Munich Security Conference to open as chairman laments political failures

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The chairman of the Munich Security Conference has lamented the “unforgivable failure” in solving conflicts. NATO allies will likely butt heads as Macron pushes for more independence from the US.

World leaders gathered in southern Germany on Friday for the annual Munich Security Conference, as the chairman slammed international failures to resolve conflict.

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 were due to attend.

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.

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.

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.

aw/rc dpa, Reuters, AFP)

DW

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