01:23 GMT28 January 2020
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    Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki has said that President Mahmoud Abbas would not be meeting Pence on December 19, as expected, and there would be no communication between the US and Palestinian authorities.

    The White House finds the decision of the Palestinian authorities not to meet US Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to the region "unfortunate," Alyssa Farah, the press secretary for the vice president, said Sunday in a statement.

    "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 putting together a plan," the statement, posted on Farah's Twitter, said.

    Palestine's refusal to meet with Pence came shortly after the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    US President Donald Trump announced the decision on Wednesday and signed a document on relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city that is also claimed by Palestine as its capital,  immediately sparking a violent backlash in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, alongside many ongoing protests in the Middle East.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's office has not confirmed information regarding Pence's upcoming visit.


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