US VP Mike Pence once again delays Middle East visit

"The vice president looks forward to travelling to Egypt and Israel in January".

"Since the tax vote could possibly take place shortly before midnight on Wednesday, it was not practically possible for the Vice President to travel this week", said the White House official.

The reason for the delay is the ongoing tax legislation being carried out by US President Donald Trump's administration. "The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision".

"This is all about the largest tax cut in American history and having the vice president and the full team here", the official said.

According to Reuters news agency, White House officials said that the decision to delay Pence's trip was not related to the criticism over Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

Pence, who was originally scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday and then rescheduled to leave on Tuesday for a brief visit in Egypt before arriving in Israel for a multi-day trip, will not be making the trip to the Middle East until he sees "the tax cut through to the finish line".

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Trump said he had chose to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital to keep a campaign promise, noting that several of his predecessors had vowed to do so, but never did.

Suddenly, half of Pence's meetings were canceled.

"There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine", Abbas' diplomatic adviser, Majdi al-Khaldi, said three days ago. The two religious leaders also declined to meet with Pence.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction had called for a massive demonstration to coincide with Pence's visit and ruled out meeting him in Ramallah or Bethlehem.

Sissi agreed to still meet with Pence, although his decision to do so was deeply unpopular in Egypt. John McCain, R-Ariz., was returning to his home state for cancer treatment, leaving Republicans with only 51 votes for the tax bill.

Vice President Mike Pence's office on Monday announced it had been chose to delay his trip to the Middle East scheduled for Tuesday, to keep him available to cast the tie breaking vote at the Senate on the GOP tax reform bill. "We'll obviously still go to Egypt and Israel, but we may add additional countries", the official said.


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