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Visit was delayed after huge protests against Trump’s Jerusalem move

US Vice President Mike Pence began his Middle East journey on Saturday, from Cairo with his meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussing bilateral relations and regional issues. He will also visit Jordan and Israel.

According to Al-Ahram daily, Egyptian President told US Vice President that only negotiations based on a two-state solution can end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

It said that El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s “firm position on the Palestinian issue,” pointing out that the “settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will only be achieved through negotiations based on the two-state solution,” El-Sisi’s spokesman Bassam Rady said.

According to a statement issued by US embassy in Cairo, Pence addressed the “shared need to combat terrorism and assist persecuted religious minorities.” Pence told reporters in Cairo on Saturday that Egypt’s objection to the decision is “disagreement between friends,” adding “We heard President el-Sisi out.”

Alyssa Farah, Pence’ press secretary said, “The vice president is travelling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the United States’ allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations.”

According to Daily News Egypt, the statement issued by US embassy said that  Pence will also visit Jordan and Israel. During his two day visit to Israel Pence will participate in “bilateral discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. He will also give remarks at the Knesset, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall.”

Earlier, Mike Pence was scheduled to visit in late December which was delayed due to President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem move announcement the holy city as Israel’s capital. Several prominent persons in the region, including in Egypt and Palestine had denied meeting US Vice President.

World community, the governments and people protested against Trump’s Jerusalem move. United Nations Security Council had opposed the Trump’s move while Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) summit in Istanbul had condemned US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Protest demonstrations were held in most countries in Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. Even US’ close allies including UK, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia along with other GCC countries had condemned the move.

A Cairo based newspaper quoted Noha Bakr, an expert in US affairs and professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, saying  that the visit comes in line with the current consultations on the Jerusalem issue, combating terrorism, and the regional issues in Syria and Yemen.

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