• Germany edition
 
World leaders head to Munich for security talks
Photo:DPA

World leaders head to Munich for security talks

Published: 01 Feb 2013 07:09 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2013 07:09 GMT+01:00

US Vice President Joe Biden, who heads to Europe freshly inaugurated for a second term, will be among officials, ministers, top military brass and experts from 90 delegations at the three-day annual get-together.

Other topics for the participants, who will include Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Israel's outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak, include cybersecurity, the euro crisis and energy issues, organisers said.

Deadly unrest in Egypt, developments in the Muslim and Arab world two years after the Arab Spring revolts, and NATO's plan to withdraw the bulk of its 100,000 combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 are also set to focus minds.

Iran's nuclear programme will be another talking point. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents world powers holding talks with Tehran, are due to attend the event.

Despite three meetings in 10 months, crunch talks by the so-called "P5+1" – the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany – with Iran have failed to produce a breakthrough, and a new round has been delayed.

Israel and much of the West suspect Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of its nuclear energy programme – a charge Tehran denies.

Similarly of concern for Israel and the international community is the 22-month conflict in Syria between forces of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels, which the UN says has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Conference attendees in the southern German city will hear the latest assessments on the situation from Lakhdar Brahimi, the international peace envoy for Syria, as well as a Syrian opposition leader.

Jostling for the headlines with Syria is Mali, which has seen dramatic advances in recent days by French-led forces battling radical Islamists who seized the vast desert north of the west African country 10 months ago.

The French foreign and defence ministers may further discuss France's military mission in its former colony, after a donor conference raised $455.5 million for military operations in Mali as well as humanitarian aid.

"You only have to look at the map to realise the threat the jihadists in Mali pose to Europe," the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily commented Tuesday.

"Nevertheless many in Europe still believe that al-Qaeda in Mali is just the Africans' problem, not ours," it added.

Germany, which has offered three transport planes to help in the Mali mission, has faced questions at home and abroad over why it has failed to match its economic might as Europe's effective paymaster with military commitments.

The Munich talks, sometimes dubbed the "Davos of Defence" coming hard on the heels of the annual gathering of the business and political elite in the Swiss Alps, will give the 60 German lawmakers and handful of ministers due to attend an opportunity to address the issue.

Biden, who attended the Munich conference in 2009, is first scheduled to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this time. Paris and London are also on his itinerary.

"I am of course very pleased that this core aspect of the Munich Security Conference, the transatlantic relationship... is still so strong," Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German diplomat in charge of the Munich conference, told reporters.

He also said he had addressed past criticism that the conference was made up of "old men" and doubled this year's participation by women to around 20 percent.

As well as Ashton, female participants are due to include the Kosovo president and Dutch and Rwandan foreign ministers, he said.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

13:40 February 1, 2013 by lolo40
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Germany to send Kurds weapons shipment
German soldiers training with machine guns. Photo: DPA

Germany to send Kurds weapons shipment

Chancellor Angela Merkel is to address the Bundestag on Monday to detail the weapons her government will send to Iraqi Kurds fighting terrorist group Isis. READ  

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA

Train drivers take their turn to strike

A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. READ  

Weak exports hit German GDP
Germany isn't sending as many goods abroad as at the beginning of the year. Photo: DPA

Weak exports hit German GDP

GDP fell by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 but state coffers are doing well, the Federal Office of Statistics Destatis announced on Monday. READ  

Anti-euro breakthrough
Anti-euro AfD nears 10 percent in state election
AfD politicians Hans-Olaf Henkel MEP and leader Bernd Lucke, celebrate the party's success in Saxony on Sunday. Photo: Daniel Naupold/DPA

Anti-euro AfD nears 10 percent in state election

UPDATED: Germany's anti-euro party, AfD, won its first seats in a state parliament on Sunday after elections in Saxony, according to preliminary results. READ  

Berlin to open memorial to Nazis' disabled victims
Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Berlin to open memorial to Nazis' disabled victims

Benjamin Traub, a sad-eyed German boy born in 1914, was considered a bright child by his parents and called gifted by his teachers. His life would end in a Nazi gas chamber. READ  

Anti-euro party to debut in state parliament
AfD leader Bernd Lucke celebrates his party's EU election results. Photo: DPA

Anti-euro party to debut in state parliament

Germany's fledgling anti-euro party looks set to win its first seats in a state parliament on Sunday, gaining a political foothold in opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel's grip on power. READ  

Stakes rise in Oracle-SAP copyright fight
Photo: DPA

Stakes rise in Oracle-SAP copyright fight

US appeals court on Friday ruled that Oracle be given a choice between $356.7 million or a new trial for its copyright lawsuit against German rival SAP. READ  

Court rules against child porn suspect Edathy
Former SPD MP Sebastian Edathy photographed at a press conference in February. Photo: DPA

Court rules against child porn suspect Edathy

The Constitutional Court on Friday rejected an attempt by former Social Democratic (SPD) MP Sebastian Edathy to have evidence against him thrown out in his trial for possession of child pornography. READ  

Student busted in case of misdelivered hash
Photo: DPA

Student busted in case of misdelivered hash

A Bavarian student expecting a cannabis delivery was collared by "Commissioner Fluke" after acting surprised in front of policemen when he saw his letter box was empty. READ  

Security fears block Germany-Israel match
German and Israeli fans cheer in the stands during a friendly in Leipzig in 2012. Photo: DPA

Security fears block Germany-Israel match

A friendly soccer match against Israel marking 50 years of diplomatic ties has been called off amid security concerns and the escalation of the Middle East conflict, the German Football Federation (DFB) said on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,417
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd