United States vice president to visit Jordan during Mideast tour

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Richard PencePence allies anxious he'll be called to answer questions from Mueller: report Trump thought it was "low class" for Pence to bring pets to VP residence: report Pence told RNC he could replace Trump on ticket after "Access Hollywood" tape came out: report MORE will leave Washington one week from Friday for a four-day Middle East tour that will take him to Egypt, Israel and Jordan, his office announced Monday.

The White House explained, in a statement, that Pence will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel without mentioning if he will visit West Bank or not.

"At President Trump's direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the U.S.'s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations", Pence spokesperson Alyssa Farah said in a statement.

Pence plans to leave Washington on January 19 and arrive in Egypt on January 20 to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

He plans to discuss with the three leaders "ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security", she added.

Pence was supposed to visit the region in December, including a visit to Bethlehem and meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Palestinian officials have pressured local church leaders to reject Pence's visit and follow the example of the Egyptian Coptic Church whose pope has refused to meet the U.S. vice president due to the decision.

While the Arab world publicly decried Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, new evidence suggests a contrary private opinion in Egypt.

Bitterly rejected by the Palestinian Authority, which is now boycotting the Trump administration, the move was hailed by Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Pence is expected to meet only with el-Sissi, a leading Trump ally, while in Egypt.

The status of Jerusalem has always been a central issue in the Israel- Palestinian conflict. "We have enough on our plate as you know", Kholi allegedly said regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He reportedly backed out of a planned interview with the Times. "How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?" he reportedly said in all four of the calls.

On Saturday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with Arab foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the UAE and the Palestinian Authority as well as Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit to discuss seeking global recognition of eastern Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Jordan has a large population of Palestinian origin, and the king serves as guardian of the third holiest site of Islam, located in east Jerusalem.

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