Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Flash 90

An aide to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas confirmed on Saturday that Abbas will refuse to meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence later this month following Washington's controversial policy shift on Jerusalem.

"There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine," Abbas's diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khaldi told AFP.

"The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision," he stated.

Khaldi’s statement comes after senior PA official Jibril Rajoub said on Thursday 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.

A White House official later stressed that Pence still planned to meet with Abbas and warned that canceling the meeting would be "counterproductive."

On Friday, Ahmed al-Tayeb who heads Al-Azhar, Egypt's top Sunni Muslim institution, also scrapped plans to meet Pence over what he called the "unjust and unfair American decision on Jerusalem".

Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II followed suit and on Saturday also cancelled a meeting with Pence, with the church saying it "declines to receive" him in protest at Trump's announcement which failed to take into account the "feelings of millions" of Arabs.

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