• 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
Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech
Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the 2014 Lindau meetings. Photo: DPA

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened an economics conference in Lindau, Bavaria, with a call for more regulation of so-called shadow banks. READ  

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure
A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst's main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of empty shops. Photo: Tomas Urbina

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure

Home to two-thirds of Germany's population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local's Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums. READ  

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver
Signs warning drivers against entering a motorway off-road. Photo: DPA

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver

Erich Mairleitner thought Tuesday would be another ordinary day hauling a load along the A3 motorway, but found himself the hero of the hour after stepping in to stop an accident. READ  

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds
Usula van der Leyen and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds

Germany is ready to send weapons to support Iraqi Kurds in their battle against the "barbaric" jihadist militants of the Islamic State, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
10 things to do before summer is really over
Photo: DPA

10 things to do before summer is really over

The German weather service (DWD) is blaming "Wild Wilma" for blanketing the country in cooler temperatures, but we know it's going to get a lot colder before the end of summer. This week's Local List challenges you to take advantage before autumn really sets in. READ  

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors
Lightning illuminates the sky above a wind turbine. Photo: DPA

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors

The Federal Court of Auditors (BRH) has sharply criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's energy policy, saying that the previous coalition government failed to produce adequate financial plans. READ  

China orders German's execution for murders
A paramilitary guard stands inside Beijing's No.1 Detention Centre. Photo: DPA

China orders German's execution for murders

Update: A German man has been condemned to death in China for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her partner in a frenzied attack, it was reported on Wednesday. READ  

German aid planes to Iraq delayed
All filled up and nowhere to go. Photo: DPA

German aid planes to Iraq delayed

A German military flight to the conflict-addled region in northern Iraq has been delayed because Turkey denied landing permission for the layover at Incirlik airbase, according to a spokesman for the air force. READ  

Bomb shuts down A3 motorway
Photo: DPA

Bomb shuts down A3 motorway

A controlled detonation of a 500-kg bomb from the Second World War has left a 20-metre-wide crater in the middle of one of Germany's busiest traffic corridors on Tuesday night. READ  

Saxony schools get top marks
Photo: DPA

Saxony schools get top marks

A country-wide analysis has shown that Saxony has the best schools and Berlin has a lot of homework to do. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
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

3,322
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd