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Trump urges Gulf states to pay for ‘safe zones’ from Syrian conflict

President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida that Gulf states should pay for the creation of “safe zones” to resolve the conflict in Syria.

Published: February 19, 2017, 7:55 am

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    Trump told the crowd inside an airplane hangar in Melbourne, Florida, that the purpose of the rally was to speak directly to the American people “without the filter of the fake news”.

    He once again singled out the “dishonest media,” which he said, “published one false story after another, with no sources” at the event dubbed, “a campaign rally for America,” by the White House.

    “They are part of the corrupt system,” he said, only days after a press conference where he said the fake news media is the enemy of the American people.

    Trump defended the need to curb illegal immigration as part of a national security strategy, and once again urged member states of NATO to contribute 2 percent of their GDP to the alliance’s budget.

    “We are fighting battles that no longer help us. I’m a NATO fan but many of the countries in NATO, many of the countries that we protect, many of these countries are very rich countries – they are not paying their bills,” Trump said.

    The new president welcomed the creation of “safe zones” in Syria and the wider Middle East in general. “We are going to have the Gulf States pay for those safe zones,” Trump told supporters. Trump did not give details of the proposed “safe zones”, but noted that people should be able to “stay there and live safely in their cities” until their country is stabilized.

    According to a document reportedly seen by Reuters last month, Trump wants the Pentagon and State Department to design “safe zones” within three months of the presidential order being signed. That draft, however, did not provide any details on what the zones would require in terms of security or where they might be located.

    “Instead of peace, we see wars that never end and conflicts that never seem to go away. We don’t fight to win; we fight politically correct wars,” he noted.

    The idea of creating so-called “safe zones” in Syria has previously been endorsed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey. “Our American partners did not consult with Russia [regarding the ‘safe zones’]. It is their sovereign decision,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month.

    Such zones, Trump says, could help cope with the influx of migrants not only to the EU but also into the US.

    “What I want to do is build safe zones in Syria and other places, so they can stay there and live safely… we are going to have the Gulf states pay for these safe zones. They have nothing but money. And we are going to do that way instead of taking… tens of thousands people into our country… we want people that love us… we want people that are going to be great for our country, we do not want people with bad ideas,” Trump said at the rally in Florida on Saturday.

    He defended his decision to issue an executive order banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from travel to the US. “We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people, there was no documentation there was no nothing. So, we’re going to keep our country safe,” Trump promised.

    He added that a new executive order to replace the earlier stalled one would be drawn up: “The president has the right to keep people out if he feels it’s not in the best interests of our country.”

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