Pompeo, Netanyahu hail Warsaw talks, urge more cooperation
Updated 21:53, 14-Feb-2019
CGTN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Thursday as historic a Warsaw meeting where he is joining Arab states, saying they stood united against Iran and voicing hope that cooperation extends to other areas.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also attending the conference co-hosted with Poland.

But most European powers are sending low-level representation, wary of the hawkish line on Iran by President Donald Trump who withdrew from an international accord on curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

Participants arrive for a session at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo

Participants arrive for a session at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo

'Turning point'

The opening dinner Wednesday night of the two-day, U.S.-organized conference marked "a historical turning point," Netanyahu told reporters.

"In a room of some 60 foreign ministers representative of dozens of governments, an Israeli prime minister and the foreign ministers of the leading Arab countries stood together and spoke with unusual force, clarity and unity against the common threat of the Iranian regime," he said.

"I think this marks a change and important understanding of what threatens our future, what we need to do to secure it, and the possibility that cooperation will extend beyond security in every realm of life."

At the opening dinner at Warsaw's Royal Castle, officials said that Netanyahu spoke around the same table as senior officials of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – none of which have relations with Israel but all of which share Netanyahu's hawkish stance on Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a plenary session at the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo‍

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a plenary session at the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo‍

Israel only has diplomatic relations with two Arab states, neighboring Egypt and Jordan.

Netanyahu also met one-on-one in Warsaw with Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah of Oman, where he traveled late last year. Oman has sought friendly relations with all regional players including Iran.

'New era of cooperation'

Pompeo on Thursday called for a "new era of cooperation" in resolving Middle East challenges and said no country could afford to remain on the sidelines.

"The United States seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues," Pompeo told foreign ministers and other officials from more than 60 countries in Warsaw.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (R) attend a plenary session at the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (R) attend a plenary session at the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /VCG Photo

Pompeo refrained from directly criticizing Iran, instead including it in a list of regional challenges ranging from Syria and Yemen to Palestinian-Israeli peace.

"None of the region's challenges will solve themselves. We must work together for security," he said. "No country can afford to remain on the sidelines."

Pence calls on EU to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal

Pence accused Washington's European allies on Thursday of trying to break U.S. sanctions against Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gather for a family photo during the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /Reuters Photo

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gather for a family photo during the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. /Reuters Photo

"Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions," Pence said during the conference in Warsaw.

Pence said a scheme set up by the EU to facilitate trade with Iran was "an effort to break American sanctions against Iran's murderous revolutionary regime."

"It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States," he said.

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters