US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East on a trip that has been postponed from last month after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
He will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel from January 20 to 23, the White House said on Monday.
Pence will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it added.
Pence is not expected to meet with the Palestinians, who have sought to make Israel-annexed east Jerusalem their capital.
Before Trump's announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had planned to meet with Pence in the biblical town of Bethlehem but pulled out of the meeting in protest.
The White House decision on Jerusalem also prompted leading Muslim and Christian clerics in Egypt to refuse to meet with the vice president in Cairo.
Pence, a strong supporter of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, will also visit the city’s Western Wall and give a speech at the Israeli parliament, it said.
Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and announcement in December that the United States would start the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv led to uproar and protest in the region.
“At President Trump’s direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the US’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” said Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence.
He plans to discuss with the three leaders “ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security,” she added.
The status of Jerusalem, which is home to Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move and have declined to meet with Pence. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the full city.
Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal capital, while Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.
Pence postponed a planned visit to Egypt and Israel last month to stay in Washington for a congressional vote on Trump’s tax overhaul plan.