Timing of Trump peace plan depends on Palestinians: Pence

Mike Pence. (AP)
Updated 23 January 2018
0

Timing of Trump peace plan depends on Palestinians: Pence

JERUSALEM: US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday the timing of a long-awaited US Middle East peace initiative depends on the return of Palestinians to negotiations.
President Donald Trump’s advisers have been working on the outlines of a plan for some time. But Palestinians ruled out Washington as a peace broker after the US leader’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The White House has been working with our partners in the region to see if we can develop a framework for peace,” Pence told Reuters in an interview in Jerusalem on the last leg of his three-day Middle East trip.
“It all just depends now on when the Palestinians are going to come back to the table.”
Trump’s Jerusalem move angered the Palestinians, sparked protests in the Middle East and raised concern among Western countries that it could further destabilize the region.
Pence said he and the president believed the decision, under which the US also plans to move its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, would improve peacemaking prospects.
Pence discussed the Jerusalem issue during talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday. He said the two leaders had agreed to convey to the Palestinians that the US was eager to resume peace talks.
“We want them (the Palestinians) to know the door is open. We understand they’re unhappy with that decision but the president wanted me to convey our willingness and desire to be a part of the peace process going forward,” Pence said.
Pence said the US State Department would spell out details in the coming weeks about a plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
Israeli media have speculated that a 2019 embassy move could help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win reelection in a vote scheduled for November of that year.
Asked if he hoped for Netanyahu’s reelection, Pence said: “I'm a strong supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu, but I don’t get a vote here.”


Eighth lawmaker quits Britain’s Labour Party

Joan Ryan, a Labour member of parliament. (Twitter)
Updated 17 min 37 sec ago
0

Eighth lawmaker quits Britain’s Labour Party

LONDON: Joan Ryan, a Labour member of parliament, has become the eighth lawmaker to resign from Britain’s main opposition party.
Ryan, a lawmaker elected from Enfield North, said http://bit.ly/2DTKWhr in a tweet late on Tuesday that she was resigning over concerns about anti-Semitism allegations within the party.
Seven other Labour lawmakers quit on Monday over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism, saying Britain’s main opposition party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left.”