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Mike Pence Delaying Trip to Middle East Because of Tax Vote

21 December, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Mike Pence Delaying Trip to Middle East Because of Tax Vote

United State Vice President Mike Pence has postponed his controversial visit to the Middle East planned for this week but USA special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt is still coming, a White House official said on Monday. The visit, which was expected to take place amid the tensions surrounding Jerusalem's status, has been rescheduled for mid-January.

The chief rabbi of the the Western Wall rejected a request by Vice President Mike Pence to hold a press conference at the holy site during his upcoming trip, The Times of Israel reports.

Pence originally planned to also pay a visit to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, but the latter has since announced Pence was not welcome, because of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. On Monday, the United States, using its veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, blocked a council resolution demanding that the Trump administration rescind its decision. "We have some senators who obviously can't make it there for the vote and the Vice President feels that it's important for him to be here for the largest tax cut in history". The vice president's office had originally planned to leave on Saturday night for Israel but pushed back his departure because of the pending tax bill. "The vice president looks forward to travelling to Egypt and Israel in January".

But after Trump's decision earlier this month on Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority declined the meeting.

The White House warned that cancelling the meeting in the West Bank would be "counterproductive", but Abbas has been under heavy domestic pressure to shun Pence following Trump's announcement.

A senior official said Monday that even though "the tax vote is still in very good shape", the last-minute failure of health-care reform legislation in July - following an unexpected thumbs down from Sen.

On December 9, the leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian faith, the largest Christian group in the Middle East, refused to meet Pence.

According to Reuters news agency, White House officials said that the decision to delay Pence's trip was not related to the criticism over Trump's decision on Jerusalem.



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