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Pence to leave for delayed Middle East trip Jan. 19

Vice President Mike Pence will visit the Middle East later this month, leaving Jan. 19 for Egypt, the White House said Monday. 

In Egypt, Pence will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He will then travel to Jordan where he'll meet with King Abdullah on Jan. 21. After that, he'll spend the next two days in Israel and participate in bilateral talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Pence is expected to deliver a speech to the Knesset, visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem and visit the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. 

"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," said Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah. "The Vice President is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security."

His trip to the Middle East had been delayed in December in case his vote was needed on the GOP tax bill in the Senate. In addition, after President Trump's formal recognition of Jerusalem last month as Israel's official capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled a meeting with Pence as did the grand Imam of al Azhar mosque in Egypt and Christian leaders, including the head of the Egyptian Coptic Church. Abbas said at the time that the Palestinians won't accept any role for the U.S. in a peace process with Israel "from now on."

Mr. Trump visited Israel last May for the first time as president.

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