Sunday, February 10, 2019

Netanyahu to meet Pence, Pompeo at Polish Middle East summit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a Middle East conference in Warsaw later this week.
“The first issue on the agenda is Iran — how to continue preventing it from entrenching in Syria, how to thwart its aggression in the region and, above all, how to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said Sunday in his weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu is set to take off for the Polish capital on Tuesday to address the so-called “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” held jointly by Poland and the US on February 13-14.
The prime minister is set to meet with other world leaders as well, he said Sunday, but would not provide more details about his plans.
Efforts to thwart Iran’s aggression in the region, including its efforts to entrench itself militarily, its recent attempts to upgrade its ballistic missile arsenal and its nuclear ambitions are expected to take center stage at the summit, even though organizers said the conference’s objective is not to bash Iran.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be another topic discussed in Warsaw, although senior Palestinian officials said last week they would boycott the event.
“Regarding statements that we have been invited, we can say that only today there was some contact from the Polish side,” Palestine Liberation Organization secretary-general Saeb Erekat wrote on Twitter Friday.
“Our position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of #Palestine,” he added.
Erekat’s statement came after a White House official told reporters the Palestinians had been invited to the conference.
“The Warsaw Conference is an attempt at bypassing the Arab Peace Initiative and destroying the Palestinian National project,” said Erekat, referring to a Saudi proposal to extend Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for a pullout to the pre-1967 armistice lines and a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees. READ MORE