Pence reschedules Middle East trip for later this month

Frederick Owens
January 10, 2018

"Egypt's diplomatic stance will not be presented through leaks of doubtful credibility, but rather by the president [Abded Fattah al-Sissi] and the foreign minister [Sameh Shoukry] and official statements and all of these parties have made their resolute position on Jerusalem and the Palestinian issue clear, and this has been translated into deeds and votes at United Nations institutions despite threats from the United States", the Egyptian statement said on Sunday, according to Haaretz.

Richard PencePence allies anxious he'll be called to answer questions from Mueller: report Trump thought it was "low class" for Pence to bring pets to VP residence: report Pence told RNC he could replace Trump on ticket after "Access Hollywood" tape came out: report MORE will leave Washington one week from Friday for a four-day Middle East tour that will take him to Egypt, Israel and Jordan, his office announced Monday. "The vice president is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security".

Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said the recent movements by the Trump administration have been "inconsistent with the "cooling off period" cited by the White House.

Trump's December declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his promise to move the USA embassy there sparked violence in the Muslim world.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the global community.

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Palestinian officials cancelled their meeting with Pence in the West Bank following President Donald Trump's decision last week to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Israel considers Jerusalem its undivided capital but Palestinians want a capital for a future state in the eastern part of the city, which Israel captured during the 1967 Six Day War. Pence is expected to meet only with el-Sissi, a leading Trump ally, while in Egypt.

"Hassaseen denied that he received such a phone call on Jerusalem, affirming that he does not know any man by the name of Ashraf al-Kholi", the statement said.

Pence's trip to the Middle East will insert him into a debate over the role of the any future peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and follows Trump's apparent threats to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in USA aid to the Palestinian Authority.

"I am friends with Ashraf and we talk all the time", the Times reported Megahed as saying in the interview. Jordan has a large population of Palestinian origin, and the king serves as guardian of the third holiest site of Islam, located in east Jerusalem.

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