White House: Pence still plans to meet Abbas

White House says canceling meeting between PA chairman and VP Pence would be "counterproductive."

Elad Benari,

MIke Pence
MIke Pence

The White House warned Thursday that canceling a planned meeting between Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Vice President Mike Pence in the wake of the U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem would be "counterproductive."

The comments came hours after the PA announced that Pence would not be welcomed during his visit to the region later this month.

A senior PA official announced that representatives of the Trump administration, including the vice president, would not be welcomed, due to President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

A White House aide said later on Thursday, according to AFP, that Pence "still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled" and "believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting."

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party, told AFP earlier that Pence was "not welcome in Palestine" during his upcoming visit and that “Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made" about Jerusalem.

Abbas has not made similar comments and his office could not immediately be reached.

The PA claimed that Trump's move marked the “end of the peace process”, claiming the U.S. could no longer serve as a fair broker in a potential final status agreement.