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January 8, 2018 1:03 pm

White House: Delayed Pence Visit to Israel to Take Place in January

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US Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel from Jan. 20 to 23, the White House said on Monday, embarking on a tour originally planned for last month after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

Pence, a strong supporter of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, will also visit the city’s Western Wall and give a speech at the Israeli parliament, it said.

Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and announcement in December that the United States would start the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv led to uproar and protest in the region.

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“At President Trump’s direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the US’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” said Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence.

He plans to discuss with the three leaders “ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security,” she added.

The status of Jerusalem, which is home to Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, is one of the thorniest obstacles to a potential peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move and have declined to meet with Pence.

Pence postponed a planned visit to Egypt and Israel last month to stay in Washington for a congressional vote on Trump’s tax overhaul plan.

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