VP Pence still plans trip to Middle East

VP Pence still plans trip to Middle East

In the hours leading up to his global departure, Pence had been having conversations with members of Congress to avoid a shutdown, one source tells CNN.

Vice President Mike Pence Pence is blasting Democrats for the congressional failure to keep the government open.

Greenblatt's visit is also meant to pave the way for a scheduled visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on January 21. Pence was not expected to be needed to break a tie in the Republican-controlled Senate; if needed, he would make phone calls to lawmakers from the plane en route to Egypt, a White House official said.

"The main theme for the vice president is going to be looking forward", the official said.

While in the Middle East, Pence will not meet with any officials from the Palestinian territories.

The Arab lawmaker said after Trump's December 6 declaration that the USA "has lost its place as the exclusive mediator of negotiations." echoing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has struck out strongly at the Trump administration since the announcement on Jerusalem.

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Pence, who arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour, travels Sunday on to Jordan and to Israel later the same day.

He will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel over four days but won't meet with Palestinians, reflecting the impasse in the Trump administration's efforts to broker peace between them and Israel.

Pence will also speak to Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset, where he is likely to receive an enthusiastic reception.

A coalition of Arab parties in the Israeli parliament said Saturday it will boycott a speech by visiting US Vice President Mike Pence, calling him "dangerous and messianic".

In all these countries, Pence will also highlight his work with the US Agency for International Development, focused on relief efforts for persecuted religious minorities.

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