiced against Muslims.
According to Emirati FM Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President Donald Trump’s order to bar individuals from certain Muslim countries from the US is a “sovereign decision” that would be a mistake to interpret as anti-Muslim.
“Without doubt, countries have the sovereign right to make decisions to ensure their sovereignty. The US president used this sovereign right,” the UAE’s top diplomat said.
“There are attempts to claim that this decision is aimed against a religion, but it is not aimed against a specific religion, this is a temporary decision, it is important to take these points of view into account,” he continued.
“Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems,” he noted, stressing “these countries should try to solve these issues… and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the United States”
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates on 9 February 2006.
During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the UAE has witnessed a rapid expansion of its diplomatic relations with countries in Latin America, the South Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia as well as a consolidation and strengthening of its relations with Western countries.
The UAE is one of America’s primary allies in the Gulf region. It is also involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s air campaign in Yemen, and the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Another major US ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, did not take any official position on the travel ban. However, its national airline, Saudi Airlines, controlled by the Saudi royal family, issued a statement saying that citizens from the seven countries affected by the ban “will not be permitted to travel with Saudi Airlines. Citizens with diplomatic visas or who work for international organizations and hold valid visas are an exception,” as reported by CNN.
Sheikh Abdullah also welcomed the idea of creating safe zones in Syria if they were temporary, served only humanitarian purposes, and were established under international supervision. The FM said he would like to hear more ideas from Washington on the matter.
For his part, FM Lavrov said that Russia could support the idea, but only with the agreement of the Syrian government and close cooperation with it. The FM pointed out that Washington’s initiative is markedly different from that which has been proposed by other Western partners.
“There have been ideas of creating some areas where an alternative Syrian government could sit, and use those areas for regime change,” Lavrov said.