Pence trip to Middle East overshadowed by Trump's Al-Quds decision

Pence trip to Middle East overshadowed by Trump's Al-Quds decision
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:40:51

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will underscore the U.S. partnership with Israel regime during a trip to the Middle East next week while seeking to shore up U.S. relations with the Arab world after Donald Trump recognized Al-Quds as the capital of Israel regime.

Reuters--  Pence, a strong supporter of Trump’s decision, will spend three days in the region with stops in Israel and Egypt, the first high-level official to visit after the president reversed decades of U.S. policy and announced the United States would start the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv.

The status of Al-Quds, which holds Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, who were furious over Trump’s move and have declined to meet with Pence. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the full city.

Israel considers Al-Quds its eternal capital, while Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

Pence, an evangelical Christian who had planned to highlight the plight of Christian minorities during his trip, will not meet with Palestinian Christians or with officials from the Coptic Christian church, who declined a meeting in response to the U.S. move.

Officials said Pence still would discuss the persecution of Christians as well as the Al-Quds decision, defeating ISIS and fighting “extremist ideology.”

The dates of his trip have been in flux because of Trump’s U.S. tax overhaul push and the possibility that Pence would be needed to provide a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

He is now scheduled to depart Washington on Tuesday, arriving in Cairo on Wednesday for a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He flies to Israel later on Wednesday and will meet with Benjamin Netanyahu deliver a speech to the Israeli cabinet.

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