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m3n4.net August 22, 2018


Pence arrives in Israel as Trump's Jerusalem move reverberates

22 January 2018, 01:44 | Tara Lloyd

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US Vice President Mike Pence has told Egypt's leader the US would support a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides agreed to it.

From Cairo, Pence heads to Jordan, where he will meet with King Abdullah, a close United States ally.

Pence had initially planned to visit the region in December, shortly after Trump's announcement, but the trip was postponed in the aftermath of Abbas' refusal to meet the vice president in Bethlehem. Moreover, Pence's visit represents the first arrival of a senior US official since the December 6 declaration.

"The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from it", Abbas said at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron last month, according to AFP.

Another cause of concern for Jordan is the Trump administration's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "It is key to peace in the region and key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of our root causes of radicalization", he said.

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Pence told the king that Washington was committed to preserving the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Jordanian officials are further anxious the move could trigger violence in the Palestinian territories and a spillover into Jordan, a country where many people are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families left their homes after the creation of Israel in 1948.

"He is a risky man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region", MP Ayman Odeh said of Pence.

The US vice president arrived in Jordan on Saturday evening from Egypt, where he met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a key Trump ally.

Abdullah emphasised to Pence that East Jerusalem had to be the capital of a future Palestinian state and that the two-state solution was the only path to peace between Israel and Palestine.

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Abdullah warned against declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it would have a unsafe impact on regional stability and obstruct US efforts to resume peace talks.

Pence will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, and is scheduled to have talks with President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.

The leaders of both Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel, would be key players if USA mediators ever manage to get a revived Israeli-Palestinian peace process off the ground, as Trump says he wants.

Sisi had urged the U.S. president before his Jerusalem declaration "not to complicate the situation in the region by taking measures that jeopardise the chances of peace in the Middle East".

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