Top diplomat defends Donald Trump's travel ban

It comes as the US president appears to soften the ban

Top diplomat defends Donald Trump's travel ban

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly | Image: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

A top diplomat for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has defended US President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the order, which bars citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries entering the US, was a "sovereign decision" on immigration which America had every right to take.

He said it was wrong to say the move was "directed against a particular religion" and added that most of the world's Muslim-majority countries had not been affected by the order.

Sheikh Abdullah spoke at a news conference following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Abu Dhabi.

He said: "This is a temporary ban and it will revised in three months, so it is important that we put into consideration this point.

"Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems.

"These countries should try to solve these issues...and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the United States."

The Emirates, itself a Muslim-majority country, is one of the United States' closest Arab allies.

It is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group and hosts American troops and warplanes involved in operations.

The Sheik's comments came as the president appeared to have softened the controversial ban in the face of global outrage and some dissent within his own government.

It was announced that 872 refugees will be allowed to enter the US this week after officials said stopping them would cause "undue hardship".

The administration clarified that dual nationals will be able to use their second passports to gain entry.