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Pence Middle East trip to go ahead amid Jerusalem outrage

Vice President Mike Pence will meet Sisi in Cairo and Netanyahu in Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2017

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US Vice President Mike Pence will still visit the Egypt and Israel on Tuesday despite controversy and cancellations following the Washington administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Egypt and Israel next week, despite controversy and meeting cancellations as a result of the Washington administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Aides said Pence is to travel to Cairo and Jerusalem from Tuesday, amid demonstrations and diplomatic tensions over the dramatic shift in US policy.

President Donald Trump's administration invited almost universal condemnation earlier this month when it officially recognised Jerusalem and effectively ignored Palestinian claims on the city.

The city's status had been seen as a central element of any eventual peace deal.

Palestinian, Coptic and other leaders have said Pence is not welcome and have publicly rebuffed requests for a meeting.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas cancelled a planned sit-down with Pence in Ramallah and warned that the United States no longer had a role to play in the peace process.

Any plans that Pence - who is known to be deeply religious - may have had to make the pilgrimage to Bethlehem also appear to have been thwarted. 

The US vice president will however address the Knesset and meet the Israeli and Egyptian leaders Binyamin Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during the five day trip.

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