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Jerusalem: sources, Mike Pence's visit postponed

Jerusalem: sources, Mike Pence's visit postponed

Washington, Dec 14 Vice President Mike Pence plans to delay his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, White House officials said today.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks with officials, first responders and victims near the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S., November 8, 2017.

The trip was announced following President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel last week, which infuriated the Arab world.

Pence had planned to leave Saturday for Israel, following President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

On Thursday morning, he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem office.

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Pence will now leave some time on Tuesday on a trip that will begin with a visit to Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the official said.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Pence will land in Israel on Wednesday of next week, rather than on Sunday, so he may partake in a vote on tax reform should Senate Republicans need him to break a tie.

Speaking at an emergency summit of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said: "We shall not accept any role for the United States in the peace process".

Delaying the Jerusalem visit allows Pence to cast that vote if tax reform moves forward next week. The OIC called on the worldwide community to recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital.

Prior to Trump's announcement, several Christian churches in Jerusalem joined the global community in urging the president not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city. The Israeli army responded by targeting what it described as three military facilities in Gaza used as training and weapons storage sites by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.


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