EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini plans to skip the upcoming 13-14 February US-initiated Middle East Summit in Poland, a senior EU official has indicated, saying Mogherini has a prior engagement and "does not like to de-commit from promises made."
Other European foreign ministers have also hinted that they may skip the summit, with one EU official telling the Wall Street Journal that there was "a lot of uncertainty about participation of many other EU member states at ministerial level."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the summit during his Middle East tour last week, and boasted that the meeting would "bring together dozens of countries from all around the world."
Participants will "focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence," he said, speaking to Fox News.
Iran, which summoned the Polish charge d'affaires in Tehran to protest the summit, won't be attending. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the event a "desperate anti-Iran circus" and said that the Polish government's actions were shameful, given that the country saved tens of thousands of Poles during the Second World War.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and other regional powers, have been invited to attend.
US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the landmark 2015 treaty also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018. The deal's other signatories, including Iran, Russia, China, the EU, Germany, France and the UK scrambled to save the deal after the US withdrawal amid the reinstatement of tough US sanctions. In recent months, Washington has also engaged with its Middle Eastern partners to work on creating the so-called Middle East Strategic Alliance, also known as 'Arab NATO'. Iran has decried the project as an anti-Iranian alliance.