Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Pence Seeks to Ease Jerusalem Tensions

Pence Seeks to Ease Jerusalem Tensions

Sunday, 21 January, 2018 - 07:45
US Vice President Mike Pence. AFP PHOTO / Eitan ABRAMOVICH

US Vice President Mike Pence kicked off on Saturday his Middle East tour by first visiting Egypt where he met with President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.

The visit is the first of a US official to the region since US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital last month, which was met with Arab and worldwide rejections.

In his regional tour, Pence seeks to ease tensions on the Jerusalem file.

On the eve of his arrival to Cairo, Press secretary Alyssa Farah said the trip was “integral to America’s national security and diplomatic objectives” and would go on as scheduled.

After spending a couple of hours in Cairo, the US VP left the Egyptian capital on Saturday evening heading to Amman, where he will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah. He is expected to visit Israel on Monday and Tuesday.

Palestinians are currently boycotting Pence’s visit, and they lean towards finding an international substitute to replace the US role, as a response to Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leadership is therefore studying a Russian invitation to organize a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

Abbas is scheduled to visit Moscow next month to discuss the possibility of developing a new peace vision.

On Saturday, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat uncovered the peace plan formulated by the US administration in a document presented to Abbas and received by Asharq Al-Awsat.

In this document, Erekat told Abbas that the new peace plan formulated by the current US administration aims for “imposing and dictating” the American decisions.

Erekat also said that those who reject US dictations would be considered as terrorist or extremist forces.

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