WARSAW—Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed extreme optimism about the prospects of Israel’s diplomacy, amid a three-day conference in Warsaw which convened some 60 countries for a focused discussion about combating Iran’s role in the Middle East.
“It is cold in Warsaw right now but Israel’s foreign relations are warming up, warming up for the better,” Netanyahu stated.
Earlier in the day, the Israeli premier met with the Sultanate of Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi.
Netanyahu said that the meeting was “excellent” and that they discussed “additional steps” that the two countries “can take together with the countries of the region in order to advance common interests. This will continue.”
In October 2018, Netanyahu traveled to Oman at the invitation of the country’s leader, Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said. His visit to Oman was the first Israeli official meeting at this level since 1996.
In Warsaw, Netanyahu stated that “the courageous decision of Sultan Qaboos to invite me to Oman is changing the world. It’s pointing the way for many others to do what you said, not to be stuck in the past, but to seize the future.”
He thanked Oman for “this positive policy that can lead to peace and prosperity for all. I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel, and I allow myself to say on behalf of many people in the Middle East.”
Bin Alawi stated that his country’s policy “is an important and new vision for the future. People of the Middle East have suffered a lot because they are stuck to the past. This is a new era for the future and for prosperity for every nation.”
Commenting on the Warsaw conference, Netanyahu explained that “what is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran.”
Netanyahu sat next Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abdul-Malek al-Mekhlafi at the start of the formal talks at Thursday session of the Warsaw meeting.
It was a historic moment for the two countries, which do not have formal diplomatic ties. US special envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted, “A lighthearted moment- @netanyahu microphone was not working so FM of Yemen loaned him his microphone. @Netenyahu joked about the new cooperation between Israel and Yemen. Step by step.”
He added that during the meeting, Netanyahu “described the medical care given by Israel to thousands of Syrians who suffered from the tragic civil war in Syria. A great example of what Israel does to help the region. Imagine what can be accomplished if regional peace is achieved.”
Both Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have stressed that a new era cooperation is opening up in the Middle East between Israel and neighboring Arab countries particularly when it comes to confronting Iran.
“The US seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues,” Pompeo said at the start of the meeting.
He noted that representatives from the European Union and NATO were included in the gathering.
“The US seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues,” he said.