By The Free Iranian Staff
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, along with representatives of the US and Polish governments, as well as representatives of 60 other countries, including Israel, held the “Working Group” meeting in Manama, the capital of Bahrain on Monday. The meeting’s participants are a part of the Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group, created in February during a Middle East conference in Warsaw.
Britain and Australia who along with the U.S. are the founding Western partners have agreed to send warships to escort commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, joined the coalition in August. Saudi Arabia and the UAE joined in September. A majority of European Union states however have refused to participate, fearful of Tehran’s retaliatory action where their trade deals are concerned; they have insisted however that they are more concerned that such programs would undermine their efforts to save the failed nuclear accord with the Islamic regime.
In his opening statement, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad bin Mohammed Al Khalifa cited “serious threats” in the region and around the world and emphasized the need for a “collective stance”. He said: “We need to adopt a clear posture and take the necessary approach to protect our countries from outlaw states.”
“The meeting is an occasion to exchange views on how to deal with the Iranian menace and to guarantee freedom of navigation,” Bahrain’s foreign ministry said on Twitter.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa’s speech before the #Warsaw Process Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security on October 21, 2019 pic.twitter.com/O0jtN2aLTo
— وزارة الخارجية 🇧🇭 (@bahdiplomatic) October 21, 2019
Despite the lack of diplomatic relations with Bahrain, in the first steps of a thaw, the Israeli Foreign Ministry official Dana Benvenisti, head of its counter-terrorism department, attended today’s meeting. Israel attended a summit in Manama four months ago on the economic part of the US peace program in the Middle East.
In a letter addressed to those in attendance, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote: “This meeting comes at a critical moment in history. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, whether by air or sea, poses a serious threat to international peace and security.”
In a clear allusion to the Khomeinist regime, Pompeo stated: “Together, we must all be committed to taking the necessary actions to stop countries that continue to pursue WMD at great risk to all of us.”
US Vice President Mike Pence who was in attendance and spoke at the summit said: “Tonight I believe we are beginning a new era, with Prime Minister Netanyahu from the State of Israel, with leaders from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, all breaking bread together, and later in this conference sharing honest perspectives on the challenges facing the area,”
Reacting to the Israeli delegations’ participation in the summit Abbass Mousavi, Tehran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “It is seriously regrettable that these countries claim Islamism and Arabism; yet after having witnessed 70 years of crimes, relations with the Israel.”
Mousavi also called the goals stated at the meeting to counter Khomeinist influence unrealistic and emphasized: “Impact cannot be countered; influence is a spiritual issue and the influence of the Islamic Republic is historical. They will not be able to achieve their goals, with these desperate attempts and cooperation with a criminal regime such as Israel.”
The Islamic regime which considers itself the custodian and monitor of the Persian Gulf, presented a regional plan of its own, in order to guarantee “energy security” and “freedom of navigation”.