Pence hits Palestinian leadership for backing out of meeting

Pence hits Palestinian leadership for backing out of meeting
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Vice President Pence’s office on Sunday expressed disappointment with Palestinian leadership for "walking away" from discussions over the future of the region, after they canceled a meeting with Pence following President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Fallon responds to Trump: I'll donate to pro-immigrant nonprofit in his name South Carolina GOP candidate expected to make full recovery after car accident Official: US to present North Korea with timeline, 'specific asks' MORE’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the Administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work on putting together a plan,” Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said in a statement.

The Palestinian foreign minister on Saturday announced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with Pence when he visits the region later this month, citing Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Egypt’s Coptic Church has also turned down a meeting with Pence due to the Jerusalem decision.

Trump's announcement set off protests in the Middle East and drew criticism from leaders in the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The other member nations of the United Nations Security Council condemned the decision, calling it "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyRaces to watch in Tuesday’s primaries In Syria, Trump travel ban case is being watched closely Cheer the US exit from UN Human Rights Council — but demand more MORE on Sunday argued the decision will ultimately help "move the ball forward" in negotiating a lasting peace in the Middle East.

"For those who want to say this is a bad idea, I’ll tell you, ask us five and 10 years from now if you still think it’s a bad idea because I really do think that this is going to move the ball in the peace process," she said.