Pence Delays Upcoming Trip to Israel, Egypt Until 2018

Dec 21, 2017, 00:58
Pence Delays Upcoming Trip to Israel, Egypt Until 2018

Pence was originally scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the trip, but a Palestinian Authority official said last week that "they are no longer coordinating with them [the U.S.] on this visit", noting that they were unaware of the delay.

The trip to Egypt and Israel, due to begin on Tuesday, has been pushed back to mid-January, allowing Pence to remain in Washington in case he needs to break a tie vote in the Senate over President Donald Trump's tax reforms. "The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans", said Pence's spokesperson, Alyssa Farah, in a statement.

Pence was expected to address the Knesset on Monday and participate in a Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony at the Western Wall before continuing on to Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

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The US administration has denied claims that Pence's visit to the Middle East being delayed is linked to the massive protests in Palestine against Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence will instead travel to the Middle East during the week of January 14 so he can be in the Senate for Tuesday's expected tax vote.

Senator John McCain's return home to Arizona to fight cancer has left Republicans with a razor-thin margin to push the legislation over the finishing line.

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The House is set to vote on the bill Tuesday and the Senate will likely follow suit on Wednesday. The Vice President is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line.

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

The fallout continued Monday as the United States was forced to veto a draft UN resolution rejecting Trump's Jerusalem move, after all 14 other Security Council members - including allies like Britain - voted for the measure. In October, Pence's office said the vice president was schedule to make a stop in the occupied West Bank during the visit. "We'll obviously still go to Egypt and Israel, but we may add additional countries", the official said.

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