Trump, Putin talk trade, se­cu­rity

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY ELLEN KNICK­MEYER AND RACHEL ZOLL The As­so­ci­ated Press BY JULIE PACE AND VIVIAN SALAMA The As­so­ci­ated Press

An Iraqi pleaded for his life to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. A for­mer Iraqi trans­la­tor for the U.S. mil­i­tary landed in his new home with words of praise for Amer­ica still on his lips. And com­mu­nity and church groups, geared up to wel­come Syr­ian fam­i­lies, looked in dis­may at homes pre­pared for refugees that may never be filled.

Trump signed a sweep­ing ex­ec­u­tive or­der Fri­day that he billed as a nec­es­sary step to stop “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ists” from com­ing to the U.S. In­cluded is a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by cit­i­zens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Su­dan, Libya, So­ma­lia or Ye­men and a 120-day sus­pen­sion of the U.S. refugee pro­gram.

Around the coun­try and the world, refugees and for­eign-born Mus­lim vis­i­tors al­ready ap­proved for asy­lum here but not yet ar­rived, and fam­i­lies and refugee work­ers who had been ea­ger to greet new­com­ers, ad­justed to Trump’s ban abruptly bar­ring them and oth­ers from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries.

“What’s next? What’s go­ing to hap­pen next?” asked Mohammed al Rawi, an Iraqi-born American citizen in the Los An­ge­les area, on Satur­day af­ter his 69-yearold fa­ther, com­ing to visit his grand­chil­dren in Cal­i­for­nia, was abruptly de­tained at a tran­sit stop and sent back to Iraq af­ter 12 hours in de­ten­tion. “Are they go­ing to cre­ate camps for Mus­lims and put us in it?”

Refugee-rights groups and oth­ers im­me­di­ately chal­lenged the or­ders in court, and said the bans scape­goated Mus­lims and Arabs with­out mak­ing the United States safer.

Trump’s or­der came down as Hameed Khalid Dar­weesh, a trans­la­tor and as­sis­tant for the U.S. mil­i­tary in Iraq for 10 years now flee­ing death threats over his U.S. ties, was just min­utes away from land­ing at John F. Kennedy air­port in New York.

U.S. of­fi­cials de­tained Dar­weesh and an­other Iraqi whom the U.S. gov­ern­ment also had al­ready ap­proved for en­try to this coun­try. Af­ter lawyers for refugee-rights or­ga­ni­za­tions filed emer­gency pe­ti­tions in fed­eral court for their re­lease, Dar­weesh walked free, to the ap­plause of sign-wav­ing demon­stra­tors gath­ered at the air­port to protest the ban.

“This is the soul of Amer­ica,” Dar­weesh told the crowd and re­porters there, of those who had worked for his asy­lum and his re­lease.

Asked what he thought of the United States now, Dar­weesh pointed a fin­ger in the air, and said em­phat­i­cally, “Amer­ica is the great­est na­tion, the great­est peo­ple in the world.”

Meathaq Alau­naibi, also a refugee from Iraq, was hop­ing to soon be re­united with her twin 18-year-old daugh­ters who are in Bagh­dad. Alau­naibi, her hus­band, a son and an­other daugh­ter were set­tled last Au­gust in Tennessee, as the twins com­pleted their gov­ern­ment re­view to en­ter the U.S. Af­ter Trump signed the or­der, she spoke by phone with her daugh­ters.

“They are so wor­ried and afraid be­cause they’re stuck there in Bagh­dad,” Alau­naibi said Satur­day. “They are young and they are strong, but I am cry­ing all the time. I miss them.”

Staff at U.S. agen­cies that re­set­tle refugees were scram­bling to an­a­lyze the or­der and girded for the wrench­ing phone calls that would have to be made to the thou­sands of refugees just days away from trav­el­ing to the U.S. Sev­eral staff who spoke to the AP burst into tears as they con­tem­plated the fu­ture for peo­ple who had waited years to come into the coun­try.

