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Pence Meets Egyptian President As Middle East Tour Begins

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on January 20 on the first leg of a delayed Middle East tour that comes amid anger across the Arab world over Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence said relations between the two countries were stronger than ever and said that U.S. President Donald Trump passed along his gratitude to Sisi for enacting economic reforms.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with you in Egypt in the fight against terrorism," Pence said.

Sisi said he and Pence discussed how to eliminate the "disease and cancer" of terrorism and described Trump as a friend.

Pence's itinerary for the trip includes stops in Jordan and Israel.

His tour of the region comes more than a month after Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The move has infuriated Palestinians, who see Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared the entire city as its capital -- a move that the international community has never recognized.

Pence was not expected to meet with Palestinian officials during his trip, which was originally scheduled for December.

The trip was postponed in a delay the White House said was linked to a congressional vote at the time on sweeping tax legislation.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and CNN