Theresa May has refrained from criticizing Donald Trump over his decision to sign an executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States and refusing entry to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries after meeting with the Turkish president, as previously reported by the Independent.
The British Prime Minister spoke with Trump yesterday in Washington, where they reportedly forged a “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S.
Theresa May held a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim amid a controversial £100 million fighter jet deal and a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which resulted to a severe crackdown on opponents and wide-ranging human rights abuses, the BBC reports.
The conversation turned testy when Donald Trump’s executive orders banning refugees from entering the United States and suspending travel visas of citizens from “countries of particular concern” were brought up.
Sky News political editor Faisal Islam asked Theresa May for her opinion on Trump’s decision, specifically on whether she sees it as an “action of the leader of the free world.”
British PM Theresa May refuses to condemn US President Donald Trump's refugee ban (AFP) pic.twitter.com/GUcM0mrQgz
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 28, 2017
The UK Prime Minister’s reply, however, was elusive, as she said that she was “very pleased” about having met Mr. Trump in Washington. She also complimented Turkey for the country’s warm reception of millions of refugees and emphasized Britain’s support for the Turkish government and nations surrounding Syria.
When another British journalist pressed Theresa May for her view on Trump’s controversial executive orders, her reply was just as elusive as her first answer.
“The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees, the United Kingdom is responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on refugees,” May said.
Yildirim, however, didn’t pull any punches as he said that the crisis is a global issue and that UN members “cannot turn a blind eye to this issue and settle it by constructing walls.”
“Nobody leaves their homes for nothing, they came here to save their lives and our doors were open…and we would do it again,” Yildirim said. “If there is someone in need, you need to give them a helping hand to make sure they survive.”
Yildirim refused to give a clear answer when asked about the extensive human rights abuses committed in Turkey following the coup attempt against the president.
Seven days into his Presidency, Donald Trump continues to enact controversial resolutions in his efforts to make good on his pre-election campaign promise to “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US.” One such resolution involved signing an executive order refusing refugees access to the U.S. for 120 days. He also banned Syrian refugees indefinitely until “significant changes” are made. Another executive order signed by Trump suspends the travel visas of anyone from Muslim-majority countries, including Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Trump said that the ban on refugees and immigrants has to be imposed until such time when the country has developed better screening methods for visitors.
Amnesty International openly criticized Donald Trump’s decision, insisting that it could have “catastrophic consequences” on the plight of Syrian refugees.
“These men, women and children are the victims of the same terror President Trump claims he wants to fight against. The irony beggars belief,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general.
The UN refugee agency and International Organization for Migration also reminded Trump that people fleeing war and persecution deserve protection, a right protected by international law.
“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the US resettlement program is one of the most important in the world,” said the two agencies in a joint statement.
“The longstanding US policy of welcoming refugees has created a win-win situation: it has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have in turn enriched and strengthened their new societies.”
[Featured Images by Alex Wong/Getty Images]