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More than 35 Heads of State and Heads of Governments, as well as 50 Foreign and 30 Defence Ministers are expected to attend the 55th Munich Security Conference 2019 (MSC 2019). The international conference will take place in Munich (Southern Germany) from 15 to 17 February.

Ahead of the annual event, the Chairman of the MSC 2019, Wolfgang Ischinger, said: "When looking at the current state of international affairs, it is difficult to escape the feeling that the world is not just witnessing a series of smaller and bigger crises, but that there is a more fundamental problem. Indeed, we seem to be experiencing a reshuffling of core pieces of the international order. A new era of great power competition is unfolding between the United States, China, and Russia, accompanied by a certain leadership vacuum in what has become known as the liberal international order."

Political observers anticipate controversial discussions about major global security issues. High on the agenda will be the announcement that the United States will suspend the INF Treaty which has banned the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) since 1987. Among the other crucial issues are the European Union's self-assertion and the intention to develop a “European Army”, transatlantic burden-sharing within NATO, Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as well as consequences of a new era of great power competition. It is expected that the experts will not only discuss the classical aspects of the defence policy but also the interdependence between international trade and security policy as well as possible effects of climate change and technological innovations on the global security environment.

The German Government will be represented by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Health Minister Jens Spahn and Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner.

MSC 2019 is also expecting a very large US delegation. Vice-President Mike Pence and Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, have confirmed their participation. The Congressional Delegation will be led by Senators Lindsey O. Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Roger F. Wicker, James Inhofe and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Among the Heads of State and Heads of Government which announced their attendance are Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi. In addition: Yang Jiechi, Member of the 19th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroschenko and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Other confirmations include Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Christine Lagarde, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Kristalina Georgieva, Acting President of the World Bank.

Dr Theodor Benien

The Munich Security Conference 2019 - A high-profile event for discussions among international security experts (photo - MSC)

The Munich Security Conference 2019 - A high-profile event for discussions among international security experts (photo - MSC)

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