Palestinian president, Coptic Pope not to meet Pence

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2017. (Reuters)

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will not hold a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence following Washington’s controversial policy shift on Jerusalem, an Abbas aide said on Saturday.

“There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine,” diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khaldi told AFP. “The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision.”

The White House warned on Thursday that cancelling the meeting planned for later this month in the West Bank would be “counterproductive”, but Abbas has been under heavy domestic pressure to shun Pence following President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas’s Fatah party, told AFP the same day that Pence was “not welcome in Palestine”.

US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel.

The move was fully supported by Pence.

Abbas has said Trump has disqualified the United States from its longstanding role as peace broker in the Middle East conflict. 

Egypt’s Coptic Pope rejects Pence meeting  

Egypt’s Coptic Church head Pope Tawadros II cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence in Cairo later this month in protest at Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the church said on Saturday.

US President Donald Trump’s decision “did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people,” the church said in a statement, adding it decided not to receive Pence when his visits Egypt.

Pence is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories sometime before Christmas.

Last Update: Saturday, 9 December 2017 KSA 16:46 - GMT 13:46

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