International leaders criticize Trump’s veto of citizens of seven countries
International leaders this week rejected restrictions imposed by the US government on the entry of citizens of seven Muslim countries. One of the hardest answers came from Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. Her office said on Sunday (29) that it “lamented” the decision of the American leader. Merkel is convinced, according to her spokeswoman, Steffen Seibert, “that the necessary and decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion.”
The chancellor explained to Trump during a phone call the Geneva Conventions, which stipulates the need to accommodate refugees from warring countries. “It is an obligation of the signatory countries. The German government has explained this policy,” the spokesman said. Trump had recently criticized Merkel’s policy of opening German borders to refugees. Almost 900,000 people arrived in Germany in 2015. Most refugees come from countries at war or in extreme poverty, such as Syria and Afghanistan.
Merkel’s remarks were echoed by several US allies. JeanMarc Ayrault, French Foreign Minister, said that “terrorism does not know nationality” and that “discrimination is not a response.” British Chancellor Boris Johnson said, in turn, that it is “divisive and wrong to stigmatize because of nationality.” There was also opposition from the governments of Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, among others. British Prime Minister Theresa May has been in a more delicate situation. His government approached Trump this month to (or “intending to”) securing an advantageous free trade agreement after leaving the European Union. May initially did not condemn the American measure. But, under pressure, she said she did not agree with the solution. A spokesman for his office said that US immigration policy is an American affair but that the British government disagrees with the approach and will study the impact on UK citizens.
Simultaneous with criticism from European leaders, the silence of Arab nations bothered over the weekend. Gulf countries and Egypt, American allies, have not joined the global repudiation. The Iraqi government also did not declare, but members of Parliament suggested a measure against the US. The influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said that US citizens should leave Iraq. “It would be arrogant for you to enter freely in Iraq and other countries as long as they do not enter their countries.” There were also criticisms from Iran and Sudan, which were affected, alongside Iraq, by the restrictive measures.