Egyptian religious leaders decline Pence meeting over Jerusalem decision

Egyptian religious leaders decline Pence meeting over Jerusalem decision
© Greg Nash

Egypt's Coptic Church has declined to meet with Vice President Pence during his upcoming trip to the region this month, citing President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to Reuters.

The MENA state news agency reported Saturday that the church had "excused itself from hosting Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor Trump is missing an opportunity in Hong Kong How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE," saying Trump's decision came "at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people."

The announcement comes as Palestinian leaders have also announced they will not meet with Pence during his visit. 

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Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was a break with the international community which has traditionally recognized Tel Aviv as the country's capital. 

The Trump administration has been supportive of the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt, recently voicing its support after a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt’s El-Minya governorate in May, killing 28 people.

“America also makes clear to its friends, allies, and partners that the treasured and historic Christian Communities of the Middle East must be defended and protected,” Trump said in a statement at the time.

“The bloodletting of Christians must end, and all who aid their killers must be punished.”

The president also condemned two "heinous terrorist attacks” against a pair of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt last April.