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US warns against scrapping Abbas talks

Published : Friday, 8 December, 2017 at 12:01 PM Count : 183

Photo : AFP

Photo : AFP

The US has warned Palestinians against cancelling talks with Vice-President Mike Pence, after Washington recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

It would be "counterproductive" to scrap talks between Mr Pence and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned later this month, the US said.

A senior Palestinian official earlier said Mr Pence would not be welcome.

President Donald Trump's announcement on Jerusalem this week reversed decades of US policy on Jerusalem's status.

On Thursday, at least 31 Palestinians were wounded in clashes in the Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank.

The clashes were triggered by Mr Trump's policy shift. More protests are expected in Palestinian territories on Friday.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.

Israel has deployed hundreds of extra troops in the West Bank.

Many of Washington's closest allies have said they disagree with the US policy shift, and both the UN Security Council and the Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide their response.

How did a row about the Abbas-Pence talks develop?

On Thursday, the White House said the vice-president planned to hold the meeting as planned.

Mr Pence "still intends to meet Mr Abbas and Palestinian leaders and thinks any decision to pull out of the meeting would be counterproductive," a White House official said.

During his visit - scheduled for the second half of December - Mr Pence will also visit Israel and Egypt.

Earlier in the day, Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in Mr Abbas' Fatah party, said Mr Pence was "not welcome" in the Palestinian territories.

Mr Rajoub added that the meeting with the Palestinian leader would not take place.

Mr Abbas has not personally commented on the issue.

BBC/LY





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