Pence kicks off Middle East tour

ANI | Updated: Jan 21, 2018 03:03 IST

Cairo [Egypt], Jan 21 (ANI): United States Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Egypt for the first leg of his delayed Middle East tour overshadowed by Arab anger over Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Pence, who is accompanied by his wife Karen on the trip, held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo.

However, the spiritual leaders of Egypt's Muslims and Orthodox Christians have vowed not to meet the US vice president.

Trump's designation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital poses a dilemma for Egypt, which receives extensive military and economic aid from Washington, but does not want to appear dismissive of Palestinian concerns.

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

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

In Israel, the last leg of his trip, Pence is likely to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and address the Knesset, reported Al Jazeera.

According to the reports, on Saturday, a coalition of Arab parties in the Israeli parliament said it would boycott a speech by Pence on Monday, calling him "dangerous and messianic."

His trip initially was scheduled to take place in December but was delayed apparently so that Pence could oversee a US congressional vote on tax reform.(ANI)