February 5, 2017 / 10:01 AM / 6 months ago

Kuwait denies it imposed travel ban praised by Trump

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U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 4, 2017.Carlos Barria

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait has denied a media report which said it had imposed a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, a story which U.S. President Donald Trump praised on Facebook.

"Smart!" a post on Trump's official Facebook page said on Thursday, linking to a report on Jordanian news website Al Bawaba which alleged that Kuwait had "mirrored" a decision by the Trump administration to temporarily bar travellers from several countries.

The article alleged that "Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans" would not be allowed to enter the Gulf state "while the blanket ban is in place".

But Kuwait's foreign ministry refuted the report, which was widely picked up by news websites popular with Trump supporters including Breitbart, Infowars and Sputnik.

Kuwait "categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities ... have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on state news agency KUNA on Friday.

Citizens of the countries mentioned visit Kuwait regularly, it added.

Confusion and protests at airports greeted the executive order Trump signed last weekend to bar for 90 days entry into the United States by travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Representatives of the proscribed countries as well as several neighbouring nations condemned the move, but Trump on his Twitter account said the initiative enjoyed support in the region.

"Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it's death & destruction!" he wrote.

The United Arab Emirates was one country which did publicly give the ban a measured response. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed called the ban an internal U.S. matter which did not target Muslims.

Editing by Jason Neely

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