VP Pence will Address Parliament During Brief but Busy Visit

The visit is the highest level by a U.S. official to the region since December, when Trump upended decades of USA policy on Jerusalem in a move opposed by Arab leaders including Sisi.

Pence was meeting last Sunday with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman and visiting with U.S. troops in the region.

Pence had initially planned to visit the region last December, shortly after Trump's announcement, but the trip was postponed after Abbas' refusal to meet the vice president in Bethlehem.

The President's decision sparked clashes in parts of east Jerusalem and the West Bank between Palestinian protestors and Israeli security forces.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is refusing to meet Pence because of the declaration, making his visit a rare one by a high-ranking United States official not to include talks with the Palestinians.

The Egyptian president further highlighted that only negotiations based on a two-state solution could put an end to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The vice president called it a "very productive" meeting and said he pressed el-Sissi to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea, urged him to respect religious diversity and told him the United States was committed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Abdullah emphasised to Pence that East Jerusalem had to be the capital of a future Palestinian state and that the two-state solution was the only path to peace between Israel and Palestine.

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Abdullah noted that the USA decision was not part of a "comprehensive settlement" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

King Abdullah said the U.S. move on Jerusalem would fuel radicalism and inflame Muslim and Christian tensions. "My perception was that he was encouraged by that message".

Speaking before an American flag and camouflaged tarpaulins, Pence told the crowd that President Donald Trump stood behind them and would work to ensure their pay continues uninterrupted as the government enters the second day of a shutdown.

They also worry the move could trigger violence in the Palestinian territories which could spill over into Jordan, where many people are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families left after Israel was created in 1948.

The vice president will fly to Israel Sunday evening where he will address the Knesset - Israel's parliament - and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Pence arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour and travelled on Sunday to Jordan.


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