The Warsaw Process: New solutions to old problems

World leaders standing on stage (© Michael Sohn/AP Images)
World leaders gathered in Warsaw, Poland, in February for a ministerial meeting on peace and security in the Middle East. (© Michael Sohn/AP Images)

Even as Iran employs coercion to impose its vision of the Middle East on other peoples, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the next phase of a multilateral initiative to advance peace and security in the region.

More than 80 countries have been invited to participate in the Warsaw Process, an effort jointly led by the U.S. and Poland to address both ongoing threats to peace and security and longer-term strategic issues in the Middle East.

“From Aleppo to Aden, Tripoli to Tehran, greater cooperation in the Middle East is needed more than ever,” the secretary told the U.N. Security Council on August 20. “We need fresh thinking to solve old problems.”

While Iran’s regional vision includes menacing international waters and breaching nuclear agreements, the Warsaw Process offers positive action to address the many challenges peoples in the Middle East face. Iran’s threat is one, Pompeo said, but “No one country will be the subject of these discussions.”

Warsaw Process working groups will begin meeting in October to tackle shared strategic priorities. Countries will host groups as follows:

  • The Republic of Korea will host the Working Group on Cybersecurity October 7–8.
  • The United States will host the Working Group on Human Rights October 10–11.
  • The Kingdom of Bahrain will host the Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security October 21–22.
  • The Republic of Poland will host the Working Group on Energy Security October 24–25.
  • Romania will host the Working Group on Missile Proliferation November 14–15.

“All nations will be heard,” Pompeo said, “and all voices will be respected.”

Dates and host countries for the last two working groups — on humanitarian issues and refugees — will be announced soon.

A version of this article was previously published on August 20, 2019.