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The Warsaw Summit in February this year was a starting point for a process that tries to find a way countering the ongoing Middle East conflicts. Today, with the United States and Poland announcing details of the Warsaw Process Working Groups, the political will expressed during the summit enters a practical solution finding momentum. “These working groups will drive momentum on areas of consensus to advance our shared security interests in the Middle East and enhance regional cooperation,” Morgan Ortagus, U.S. State Department Spokesperson, announced.

Ortagus continued: “Representatives of more than 60 nations from around the world, the EU, and NATO attended the Warsaw Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East in February 2019. At the conclusion of the meeting, the United States and Poland announced the creation of seven working groups: (1) counterterrorism and illicit finance, (2) missile non‑proliferation, (3) maritime and aviation security, (4) cybersecurity, (5) energy security, (6) humanitarian issues and refugees, and (7) human rights. These working groups will meet at the expert level.”

“In the spirit of collaboration and partnership fostered at the Warsaw Ministerial, countries from around the world are collaborating with the United States and Poland on this initiative. The Republic of Korea will host the Working Group on Cybersecurity on October 7-8. The United States will host the Working Group on Human Rights on October 10-11. The Kingdom of Bahrain will host the Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security on October 21-22. The Republic of Poland will host the Working Group on Energy Security on October 24-25. Romania will host the Working Group on Missile Proliferation on November 14-15. Details of the two additional working groups will be announced soon.”

It is notable, who obviously not takes a leading part in this process to find solutions for the Middle East: Europe. The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, did not attend the Warsaw Summit. Apart from Poland none of the other major European countries is hosting a working group so far.

Despite this lack of interest in Europe the Warsaw Summit – and the now starting working groups – have been a great success. Nearly a dozen Arab states attended, the Kingdom of Bahrain will even host the Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security, even though Israel also attended with high representatives. Only Palestine called for a boycott of the summit due to Israeli attendance, but these times seem to be over now, making the summit and the now ongoing process also a victory for Israel’s try to gain regional legitimacy.

Dorothee Frank