Warsaw: Middle East Conference facilitated direct talks between Israel and Arab counterparts

A Middle East conference was hosted in Warsaw on Wednesday and was attended by delegations of more than 60 different states. The conference, was hosted under a U.S. initiative in Poland. The conference encapsulated an attempt to improve the rather frozen relations between the two counterparts and simultaneously host deliberations over the internal problems of the Middle East in neutral territory.

The conference sought to exert additional pressures to Iran to cease meddling with internal affairs of other Middle Eastern states and curb the unrestricted development of its nuclear and ballistic missile defence programmes. Iran topped the agenda of discussions while the security situation in Syria and Yemen followed suit. The conference concluded with a brief analysis of the interrupted Israeli-Palestinian peace dialogue.

On the fringes of the conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Yusuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah. Interestingly, Oman until today has not formally recognised the state of Israel. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates also do not recognise Israel, but they still dispatched delegates in Warsaw to discuss with their Israeli counterparts. These countries share Israel’s fears about Iran’s unrestricted development of its nuclear programme and worry about Tehran’s increasing interference with political and security developments in the region.

Notwithstanding the presence of envoys from most Middle Eastern countries, the European counterparts did not dispatch diplomatic missions at the Warsaw conference. The head of E.U. Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini also did not attend the conference, even though she was briefed by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Friday, over the outcome of these deliberations.

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