Warsaw is hosting a conference on the Middle East at the level of foreign ministers on February 13-14. It has been sponsored by the United States, which invited a string of countries from Europe, Asia and Africa to join it. Russia received an invitation among others. However, Moscow did not see the use of the meeting from the get-go. Moreover, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did not shy away from acrid remarks regarding that forum during his annual news conference on January 16.
“I was just going to ask who is organizing it, after all, because the Polish Foreign Ministry referred to it as a joint American-Polish initiative, whereas US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said while on a tour throughout the Middle East, that the US is holding a summit in Poland,” the minister said.
One way or another, initially it was stated that the upcoming conference would cover the main sore points of the region, and first of all the Syrian and Yemeni crises. That sheer fact could not but trigger a number of questions as the entire normative framework for their settlement was formed a long while ago, the UN Security Council greenlighted resolutions regulating conflict solving processes. Speaking about the Yemeni crisis, no later than in the middle of last December the talks were held in Sweden between the parties to the conflict, which ended with breakthrough agreements. In other words, it is unclear what principally new the conference in Poland can provide within the declared subject – ‘Issues of Mideast region’.
Nevertheless, numerous statements devoted to the upcoming meeting soon revealed its true goal: counter-action to Tehran’s rise and formation of a sort of new anti-Iran front. The circumstance that the Islamic Republic has not been invited to Warsaw is also indicative of that. Interestingly, the Americans seem to be determined to form that front without taking much interest whether this or that country is willing or reluctant to join it. Sergey Lavrov unveiled the fact during the same news conference.
“There is another embarrassing fact that the invitation (to the conference addressed to Russia – Inforos) stated that ministers of participating countries are allowed to have no worries about the outcome document as co-chairs of the US and Poland would write it themselves and announce it as a joint summary without providing other invitees with the opportunity to contribute to the editing of the final paper. Frankly speaking, it is not very accepted in international affairs. It appears that around fifty ministers have been invited to ‘bless’ with their physical presence the document that the US would write itself, with all due respect to Poland,” Russia’s top diplomat said.
Admittedly, there is still a certain intrigue about that conference. It concerns not Iran, but the so-called “deal of the century” – the plan to settle the Palestine-Israel conflict laid out by the current American administration. Specifically, Israeli media said that the US president’s adviser Jared Kushner is going to unveil certain details of the plan during the Warsaw conference. Up until now, its truth content has remained unknown, whereas all available information comes from sources quoted by newspapers and TV channels.
On the other hand, if the Americans make some official statements that will hardly be any bigger than satisfying idle curiosity. After all, since the US announced recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocation of its embassy from Tel-Aviv, the Palestinian side has refused to work with Washington as a sole go-between in the negotiations process. And consequently – dismissed the American plan. Hence, in some way, that is a silly project. Even if the US still lays it bare in one form or another, Palestine will not go through it in Warsaw as Ramallah authorities, same as Russia, boycott the upcoming conference.
However, it does not thwart the Americans’ insistence and stubborn promotion of their view of the Iranian, Palestine-Israeli and other issues both in the Middle East and beyond. Meanwhile, the US is apparently not the country wasting energy, time and money. Perhaps it has simply not shown all trump cards under the table to its ‘partners’ and surely not played trump card into the public realm. Whereas the very conference, which is unlikely to bring any fresh developments to settle the existing Mideast conflicts, may mark a certain new chapter of the evolving situation in the region for this reason. And something prompts that once it sets in, problems will definitely not disappear.