Palestinians to Snub VP Pence During Mideast Visit

CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -
A general view shows the Arab League headquarters ahead of the Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting on President Trump’s decision to recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 9. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during Pence’s visit to the region this month, in a snub over the U.S. recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, the Palestinian Foreign Minister said on Saturday.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Palestinians will be looking for a new peace talks broker instead of the United States and would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution over Trump’s decision.

“We will seek a new mediator from our Arab brothers and the international community,” Maliki told reporters in Cairo before an Arab League meeting to discuss Trump’s decision.

A Turkish presidential source said Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider the move.

A possible meeting with Pence has also been turned down by Egypt’s Coptic Church, MENA state news agency reported.

White House officials could not immediately be reached for comment and State Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Palestinian officials said Pence had been due to meet Abbas on Dec. 19.

The Turkish presidential source said Erdogan and Macron agreed during a phone call that Trump’s move was worrying for the region and that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the U.S. decision.

Erdogan also spoke to the presidents of Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Azerbaijan on Saturday, the source said. On Wednesday, he called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey next week.