German Chancellor Angela Merkel told US President Donald Trump that the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for banning refugees or people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, her spokesman says.
“She is convinced that even the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
He said the German government regrets the entry travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, and will review the consequences for German citizens with dual nationalities.
He said Merkel had expressed her concerns to Trump during a telephone call on Saturday and reminded him that the Geneva Conventions require the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.
He said the German government would now review the consequences of the ban for German citizens with dual nationalities and would “represent their interests, if needed, vis a vis our US partners.”
Trump on Friday ordered a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily banned travellers from Syria and six other predominantly Muslim countries .
Seibert’s comments were the first indication of discord between Merkel and Trump over the issue.
The two leaders had highlighted common interests such as strengthening NATO and combating militancy in a joint statement after their 45-minute telephone call.
Trump on Saturday accepted Merkel’s invitation to attend the a meeting of the Group of 20 industrialised nations in Hamburg in July. He also invited Merkel to visit Washington soon.
But Janecek said Germany had to take action if changes in the US rules meant German lawmakers and other German citizens with dual citizenship could no longer visit the United States.