Pompeo urges new era of cooperation in resolving Mideast challenges

Israeli PM hails as historic Warsaw meeting, saying Arab states stand united against Iran.

WARSAW - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called for a "new era of cooperation" in resolving Middle East challenges and said no country could afford to remain on the sidelines.

"The United States seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues," Pompeo told foreign ministers and other officials from more than 60 countries in Warsaw.

Pompeo refrained from directly criticizing Iran, instead including it in a list of regional challenges ranging from Syria and Yemen to Palestinian-Israeli peace.

"None of the region's challenges will solve themselves. We must work together for security," he said. "No country can afford to remain on the sidelines."

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed as historic the Warsaw meeting, saying Arab states stood united against Iran and voicing hope that cooperation extends to other areas.

The opening dinner Wednesday night of the two-day, US-organised conference marked "a historical turning point," Netanyahu told reporters.

"In a room of some 60 foreign ministers representative of dozens of governments, an Israeli prime minister and the foreign ministers of the leading Arab countries stood together and spoke with unusual force, clarity and unity against the common threat of the Iranian regime," he said.

"I think this marks a change and important understanding of what threatens our future, what we need to do to secure it, and the possibility that cooperation will extend beyond security in every realm of life."

At the opening dinner at Warsaw's Royal Castle, officials said that Netanyahu spoke around the same table as senior officials of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - none of which have relations with Israel but all of which share Netanyahu's hawkish stance on Iran.

Israel only has diplomatic relations with two Arab states, neighbouring Egypt and Jordan.

Netanyahu also met one-on-one in Warsaw with Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah of Oman, where he travelled late last year. Oman has sought friendly relations with all regional players including Iran.

Most European powers are sending low-level representation, wary of the hawkish line on Iran by President Donald Trump who withdrew from an international accord on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme.