Africa: Arab League concerned about Trump travel ban

The Arab League has expressed “deep concern” over an “unjustified” decision by US President Donald Trump to restrict entry into the United States from several Muslim-majority countries.

In a statement released on Sunday, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said new regulations “are unjustified restrictions on the entry of citizens of several Arab nations to the US, in addition to the consequences of suspending the acceptance of Syrian refugees.”

Aboul Gheit, who heads the 22-member regional organization of Arab countries, hoped that the Trump administration would “review its position because of the negative consequences this could lead to in terms of preserving family unity and the continuation of dialogue between Arab societies and American society.”

Meanwhile, Aboul Gheit’s spokesman Mahmoud Afifi has also voiced concern about “indications of a direction towards using an official religious standard to identify whether or not to accept refugees.”

In a move that sparked widespread censure, the new US president signed a sweeping executive order on Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Sources within the Trump administration say it is unclear how many more countries will be added to the list as it looks to expand the ban beyond the initial seven countries. Washington will be “very aggressive” as it weighs how many more countries to add to the list, the sources said.

By Africafrique and agencies

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