The Munich Security Conference, one of the most important informal forums in the worlds begins in Germany.
What is it?
The event was founded by Ewald von Kleist, the German publisher as the private unofficial meeting of the representatives of the defense ministries of NATO-countries for the discussion of the issues of the Alliance more than 50 years ago. However, the geographical coverage significantly increased in time and it was necessary to change the format of the meeting.
Today, the Munich Security Conference is the open international discussion forum that gathers the politicians, diplomats, military, businessmen, scientific and public figures from the dozens of countries (NATO, EU members and countries that play significant roles at the world stage such as Russia, China, Japan, India and others) for the discussion of the current political issues concerning the balance of the powers in the international relations, strengthening of the international law system and democratic order.
How will it take place?
This year the event will last three days from February 16 until February 18. It opened with the welcoming speech of Wolfgang Ischinger, the Chairman of the Conference and German diplomat. Then, Ursula von der Leyen, the Defense Ministry of Germany and Florence Parly, the Defense Ministry of France delivered their speeches. Also, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar and Jens Stoltenberg spoke. Then the panel discussion should start. Totally, about three dozens of the discussion are planned for this year conference.
Who are the participants?
About 30 heads of the states and governments, more than 100 foreign and defense ministers are among the guests of the conference. However, Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany will stay in Berlin as she will hold the planned negotiations on the creation of new German government.
Particularly, Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the EU Commision, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Chancellor, Benjamin Netanyuahu, the Israeli Prime Minister and Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine confirmed their participation in the Munich Security Conference.
However, Donald Trump, the President of the US will not attend the event. James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, Herbert McMaster, the National Security Advisor and John McCain, the Head of the Senators Delegation will present the US in Munich.
Russia will be represented by Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister and the Russian delegation is the biggest this year due to the interest of the local business. It is connected with the extended sanction policy of the West against Russia and North Korea.
What are the main issues?
The main attention will be drawn to the future of the European external policy, state of the trans-Atlantic relations, the threat to the liberal international world order, the political situation in the Middle East, and control over the weaponry with the special accent on the possible nuclear escalation.
The discussion of the defense cooperation of the EU and NATO, support of the democracy and threat of it are planned for February 16. The next day, the nuclear security and control over the nuclear weaponry will become the main topic.
Also, the security issues in Sahel, Central, and Eastern Europe and threats of the jihadist terrorism will be discussed.
Also, the distribution of the annual Ewald von Kleist award for the devoted service to the trans-Atlantic partnership will take place.
The summarizing and discussion on the current political tensions in the region of the Persian Gulf are planned for February 18.
The detained description of the events of the Munich Security Conference 2018 is available at the official website in PDF format.
The Ukrainian issue
Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine will deliver a speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 16. The beginning of his speech is planned at 19:45. The specific details of his speech were not reported, however, it is known that it will be the issues of the European security.
It is remarkable that the message appeared at the social networks that the speech of Poroshenko is one of the most expected events of the opening day of the conference.
Earlier Wolfgang Ischinger, the Chairman of the forum noted the possibility of the bilateral meeting of President Poroshenko and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The administration of the president also confirmed this: 'The head of the state will hold the bilateral meetings with the UN and NATO officials, high representatives of the US, leaders of the EU countries and EU institutes within the visit'.
Also, the meeting of the Normandy Four at the ministerial level expected at the sidelines of the conference.
Pavlo Klimkin, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine noted after his arrival in Munich that the security and release of the hostages will the main issues for him. 'The security situation is the main issue for me. It deteriorates. You know that the most attacks are made from the heavy weaponry. We are sure that it is not accidental, that it is made in purpose to show that the situation can be controlled from that side. I will also dwell on the release of our hostages, humanitarian side of the question', he noted as 112 Ukraine broadcasted.
Moreover, he claimed that he intends to privately meet with his Russian colleague Lavrov before the Normandy Four meeting. 'I will tell Lavrov that they should control their occupation administration. I will definitely raise the issue of our political prisoners as he refuses to discuss this within the Normandy Format. And of course, I will talk about the UN peacekeepers in Donbas as there are a lot of ventures on this issue', he said.
Also, the report of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO Secretary-General and current adviser of the Ukrainian president will be represented at the Munich Security Conference. It will concern the UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas. Particularly, it is stated that the UN should consider the issue on the forces in the amount of about 20, 000 soldiers from the countries that are not a part of NATO and 4, 000 police officers to help in the settlement of the Donbas Conflict.
In its turn, Russia already criticized the report, noting that the mission format offered in the report is not really correspondent to the Minsk Agreements.