• 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
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  

Germany's brain drain is Europe's gain
Inside the terminal at the Frankfurt International Airport. Photo: Shutterstock

Germany's brain drain is Europe's gain

Figures from the European Union show that while many German professionals are able to find work abroad with their well-recognised qualifications, Germany doesn't always extend the same courtesy to foreigners. READ  

S-Bahn arson in support of refugees, group claims
Passengers at Berlin's Ostkreuz station yesterday as information screens relay news of the disruption. Photo: DPA

S-Bahn arson in support of refugees, group claims

A radical left-wing group claimed responsibility on Friday for an arson attack that cut power to several S-Bahn lines and caused transport chaos in Berlin, saying it was intended to awaken people to the plight of refugees. READ  

Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues
Passengers in Hannover check departure boards showing cancelled Germanwings flights. Photo: DPA

Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues

UPDATE: Germanwings pilots have ended their six-hour strike which grounded 116 flights and up to 15,000 passengers of Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings on Friday. READ  

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in
Emergency services use a crane to lift the fallen crane in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in

A Cologne resident was pinned to his bed after a 40-metre construction crane toppled onto his home early on Friday. READ  

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel
Merkel looking grave at Thursday's West Balkan conference in Berlin. Photo: DPA

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that European leaders will discuss the worsening Ukraine crisis and possible further sanctions against Russia at a weekend summit. READ  

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm with fellow World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League

The 2014-15 Champions League draw yesterday brought déjà-vu for English and German clubs as old opponents found themselves facing off once again. READ  

German of the Week
Animal activist fights off murder threats
Photo: DPA

Animal activist fights off murder threats

Friedrich Mülln has been dragged through the courts and threatened with murder during his years of animal rights activism. His latest court case was in Munich this week but he tells The Local he has no plans to give up the fight. 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

3,701
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd