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Munich again takes center stage of world politics. More than 400 high-ranking decision-makers attend the 50th Munich Security conference. Syria, Ukraine and the transatlantic relations are in the focus of attention. And a historic reencounter.

The anniversary conference begins

Ready to start: The conference hall at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. (Photo: Zwez)

Limousine convoys cut their way through the streets of Munich. Policemen secure the surroundings of the Hotel ”Bayerischer Hof“. Hundreds of press members are booting up their notebooks – this is the start of the 50th Munich Security Conference.

 

Friday will see a premiere. For the first time, a president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck, will deliver the opening address. Additionally, the chairman of the conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, was able to attract as many high-ranking representatives as never before to the banks of the Isar river on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the event, among them almost twenty heads of state and government and more than fifty ministers of foreign affairs and defense. Among them are the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klychko, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.


Both fundamental structural issues and key current crises are on the agenda. The future of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, and in particular the disastrous civil war in Syria, will dominate the discussions in Munich. In this context, a mutual positive dynamic influence may be expected from the interaction with the peace talks concurrently held in Geneva between the Syrian parties to the war.

 

Yet in Europe, too, barricades are burning and people dying. Wolfgang Ischinger wants to pay “broadest attention” to the domestic political conflict in Ukraine. The planned debate between of opposition leader Vitali Klychko with the member of the Ukrainian State Duma Leonid Kozhara will be of central importance. Thematic continuity to the previous year is established by the issue of common European defense policy. Moreover, the transatlantic relations, recently shaken by the spying affair, are due to be discussed. In this context, the cybersecurity, which increasingly conflicts with civil liberties in western states, will also be on the table. Last but not least, Europe’s relationship to its eastern neighbors and the dialog between Serbia and Kosovo will become a focal issue.

 

A historic meeting has been scheduled for Saturday. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Munich Security Conference, a unique heavyweight round of renowned elder statesmen – composed of the former German Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the long-serving U.S. strategist Henry Kissinger and Egon Bahr, the leading strategist of the German Ostpolitik under Willy Brandt –  and younger decision-makers is going to convene and have a look at the past, present and future of international security.

Here you find a detailed schedule of all events, topics and panelists of the 50th Munich Security Conference.


31 January 2014, by MSC