February 23, 2019

US and Poland to host Ministerial for Peace and Security in the Middle East

By Guido Lanfranchi.

The “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” to be jointly hosted by the United States and Poland, will take place in Warsaw, Poland, on February 13th and 14th. The agenda will include discussions on regional crises and challenges, with a view on how to concretely address such issues.

One hundred years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Poland, the two countries are set to jointly host a major international conference, the “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East.” The conference will take place in Warsaw, Poland, starting with a dinner in the Royal Palace on February 13th and continuing with dynamic, interactive discussions among ministers at the PGE National Stadium the following day.

The agenda will include issues such as regional crises and international responses, missile development and proliferation, cyber and emerging threats, terrorism and illicit finance, as well as the humanitarian situation and the crises in Syria and Yemen – US and Polish Senior Officials announced.

In response to the declarations of the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, who dubbed the conference as an “anti-Iran show,” a Senior US Administration Official stressed that the Ministerial’s agenda will be broad and will not focus on any single country. Iran will be surely discussed, as it is deeply involved in the region as a driver of instability, but will not be on of the conference’s focal points – the Senior Official underlined.

The aim of the Ministerial will not be limited to the discussions that will take place on February 14th, since the organizers decided that the debate should be followed by concrete action. To this end, follow-on working groups, to be hosted by countries around the world, will meet at the level of experts to drive momentum on concrete initiatives in the field here Ministers will find agreement.

While declining to provide specific details on the invitations sent and the relative responses, the US and Polish Senior Officials clarified that countries from all over the world had been invited, and they welcomed the “very positive feedback” received from many governments. The Polish Senior Official regretted the announced absence of Russia, expressing hope that such decision could be reversed. While the European Union’s High Representative Ms. Mogherini will be absent due to previous commitments, the EU will be still represented at the conference.

The Polish Senior Official also stressed that the Ministerial will be open to countries and governments holding different views on issues affecting the Middle East. For instance, the organizers themselves have different positions on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, which is rejected by the US but supported by Poland, in line with the position of the EU. Yet, such differences of views should not be an obstacle, but rather a value added – the Polish Senior Official said.

Governments and people in the Middle East and beyond await the results of this conference, hoping that such initiative will have the desired positive impact on the region.

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