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King, Sisi discuss Mideast over phone as Pence plans visit

Two leaders vow support for Palestinian pursuit of independent state

By JT , AFP - Jan 09,2018 - Last updated at Jan 09,2018

Protesters hold Palestinian flags as smoke rises during a protest against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the Israeli border in the eastern part of Khan Younis, Gaza, on Tuesday (Anadolu Agency photo)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Tuesday discussed on the phone bilateral relations and the latest regional developments, particularly the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem, according to a Royal Court statement.

King Abdullah stressed during the call the need to intensify efforts to coordinate the Arab stance to protect Palestinians' rights and the presence of both Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem, and support Palestinians in their efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

His Majesty and President Sisi agreed to continue coordination and consultation to serve Arab causes.

In a related development, an official source on Tuesday said that US Vice President Mike Pence is due to start a visit to Jordan on January 21, during which he will meet with His Majesty King Abdullah, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

His Majesty told deputies Tuesday that Amman would be having contacts with the US administration. 

Agence France-Presse reported that Pence will arrive in Cairo on January 20 for a meeting with Sisi, heading the following day to Amman for a one-on-one with King Abdullah.

His trip will conclude with a two-day visit on January 22-23 to Israel, where he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, deliver a speech to the Knesset and visit the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Initially set for late December, the trip was pushed back as the region reeled from deadly protests triggered by President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to declare the holy city as Israel’s capital — in a break with decades of US policy.

The city’s status is among the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

 

Trump’s controversial decision sparked protests in Arab and Muslim countries and was rejected in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution.

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