United States Vice President Mike Pence, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United State Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, from left, stand on a podium at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. The Polish capital is host for a two-day international conference, co-organized by Poland and the United States. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The Latest: Polish leader urges open debate at Mideast talks

February 14, 2019 - 8:51 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the Middle East meeting taking place in Warsaw (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Poland's prime minister says the Middle East security conference that Poland is co-hosting with the United States will be a success if participants openly discuss their views on how to bring peace to the region and if it produces a working group that will be further addressing the issues.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday addressed participants at the conference in Warsaw that the sponsors say is aimed at promoting peace and security in the Mideast but appears to be mainly focused on isolating Iran.

Morawiecki said he will consider the meeting a success if it brings together governments "that do not agree on all things" and if it becomes a "place of open debate and exchange of arguments for peace for the region."

He said he hoped it will start a working group that will be "addressing all issues mentioned here today."

The issues included fighting extremism, including cyberattacks, forging an approach toward Iran and stopping conflicts in the region that are driving millions of people from their homes.


1:15 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is calling for America's European allies to join it in withdrawing from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal and stop efforts he said are designed to evade U.S. sanctions.

Speaking at a Middle East conference in Poland, Pence accused Iran of being the world's greatest state sponsor of terrorism. He lamented that Britain, France and Germany created a special financial mechanism that Washington believes is aimed at "breaking" tough U.S. sanctions on Iran. Those sanctions were eased by the Obama administration under the terms of the nuclear deal but were re-imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year.

U.S. and European divisions over Iran led France and Germany to opt against sending their top diplomats to the Warsaw conference.


8:55 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the world "can't achieve peace and security in the Middle East without confronting Iran."

Pompeo spoke Thursday before the opening session of a Middle East security conference in Warsaw. Appearing next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo says "pushing back" against Iran is central to dealing with all the region's other problems. Several high-profile Arab dignitaries are also attending.

The U.S. and Poland are sponsoring the conference, which they say is aimed at promoting peace and security in the Mideast but appears to be mainly focused on isolating Iran.

Iran has denounced the gathering as an American anti-Iran "circus." Russia has said it will not attend, and the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is also skipping the event.

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