White House announces Pence's Middle East visit dates after month's delay

Pence will also give a speech at the Knesset, visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, an official said.

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January 8, 2018 18:52
1 minute read.
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd in Florida in August. Pence will be visiting Israel a

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd in Florida in August. Pence will be visiting Israel and its neighbors on January 20-23. (photo credit: JOE SKIPPER/REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON – US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East on January 20 for meetings in Israel, Jordan and Egypt that were twice postponed over a domestic policy push.

He will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on January 20, then with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on January 21, before spending two days in Israel.

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A senior administration official said Pence will meet with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and with President Reuven Rivlin during his visit, which will focus on Iran policy, counterterrorism and US efforts to protect religious minorities throughout the region.

Middle East peace will be a topic of conversation but will not be the focal point of the trip. Palestinian Authority officials have declined meetings with Pence after US President Donald Trump last month recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, at the vice-president’s urging.

Pence will also give a speech at the Knesset, visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, the official said.

“At President Trump’s direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the US’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, told The Jerusalem Post. “The vice president 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.”

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