Jordan's King Abdullah and wife Queen Rania, meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence, at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan January 21, 2018. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence began a visit to Israel Sunday after being praised as a "great friend" by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shunned by the Palestinians over U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It is the highest-level U.S. visit to the region since President Donald Trump made his declaration on Dec. 6 and promised to begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy to the city, whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump's shift on Jerusalem overturned decades of U.S. policy that its status should be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.In comments delivered in Egypt, his first stop on the Middle East visit, Pence said Washington would support a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides agreed to it.Visiting Jordan Sunday before flying to Israel, Pence told its monarch, King Abdullah, that Washington was committed to preserving the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians.After meeting Netanyahu, Pence will address the Israeli Parliament, whose 1948 Palestinian members have said they will boycott the event.
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