CAIRO – 20 January 2018: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will arrive in Cairo on Saturday on his first visit in a four-day tour to the Middle East.
Pence plans to visit Amman and Jerusalem as well This is the first U.S. high-profile official visit to the region after the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
A 20-member delegation arrived in Cairo last week coming from Greece, and prepared for the anticipated visit of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House released in a statement.
Pence, a strong supporter of Trump's decision on Jerusalem, will also visit the city's Western Wall and give a speech at the Israeli Knesset, the statement said.
“He plans to discuss with the three leaders ‘ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security,’" said Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence.
Pence postponed a planned visit to Egypt and Israel twice. The White House said Pence’s regional tour to the Middle East was postponed for a congressional vote on Trump's tax overhaul plan.
The U.S. vice president left Washington on Friday and will meet with Sisi on Saturday, then he will fly to Amman to hold talks with King Abdullah II on Sunday, before he heads to Jerusalem where he will spend two days.
Pence will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and with President Reuven Rivlin, stressing the American commitment to the Israeli stability and safety among its Arab neighbors.
He will also give remarks at the Knesset, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall.
Egypt’s Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb announced his rejection to meet with the U.S. VP on December 8.
“How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it,” Tayeb expressed in the statement, alluding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Grand Imam called on Trump to overturn his illegitimate and illegal decision.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark’s Diocese also declined Pence’s meeting invitation. “This decision affects millions of people's feelings in the region. How could we meet him after this?” the Pope wondered during an interview with CBC television channel on January 8.
On December 21, a total of 128 countries defied President Donald Trump’s threat and voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.