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Munich Security Conference: President Steinmeier warns of ‘destructive’ dynamic in world politics

Author : Deutsche Welle

Source : dw.com

The German president has called out the US for abandoning its international responsibilities. NATO allies will likely butt heads at the annual security conference as France pushes for more independence from the US
22:30, 14 February 2020

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In opening remarks at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized the US for neglecting its international duties and warned of an “increasingly destructive dynamic in world politics.”

World leaders gathered in southern Germany on Friday for the 56th iteration of the annual conference on international security policy.

"Year by year, we are distancing ourselves from the goal of international cooperation to create a more peaceful world," Steinmeier said in his opening address. He criticized world powers Russia and China before adding that "our closest ally, the United States, under the current administration itself rejects the idea of an international community."

World leaders and foreign ministers including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are among those expected to attend the three-day event.

Also scheduled were NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

'Unforgivable failure'

Ahead of the meeting, conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said he was "deeply troubled" by the "unforgivable failure" of the international community in the Syria conflict, and said he regretted the failure of the Libya peace plan recently secured in Berlin.

"We have more crises, more serious crises, more horrific events than one can actually imagine," he said.

Related: Pompeo’s assistant to discuss fight against Russian aggression in Ukraine at Munich Security Conference

NATO tensions

NATO allies will likely find themselves in conflict during the meeting, with Macron pushing for Europe to become more independent from the US.

US General Tod Wolters told reporters at the conference that NATO will resume its training mission in Iraq in the coming days or weeks, after activities were suspended following a US drone strike on Baghdad. Wolters the said the 500-strong mission had received assurances from the Iraqi government.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer earlier reaffirmed the need to continue the fight against Islamic State, DPA news agency reported.

Russia and Turkey to meet

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the conference, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia's foreign ministry earlier criticised Ankara, after it said would use force against rebel groups violating a ceasefire in Syria's Idlib. 

US-Afghanistan deal

Pompeo said the US was making headway with negotiations with the Taliban, on his way to the conference.

The US said it had secured a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan, while US President Donald Trump said a peace accord was "very close."

Palestine

The US peace plan for Palestine will likely lead to conflicts at the this year's meeting. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell criticized the Israel-friendly plan, and called on EU foreign ministers to table their own ideas to promote peace.

Borrell said he was concerned that the current US plan could lead to the annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank. He warned the EU would be forced act against such serious violations of international law. 

However, he acknowledged, that EU lacked unity on the Middle East peace process. 

Related: Russia’s representatives, Munich Security Conference organizers create plan on Donbas Conflict end

Kosovo-Serbia

On the sidelines of the conference, Kosovo and Serbia signed a US-brokered agreement to build road and rail links between their capitals. 

"Another milestone!" Kosovo President Hashim Thaci wrote on Twitter after the signing, thanking Trump

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also expressed gratitude towards the Americans.  "We feel that this will bring us a better future and that we will ensure peace for decades to come," he wrote on Twitter. 

Coronavirus

A panel on COVID-19 will be held during the conference with the World Health Organization's Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expected to attend. aw/rc dpa, Reuters, AFP)

Police deployed

Thousands of police have been deployed to the streets of Munich for the conference with support from several other German states. Several protests are expected, including one expected to attract 4,000 people on Saturday.

Read the original text at DW.

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