French Foreign Minister Says Accepting Refugees 'Is A Duty'

Published 30 January 2017  |  
Reuters
Jean-Marc Ayrault

Consideration for the plight of refugees is a duty, and fear of terrorism is not a legitimate reason to refuse them sanctuary, the French foreign minister said on Sunday.

Jean-Marc Ayrault's statement came after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States [nL1N1FI0JO].

"Accepting refugees is a duty of solidarity," Ayrault said in a tweet. "Terrorism knows no nationality. Discrimination is no response."

In his most sweeping decision since taking office a week ago, Trump, a Republican, put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from Syria and six other countries.

On Saturday, French President Francois Hollande told Trump during a telephone conversation to respect refugees. He also warned the new U.S. leader over his trade policies, saying a protectionist approach would have economic and political consequences.

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron weighed in with his own view of Trump's actions on immigration, including his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

"I stand with the people fleeing war and persecution. I stand with the people defending our values #NOBanNoWall" his tweet said.

France goes to the polls to elect a new president in April.

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