Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

VP Pence to travel to Middle East next week

VP Pence to travel to Middle East next week

The New York Times reported in a feature written by David D. Kirkpatrick on Saturday that although Egypt denounced President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, there has been a quiet move by intelligence officials in Cairo to prepare the public for a completely different reality, one in which the Palestinian Authority will have to live with making concessions of its own for the first time ever. While in Israel, Pence also plans to visit the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

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

The worldwide community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the full city.

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She said Pence was looking forward to discussing with the leaders there ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve national security.

He will also hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Egyptian leaders refused a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence, and Egypt submitted a United Nations Security Council resolution seeking to undo Trump's decision, which was ultimately vetoed by the US. Pence is expected to meet only with el-Sissi, a leading Trump ally, while in Egypt.

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While the Arab world publicly decried Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, new evidence suggests a contrary private opinion in Egypt.

When making his announcement, Trump added the caveat that Jerusalem's status would be determined in negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. "Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby Jerusalem will be - Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we would go for it".

The approach has pushed back against an worldwide consensus that Jerusalem's status should be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and comes as Trump has vowed to press forward with plans to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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On Saturday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with Arab foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the UAE and the Palestinian Authority as well as Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit to discuss seeking worldwide recognition of eastern Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that now houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah. 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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