A White House source said on Monday that the upcoming Warsaw conference is not primarily focused on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, in a statement to Al Arabiya.
“The Warsaw conference is designed to reinvigorate efforts to address a wide range of challenges across the region by revitalizing alliances and partnerships,” the source said. “It is not primarily focused on US efforts regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erakat tweeted last week saying that the conference is “an attempt at destroying the Palestinian National project.”
The Warsaw Conference is an attempt at bypassing the Arab Peace Initiative and destroying the Palestinian National project.— Dr. Saeb Erakat الدكتور صائب عريقات (@ErakatSaeb) February 8, 2019
Despite the Middle East peace process not being the focus, the two-day conference in Warsaw set to begin on Wednesday does have a session dedicated to it.
Since the announcement by the State Department last month, the conference has drawn controversy amid unease over the hard US line on Iran.
In a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart on Monday, Lebanese Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, said that Lebanon will be boycotting the Warsaw conference. He added that the boycott was due to the presence of Israel, the direction the conference was going in, and the policy of self-dissociation that it has been adopting.
During a press conference late in January, a senior US official said that Iran would not be a specific agenda item. “It’s important to underscore that this is not an anti-Iran meeting or coalition-building exercise,” the official said on condition of anonymity.