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Russia rejects US Middle East summit

China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-24 09:21
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow, March 27, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

The Kremlin said the meeting taking place in Warsaw was aimed at Iran

A proposed international conference for the Middle East was rejected by Russia as an anti-Iran deal and another attempt by the United States to promote its unilateral geopolitical interests.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Jan 12 during his trip to the Middle East that Washington is set to convene a conference in Poland on Feb 13 and 14, with ministers from a dozen countries to attend.

However, Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council that the conference would not be able to foster Middle East security because of its "one-country aspect" and its failure to include other important regional issues, such as the Palestinian problem.

"Attempts to create some kind of military alliance in the region by holding conferences and focusing on having a simplified unilateral approach that is clearly linked just to Iran are counterproductive," he said

Nebenzia added that such a conference "just further pushes away the prospects of finding a genuine security architecture for the region".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on social media that the meeting "is a new US attempt to promote its unilateral geopolitical interests through initiatives that are presented as the opinion of the world community".

The ministry also said in a statement released on Tuesday that Russia would not attend the conference as it is an "anti-Iran platform" and "being arranged hastily and behind closed doors", without the UN's involvement.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on social media that the conference was a "desperate anti-Iran circus", and blamed Poland for holding it, after Pompeo's announcement.

On Jan 13, Iran summoned Wojciech Unolt, the Polish charge d'affaires in Teheran, to protest the summit, and said it was "a hostile measure" by the US, and Poland should not assist the US with such a meeting.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Cohen, US deputy representative to the UN, said on Tuesday that the Warsaw conference is not aimed at demonizing Iran or discussing the merits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to The Associated Press.

Cohen called the ministerial meeting a brainstorming session to "develop the outline of a stronger security architecture" in the Mideast, as well as on the humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen, missile development, extremism and cyber security.

"It's also important to state clearly what this ministerial is not: It is not a forum to re-litigate the merits of the JCPOA. While we've made our concerns with the JCPOA clear, we respect other states' decisions to support it," he said. "It is also not a venue to demonize or attack Iran."

The US announced last year a withdrawal from the JCPOA, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program signed by parties including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US and Germany in 2015.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that the government has still not decided whether to invite Iran to the summit, according to a Reuters report.

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