US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greets Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifah before a working lunch at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, on February 14, 2019.
(photo credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)
Iran’s “toxic” funding of violence in the region has prevented the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, including between the Israeli and Palestinian people, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said at a closed-door session of the Warsaw summit.
He spoke on Wednesday, but his words were leaked on Thursday after the closure of the two-day US led summit of 60 countries called the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. The summit was hosted by the Polish government and included several Arab states.
In a private briefing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held with journalists, he said that Arab leaders at closed doors meetings were more concerned with Iran than with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A video of a closed Wednesday night session, placed at the bottom of a WhatsApp message about the US Vice President Mike Pence’s meeting with Netanyahu
, showed that his words were correct.
The Prime Minister’s Office placed the link of what should have been a video about the Netanyahu meeting with Pence. When one pressed on the link, however, it lead to a closed YouTube video posted by Netanyahu that featured three Arab panelists, including the Bahraini foreign minister.
”So this is the challenge we have to face in order to deal with other challenges. When we come to Palestine-Israel, there was a Camp David agreement. There was Madrid. There were many other ways of solving it. And had we stayed on the same path, and if it wasn’t for the toxic money, guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic republic, I think we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel,” Khalifa said.
“But this is a serious challenge that is preventing us from moving forward anywhere, be it Syria, be it Yemen, be it Iraq, be it anywhere. My country is under threat,” the Bahraini foreign minister said.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that Israel has a right to defend itself from Iran, including in Syria.
A participant at the dinner said that the Israelis have carried out more than 200 aerial operations to stop the Iranians in Syria.
Then he turned to the panelists and asked: “Is that surprising to you? Do you understand it?”
Abdullah responded: “Every nation has the right to defend itself when it’s challenged by another nation – yes. Going to back to your question on specifically what we should do, I think we should start something, and Warsaw is a great place to start.”
During his briefing with the media, Netanyahu said that he believes that the Syrians knew full well when Israel attacked Iranian military bases in Tehran. But the bulk of his comments were about the historic nature of the summit and the advancement of the normalization of ties.
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