EU divided before anti-Iran summit in Warsaw

In mid-February, Warsaw hosts a summit on the Middle East, a project initiated by Washington and described as the most important in the capital since the 2016 NATO summit. Tehran denounces a cabal and the EU is struggling to position itself.

The High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, will not participate in the conference on the Middle East, organised by Poland and the United States on 13 and 14 February. An official absence due to an overloaded agenda.

Several European foreign ministers have not yet confirmed their presence, according to a senior official. According to sources in Berlin, Germany is one of the countries that is still hesitant to send a representative to Warsaw.

The summit is not on the agenda for next week’s ministerial meeting, but Poland has asked to be able to present the event on that occasion. It is therefore not impossible for ministers to think about their participation at that time, says one European diplomat.

“The EU has a clear position on Middle East issues”, replied the Commission to a question from Euractiv on a possible common European position during the summit.
steel and European aluminium.

Tense relationships

The “Ministerial Meeting to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East” was announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 11. He indicated that the discussions will focus on the Iranian question.

Relations between Tehran and Washington are at an all-time low following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement concluded in 2015 and to reinstate sanctions on the country and its companies, as well as on other companies that would cooperate with Iran.

“The ministerial meeting will address a range of key issues, including terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime security and trade, and the threat posed by satellite groups in the region,” says a press release from both host countries.

Poles believe that Iran could “decide to retaliate”. Indeed, a few days later, the Iranian Ministry of Culture announced the cancellation of a Polish film festival scheduled for the end of January.

In an English tweet, the Minister of Foreign Affairs goes a step further: “Reminder to the hosts/participants of the anti-Iran conference: those who participated in the last US anti-Iran event are now dead, disgraced or marginalized”.

He added, “Iran is stronger than ever. The Polish government will not get rid of this shame: Iran saved many Poles during the Second World War, and now Warsaw is organizing this desperate anti-Iranian circus. »

During the war, more than 100,000 Polish refugees found refuge in Iran.

Reminder to host/participants of anti-Iran conference: those who attended last US anti-Iran show are either dead, disgraced, or marginalized. And Iran is stronger than ever.
Polish Govt can’t wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts desperate anti-Iran circus. pic.twitter.com/iOOvhgtUsL

– Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2019

On 14 January, Krzysztof Szczerski, adviser to the Polish President, said that Tehran’s reaction was predictable and “does not go beyond the ever-repeated rhetoric of the Iranian message”.

“The purpose of this conference is to find ways to peace. It is organised in Poland precisely because the country is neutral in conflicts involving Middle Eastern countries,” he added for the PAP news agency.

At a meeting this week, Polish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Maciej Lang told Iranian Ambassador to Poland Edrisi Kermanshahi that “nearly 80 countries representing different opinions and having diverse relations with Iran[had] been invited to participate” in the event.

The ministry said the meeting took place “at the request of the Iranian side”. The Iranian embassy reportedly warned Poland of a “severe reaction” to the organization of the summit.

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