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US Vice President Pence responds to Palestinian refusal to hold meeting

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Press Secretary for US Vice President Mike Pence Alyssa Farah said on Sunday that the Palestinians' refusal to meet with Pence is "walking away from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region."

The statment added: "The administration remains undeterred in its efforts to achieve peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work to put together a plan," according to the Jerusalem Post.

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

“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.

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