Washington: The United States Vice-President Mike Pence will embark on a three-nation tour to the Middle East, on behalf of the US President Donald Trump.
According to a statement released by Pence’s office, it said that he will visit Egypt, followed by Jordan and Israel. However, he would not be visiting Palestine.
Pence is undertaking this visit, in order to address the need to combat terrorism jointly with other countries and to assist the persecuted religious minorities.
The US Vice-President’s first port of call would be Egypt, where he will stay for two days, before travelling to Jordan for one day and then ending the tour in Israel.
“The Vice-President is travelling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the United States’ allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations. He is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security”, said Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary.
Pence was earlier supposed to visit Israel in December last year, including a visit to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, followed by a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine.
However, relations between the US and Israel turned sour when on, December 6 last year, Trump announced the decision of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Palestinian authorities then cut off all contacts with the US officials as a protest, and also said that it will not meet with Pence, prompting a delay in the visit and a change in plans.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also rejected the US’ peace efforts and called on the European Union (EU) to take the lead in the Israel-Palestine peace process.
Jerusalem is considered a sacred place, which is home to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. However, it is also a disputed territory, contested by both Israel and Palestine, which sees it as the capital of its future state. (ANI)