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UN chief slams border closures in ‘developed countries’


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres/ AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres/ AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM

UN chief Antonio Guterres criticised Monday the closure of borders “even in the most developed countries in the world”, after US President Donald Trump slapped a ban on travellers from seven Muslim countries.

The new UN secretary general was speaking at the opening of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, where he praised African nations for being “among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees”.

“African borders remain open for those in need of protection when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world,” Guterres said to loud applause.


The 28th African Union summit is the first since Trump’s election, and the consequences of his presidency for the African continent are already being felt.

Trump’s administration has faced outrage and widespread protests over the move to ban citizens from seven countries including Libya, Somalia and Sudan in Africa.

“It is clear that globally we are entering very turbulent times. For example the very country (where) our people were taken as slaves… has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said outgoing AU Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“What do we do about this? Indeed this is one of the greatest challenges and tests to our unity and solidarity,” she said.

The summit has a heavy agenda as leaders will decide whether to allow Morocco to rejoin the bloc 33 years after it quit. They will also vote for a new AU Commission head in an election that will be shaped by regional alliances and interests.

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