White House: Pence still plans to meet Palestinian leader

Mike Pence is pictured. | AP Photo

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Israel and Egypt later this month. He was a vocal supporter of the move within the administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Vice President Mike Pence still intends to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas when he visits the region later this month, even after a senior Palestinian official said Palestinians would not meet with him in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A top Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, called for Arab officials not to meet with Pence and said “we will not receive him in the Palestinian territories,” according to the Associated Press.

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But the White House said the meeting would proceed as planned.

Pence “still intends to meet with Abbas and Palestinian leaders and thinks any decision to pull out of the meeting would be counterproductive,” a White House official said.

Pence will travel to Israel and Egypt later this month. His trip was viewed within the administration as an impetus to make the Jerusalem announcement, which stoked controversy in the region and was widely slammed as an impediment to a peace deal by world leaders. Pence was a vocal supporter of the move within the administration.

He is also slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, address the Israeli legislature and meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during the trip.

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