Trump Calls Saudi King Salman, Agree to ‘Safe Zones’ for Refugees

January 30, 2017 Updated: January 30, 2017

President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi King Salman on Sunday, talking about possible safe zones in Yemen and Syria following Friday’s executive orders to bar travel from citizens of seven countries.

Trump made the call from the White House Oval Office, as senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn listened in.

“The President requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts,” according to a White House statement.

“They also agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”

Trump’s order bars citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States for the next 90 days. The U.S. suspended its refugee program for 120 days. The move was met with criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, Democratic leadership, and some Republican leaders.

Trump, during his campaign, called on wealthy Gulf states to protect and pay for safe zones for Syrian refugees.

FILE - In this file picture taken Friday, April 8, 2016, provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, stands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Cairo. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Riyadh. (Mohamed Abd El Moatey, Egyptian Presidency via AP, File)
In this file picture taken Friday, April 8, 2016, provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, stands with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in Cairo. (Mohamed Abd El Moatey, Egyptian Presidency via AP, File)

As Reuters reported, the state-run Saudi Press Agency confirmed the call for safe zones, saying “the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques had confirmed his support and backing for setting up safe zones in Syria.”

The Saudi statement, however, didn’t mention Yemen—where Saudi-backed militants are fighting against the Iran-backed Houthi group.

Trump also had a conversation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nahyan, and the two talked about how to deal with the ISIS terrorist group, with the crown prince agreeing to support safe zones for Middle Eastern refugees, according to a White House statement.

On Monday, the Vice President Mike Pence also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, with “the two leaders discussed events in the region, including ways to accelerate the Coalition’s efforts to defeat ISIS and promote a political solution to the Syrian conflict,” the White House said.