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Monday, 18 December 2017

What we’re tracking this week

With his advance team reportedly in town, it’s still unclear when US Vice President Mike Pence will arrive in Cairo for an expected visit. Pence’s schedule for his Middle East tour was shuffled around to ensure he was in Washington as US Congress prepares to vote tomorrow on the Republican tax bill. Pence had reportedly been scheduled to fly out of Egypt to Israel on Wednesday. Prominent regional spiritual and political leaders have announced they would boycott meetings with him as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The US’ Jerusalem declaration has inadvertently damaged attempts to advance Coptic Christians’ rights in Egypt, Jacob Wirtschafter writes for Haaretz. The declaration has unveiled a schism between Copts and Muslims over their respective views of Israel and Jews, which the Coptic community has been forced to cover up to avoid disturbing its relationship with the rest of the country.

Egyptian motion on Jerusalem at the UN: Against this background, Egypt’s delegation to the United Nations is circulating a draft resolution that would insist any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded, Reuters reports. The one-page draft is now circulating among members of the Security Council.

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