French President Francois Hollande. Photo: Reuters
French President Francois Hollande. Photo: Reuters

Immigration ban: France’s Francois Hollande warns Donald Trump on protectionism

French president Francois Hollande says US President Donald Trump's immigration ban will have economic and political consequences

Paris: French president Francois Hollande on Saturday warned US president Donald Trump against taking a protectionist approach, which he said would have economic and political consequences.

“In an unstable and uncertain world, turning inward would be a dead-end," Hollande told Trump in their first official telephonic conversation, according to a statement from the president’s office.

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The French president told Trump, who has expressed skepticism about international organizations, that France was committed to the UN, that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance was indispensable and the European Union (EU) should be reinforced.

Hollande, now just four months before the end of his term, said sanctions against Russia should be lifted only when the situation in eastern Ukraine was resolved. Trump said on Friday he was only in the early stages of considering whether to lift US sanctions on Russia, but insisted he wanted to follow through on his campaign pledge to pursue better relations with Russia.

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The president also told Trump democracies could be defended only if founding democratic principles were respected, including welcoming refugees.

Earlier on Saturday, France and Germany voiced disquiet over Trump’s decision to limit immigration and refugees from some Muslim countries. Hollande also told southern European leaders meeting in Lisbon the new US government was encouraging “populism and even extremism" and that Europe should stick together.

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