US Secretary of State in Warsaw: Bond between US, Israel is “Stronger than Ever”

February 15, 2019
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PM Netanyahu meets with US Vice President Pence at the Warsaw Mideast conference.

Friday, 15 February 2019 | In a tweet sent from the Warsaw Summit to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, which was attended by Israeli Prime Minister and diplomats representing more than 60 nations, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared a message of support for Israel, saying, “The bond between our nations is stronger than ever.”

Before the summit started, Pompeo met with Netanyahu and said, “You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible. They’re a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq, the three H’s: the Houthis, Hamas and Hezbollah. These are real threats; there are others as well. But you can’t get peace in the Middle East without pushing back against Iran.”

However, at the summit, the secretary of state looked more broadly at the challenges in the Middle East.

“As a testament to our seriousness of purpose, I want to reflect on the historic dinner that took place last night. Arab and Israeli leaders were in the same room, sharing a meal and exchanging views,” Pompeo said in his opening remarks. “They all came together for a single reason: to discuss the real threats to our respective peoples emanating from the Middle East. The United States seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues. It’s why we’ve organized this ministerial.”

Toward the end of his remarks, Pompeo listed the threats and issues that need to be addressed in the Middle East, “Syria, Yemen, proliferation, the peace process, terrorism, Iran, cybersecurity, the humanitarian crises.” The secretary then observed, “None of the region’s challenges will solve themselves. We must work together for security. No country can afford to remain on the sidelines, so allow today to be the start of our conversation.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu offered a similar assessment about the significance of the gathering.

“What is important about this meeting—and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran.” Netanyahu said after meeting with Yusuf bin Alawi, the foreign minister of Oman.

While Pompeo did not make Iran the central focus of his remarks at the summit, Vice President Mike Pence did.

Pence described the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as “a devil’s bargain with our common enemy—the enemy of our allies and partners in the Middle East.”

The vice president said that the administration has made good on its word [to] defend “the good people of Iran and stand up to their oppressors.”

He criticized the JCPOA because it “merely delayed” the time it would take Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Pence also observed that “the universal view of those who spoke last night at this very conference was that Iran has actually become more aggressive since the JCPOA was signed, not less.”

The vice president credited the United Arab Emirates for reducing its commercial dealings with Iran and Bahrain for exposing Iranian proxies active in that nation.

In contrast, he criticized US allies—the United Kingdom, France and Germany—for developing a means for evading American sanctions.

“It’s an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” Pence said.

Posted on February 15, 2019

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on February 14, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/