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US sees ‘shared interests’ between Israel, Arab states

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) is being welcomed by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (L) and officials at the Bahrain International Airport in Manama, Bahrain on January 11, 2019 [US Department of State / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) is being welcomed by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (L) and officials at the Bahrain International Airport in Manama, Bahrain on January 11, 2019 [US Department of State / Handout - Anadolu Agency]

There are “shared interests” between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Jordan and Israel, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

“The US is building a coalition which is intent on delivering something that the world has been looking for for quite some time, taking down the threat and the risk that’s associated with terrorism in the Middle East,” Pompeo told Poland’s Polsat, adding that the risk to which he referred was Iran.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Middle East-focused conference hosted in Polish capital Warsaw this week, Pompeo warned that Iran was “conducting terror campaigns in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Iraq, and assassinating people in Europe,” in the latter instance presumably referring to an alleged Iranian assassination attempt which took place in Denmark in November.

“All of them [Middle Eastern countries] understand that their nations are at risk from Iran, and the Europeans heard tonight that their nations are at risk as well,” he reiterated.

Read: Pence, at summit, lashes out at Europeans over Iran

Throughout the Warsaw conference, Pompeo pointed out that the US aims to bring together countries which share common interests in the region to establish joint action in face of the region’s challenges.

Pompeo called on the Arab states to avoid what he described as “traditional thinking of isolating Israel,” adding: “We must work together to achieve security without one country [Israel] being sidelined.”

While the US is attempting to increase pressure on Iran through the conference, EU leaders – who feel they were not consulted on the US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal or the planned withdrawal of US troops from Syria – fear mounting tensions with Tehran.

The Warsaw summit was attended by more than 60 countries, but major European powers such as Germany and France refused to send their top diplomats.

The event came as Russian president Vladimir Putin – increasingly seen as a key player in the Middle East – hosted his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to discuss a final settlement to the Syrian civil war, including the presence of large numbers of Daesh fighters in the war-torn country’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Read: Netanyahu: Israel has relations with whole Middle East except Syria

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