Prime minister in Poland for Warsaw conference, meetings with Pompeo, Pence; Conference first public forum including Israel with several Arab states; Netanyahu confirms strikes in Syria.
Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Poland Tuesday night to participate in the US-sponsored Warsaw Summit.
The prime minister will meet with several world leaders and representatives over two-days, his talks to center on Iran, Syria and Israel’s defense. Ahead of leaving for Warsaw, Netanyahu spoke with the press on Israel’s recent attacks in Syria, the goals of the conference and much more, stating, “This is a very important international conference in Warsaw. The focus is Iran. This brings together Israel, the US, and countries in and beyond the region. There will be interesting meetings there.”
The conference will be the first public forum including Israel and numerous Arab state representatives and leaders together and falls following reports that the US peace deal is complete and will be released after Israel’s national elections in April. Leaders and representatives from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are attending the conference. Netanyahu has met with several leaders from these states in public and secretly over the past two years as Israel, with the support of the United States, develops diplomatic ties and regional allies.
Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s standing in the region and growing ties with Arab states, stating “Our relations with countries in the region, except Syria, are all very good and descriptions to the effect that we have rifts with them are the opposite of reality. The reality is that these relations are becoming tighter. I do not say that they are all open- they are not all open…”
On threats this week from Iran on the United States and Israel during its celebration of 40 years since the Islamic Revolution, the prime minister stated ahead of his flight, “We operate very many means and very many elements against the Iranian aggression, against their attempt to arm themselves with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Time and again we have exposed their terrorist actions in Europe. Time and again we have blocked their attempts to entrench in Syria, day after day.”
The Syrian army on Monday reported strikes by Israeli drones in Quneitra region, as well Israel Defense Forces tank artillery fire on an observation post and abandoned hospital. In one of his rare confirmations of Israeli strikes in Syria on Iranian targets, Netanyahu stated Tuesday, “We are operating every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to establish its presence in the area.”
Iran, Russia, Germany and France will not be attending the conference, as well as EU Policy Chief Federica Mogherin, and the Palestinian Authority, given its ongoing boycott of the Trump Administration’s peace efforts. The conference will be attended, however, by the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Balkan states.
Netanyahu has confirmed meetings with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.