US VP Pence's planned visit to Israel up in the air again

AP

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FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 file photo, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks to troops in a hangar at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Israel's Foreign Ministry said Monday Jan. 1, 2018 that an expected visit by Pence has been postponed again. Pence was scheduled to visit Israel in December 2017. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel's Foreign Ministry on Monday said an expected visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence appears to have been postponed again.

Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the visit, which had been expected to take place the week of Jan. 14, is not on the ministry's schedule for January.

"The visit is not included in our provision of scheduled visits of high-level dignitaries in January," he said.

He gave no reason for the apparent delay and said it was still possible that Pence could decide to come. But he said there was no new date for an expected visit.

Pence had been scheduled to visit Israel last month but called off the trip at late notice and said he would come instead in January.

The official reason for the delay was the Senate tax vote. But it also followed region-wide uproar over President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Palestinians, who seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, canceled a planned meeting with Pence to protest Trump's decision. Leading Muslim and Christian clerics in neighboring Egypt also said they would refuse to meet with Pence during a planned stop in Cairo.

There was no immediate White House comment.

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