The Trump administration said Sunday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is “walking away” from peace talks after PA President Mahmoud Abbas declined to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming Middle East visit this month.
“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region,” stated Jarrod Agen, Pence’s deputy chief of staff.
The Trump 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,” Agen said.
The PA’s move came in response to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as his expression of plans to move the U.S. embassy to that city.
Abbas’s meeting with Pence was cancelled “because the U.S. has crossed red lines” on Jerusalem, Abbas’s diplomatic adviser Majdi Khaldi said last Saturday.
In his announcement of the U.S. policy changes last week, Trump emphasized that he was not defining the borders of Jerusalem nor altering the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
During his visit to the region, Pence will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo.