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US accuses Palestinians of walking away from peace talks

The United States has accused the Palestinian Authority of “walking away” from a chance to discuss peace in the Middle East by snubbing vice president Mike Pence on an upcoming visit.

A top official in Mr Pence’s office said the vice president was looking forward to meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he travels to region later this month.

But he appeared to confirm that Mr Pence would not be meeting anyone from Palestinian Authority which has reacted angrily to last week’s US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “The President (Donald Trump) has asked vice president Pence to go to the region to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations,” Jarrod Agen, Pence’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement on Sunday.

“The vice president very much looks forward to travelling to the region to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President al-Sisi.

“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region.”

Mr Agen said that the Trump administration nevertheless “remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestiniansand our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the US decision on Jerusalem could hinder the Trump administration’s own push for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.


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