Pence delays Middle East trip in case needed for U.S. tax vote


US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Egypt and Israel next week, despite controversy and meeting cancelations as a result of the administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Republicans are hoping that the final votes will be held next week.

Media reports say he delayed the trip due to important votes in Congress on President Donald Trump's tax reform.

On Friday, Pence is set to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and visit President Reuven Rivlin in his Jerusalem residence.

Trump's announcement last week delighted Israeli leaders but was heavily criticized by many key U.S. allies and Palestinian leaders who see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Pence will now leave some time on Tuesday on a trip that will begin with a visit to Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the official said.

Pence had originally been scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday and address the Parliament, or Knesset, the following day.

Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said that during the trip, Pence would reaffirm the US commitment to USA allies in the Middle East and to working together with them in the fight against Islamist militants.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas cancelled a planned sit-down with Pence in Ramallah and warned that the United States no longer had a role to play in the peace process.

He also announced the termination of the 1993 Oslo Accords and any other agreements signed since then with Israel.

Prior to Trump's announcement, several Christian churches in Jerusalem joined the worldwide community in urging the president not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.

The custodian of the key to one of the holiest sites in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also said he would not welcome Pence to Jerusalem's Old City.

Deadly protests broke out in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem following Trump's announcement.