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US, Israeli leaders head to Poland with eyes on pressing Iran

AFP  |  Warsaw 

US Vice and Israeli were expected Wednesday in for a 60-nation conference that they hope will raise the international stakes for

But the two-day conference will also lay bare divisions, with major European allies of the sending low-profile representatives amid unease over Donald Trump's strident calls to strangle Iran's economy.

Pence and US will join the in welcoming officials at a dinner at the in Warsaw's old town, the home for centuries to monarchs.

While much of the schedule remained vague, the main session will take place Thursday when Pence, Pompeo and all deliver remarks and working groups are assigned to discuss areas of concern.

"This is a global coalition that is built to deliver on the important mission of reducing the risk that has emanated from the for far too long," Pompeo said Tuesday evening as he opened his visit to

is likely to deliver a fiery address on Iran, whose leaders reject Israel's existence.

He has vowed to keep striking Iranian forces until they leave war-torn and has not ruled out a military strike to destroy the nuclear programme of

But outside of Israel, Iran's Arab rivals and the Trump administration, nearly all countries still back an accord negotiated under previous US in which agreed to end sensitive nuclear work in return for sanctions relief.

Even Poland's right-wing government -- eager to please the amid constant worries over -- has made clear it supports the 2015 nuclear deal, to which UN inspectors say is abiding.

"The and the see the same threats in the Middle East; we sometimes differ on how to solve these crises," Polish told a joint conference with Pompeo.

Poland, whose in was summoned in protest, has taken pains after Pompeo's initial announcement to emphasise that Iran is not the sole focus of the conference.

"The EU does not have enough political weight to really try to influence the situation in the Middle East," Czaputowicz said, adding that all "democratic nations" needed to come together to resolve longstanding tensions in that region.

Ned Price, a former Obama adviser and intelligence official, said that the conference will only showcase the Trump administration's isolation as European allies did not want to be part of an "anti-Iran pep rally".

"More than merely embarrassing, the administration's stated 'maximum pressure' approach is incoherent, as lacks allies willing to support such a strategy," said Price, now at the National Security Action pressure group.

British is the only major European to come to Warsaw, but he is attending primarily to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where several million people are on the brink of

Hunt will participate in a four-way meeting Wednesday evening with Pompeo and and the United Arab Emirates, which have waged a devastating US-backed military campaign against Yemen's Iranian-linked Huthi rebels.

is shunning the conference and will hold parallel talks Thursday in the resort of Sochi with Iranian President and Turkish President on Syria, where Trump is planning to withdraw US troops.

In Warsaw, said it will only send embassy staff to the conference among its NATO allies.

One group that will be out in force will be the People's Mujahedin, Iran's formerly armed opposition.

The People's Mujahedin, which was delisted as a terrorist movement by the United States in 2012, has cultivated close ties with US conservatives including former Rudy Giuliani, who will speak at a rally by the group in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 16:10 IST