Palestinian official says US vice president Mike Pence 'not welcome'

Vice President Mike Pence looks on after

"The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine", Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas s Fatah, told AFP.

Abbas made the remarks in a speech aired live on the official Palestinian Television shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

While Abbas says he continues to view Jerusalem as Palestine's "eternal capital", language identical to Israel's. According to Palestinian officials, the United States moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem or recognizing the city as Israel's capital is equivalent to siding with Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem.

Abbas believes that the USA decision "plays into the hands of extremists, who want to give the conflict a religious character, to which we are always warned".

Pence is expected to visit the region later this month. It is not clear what Rajoub's comments mean for Pence's visit to the Palestinian territories. Trump has vowed to broker an agreement between the two sides, which he has called the "ultimate deal". "We must do everything to avoid violence and to ensure the dialogue", - said the President of France.

Shortly before, Egypt had condemned the US decision.

US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel s capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel.

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