“It’s com­plete chaos,” said Me­lanie Nezer, pol­icy di­rec­tor for HIAS, one of nine refugee re­set­tle­ment agen­cies that work with the U.S. State Depart­ment. “It’s heart­break­ing.”

The In­ter­na­tional Refugee As­sis­tance Project, which aids for­eign na­tion­als tar­geted for their work for the U.S. gov­ern­ment as well as other refugees, was send­ing the same mes­sage to asy­lum-seek­ers, most of them who had been wait­ing for years.

“We have to reach out to hun­dreds of our clients and ex­plain that their fu­ture has been taken away from them, and we don’t know when they’ll get it back,” said Becca Heller, the group’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

An Iraqi in Mo­sul, an Iraqi city where the Is­lamic State group had seized con­trol, de­spaired at word that what he had thought was an im­mi­nent flight to safety in Amer­ica was now can­celed, in­def­i­nitely.

“If you can write to Mr. Trump or find any other way to help me re­unite with my fam­ily, please, I am dy­ing in Iraq, please,” the man, whose iden­tity was with­held be­cause he is still in dan­ger in Iraq, wrote back to his U.S. lawyer by email.

Will Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump usher in a new era for U.S.-Rus­sian re­la­tions, or are the two pow­ers go­ing to con­tinue down the path as geopo­lit­i­cal foes?

Now that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has held his first con­ver­sa­tion with Amer­ica’s newly in­au­gu­rated leader, at­ten­tion turns to the fate of U.S. sanc­tions against Moscow and whether the two will look to en­hance mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion against the Is­lamic State group.

Trump was non­com­mit­tal about whether he was con­sid­er­ing lift­ing the eco­nomic sanc­tions ahead of the call, telling re­porters Fri­day, “We’ll see what hap­pens. As far as the sanc­tions, very early to be talk­ing about that.”

While the White House has yet to com­ment on Satur­day’s phone call, the Krem­lin re­leased a state­ment hint­ing that the two men dis­cussed the sanc­tions, im­ple­mented by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion as a con­se­quence of Rus­sia’s ac­tions in Ukraine.

The two lead­ers em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of “restor­ing mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial trade and eco­nomic ties be­tween busi­ness cir­cles of the two coun­tries, which could ad­di­tion­ally stim­u­late the in­cre­men­tal and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship,” the Krem­lin said.

Putin and Trump will also main­tain “reg­u­lar per­sonal con­tact” and will be­gin prepa­ra­tions for a face-to-face meet­ing.

The Krem­lin has ap­plauded Trump’s promises to re­build U.S.Rus­sian re­la­tions, which have been pushed to their worst level since the Cold War by the Ukraine cri­sis, war in Syria and al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian med­dling in U.S. elec­tions.

The Krem­lin said that Putin and Trump spoke in par­tic­u­lar about in­ter­na­tional is­sues, in­clud­ing the fight against ter­ror­ism, the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict, Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram, the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean penin­sula and the Ukraine cri­sis.

“The pres­i­dents spoke out in fa­vor of the es­tab­lish­ment of real co­or­di­na­tion of Rus­sian and American ac­tions with the aim of de­stroy­ing the Is­lamic State,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

In 2014, Rus­sia an­nexed Ukraine’s Crimea re­gion and backed sep­a­ratists fight­ing gov­ern­ment forces in eastern Ukraine, draw­ing wide­spread con­dem­na­tion in Europe and the United States.

In re­sponse, sanc­tions were im­ple­mented against sec­tors of Rus­sia’s econ­omy, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices, en­ergy, min­ing and de­fense. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion also sanc­tioned peo­ple in Putin’s in­ner cir­cle.

Shortly be­fore leav­ing of­fice, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama also or­dered sanc­tions on Rus­sian spy agen­cies, closed two Rus­sian com­pounds in the United States and ex­pelled 35 diplo­mats that he said were re­ally spies. These sanc­tions fol­lowed an as­sess­ment by U.S. in­tel­li­gence that Moscow med­dled in the 2016 elec­tion to help Trump be­come pres­i­dent.

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