Mistranslated or Not, Israeli PM's 'War With Iran' Tweet Sparks Grave Concerns

Leroy Wright
February 14, 2019

Netanyahu said many Arab countries were following Oman's lead in moving toward more open interaction with Israel, "including at this conference".

Netanyahu made his comments after a meeting with the Omani minister for foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, on the sidelines of a Middle East conference in Warsaw co-hosted by Poland and the United States.

Speaking to Netanyahu, bin Alawi said: "People in the Middle East have suffered a lot because they have stuck to the past".

Leading European countries Germany and France opted not to send their foreign ministers over concerns the meeting could highlight big-power tensions over Washington's decision past year to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions against Tehran.

Israel's shadow diplomacy with other influential regional actors has also markedly improved, of late.

"Poland and the USA welcome this outward symbol of this gathering, a symbol of cooperation and a hopeful sign of a brighter future that awaits nations across the Middle East", Pence said. "This is a new era for the future, and for prosperity for all the nations".

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Participants, including U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pose for a group photo ahead of the two-day conference's opening.

Before broadening the agenda, the U.S. initially told allies the meeting would focus on Iran, a bête noire for national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom have advocated for regime change in Tehran in the past.

The summit appears to be the first time an Israeli leader and senior Arab officials will attend an global conference centered on the Middle East since the Madrid peace conference in 1991, which set the stage for the landmark Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. "But Netanyahu and Gulf countries are eager to focus on Iran".

Kushner, who is President Donald Trump's son-in-law, will brief delegates behind closed doors on Thursday on USA plans for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Wednesday's conference is co-hosted by the USA and Poland and its official focus is Mideast peace and security.

Germany and France decided not to send their foreign ministers, while the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is also not attending because of scheduling issues, an EU official told Reuters.

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