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newsmoments.net January 22, 2018


Pence postpones trip to Mideast, citing vote on tax bill

21 December 2017, 12:59 | Simon Arnold

Pence postpones trip to Mideast, citing vote on tax bill

A boy stands in front of a burning barricade during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near the West Bank city of Ramallah

In October, Vice President Mike Pence, a forthright Evangelical Christian, expressed his intention to show solidarity with the Middle East's persecuted Christians before Christmas.

"The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans", said Alyssa Farah, Pence's press secretary.

Pence's Middle East visit was shaping up to be a victory lap after President Donald Trump officially announced a couple weeks ago that he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A protester sits in a chair in front of a barricade during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near the West Bank city of Ramallah December 1

Pence was originally scheduled to depart over the last weekend, but the trip was delayed until this week so that he could preside over the upcoming Senate vote on tax code changes.

Then Trump announced on December 6 that his administration had made a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of USA policy and drawing sharp criticism from allies and adversaries. His decision came amid an uproar in the Middle East over the Trump administration's decision to designate Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had originally meant to meet with Pence but pulled out of the meeting after denouncing Trump's decision.


A senior official said Monday that even though "the tax vote is still in very good shape", the last-minute failure of health-care reform legislation in July - following an unexpected thumbs down from Sen.

But after Trump's decision earlier this month on Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority declined the meeting.

The change of plans comes days after Palestinian officials cancelled their meeting with Pence in the West Bank following Trump's decision last week to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.


Mr Pence was scheduled to leave tonight to Egypt then on to Israel where he was planning to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as address the Kenneset.

The leader of Egypt's Coptic Church had already cancelled his meeting with Pence to protest the USA move. The vice president wanted to make sure that he was in place to break a tie if it were necessary, the official said.




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