50th Munich Security Conference - 50. Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz
The 50th Munich Security Conference took place from January 31 to February 2, 2014.  The event was attended by more than 400 international guests,  including 20 heads of state and government, 50 foreign and defense ministers and 90 government delegations.  With Joachim Gauck first held  , a German Federal President the opening speech. 
In his speech, Gauck called for a new German foreign policy, combined with greater German foreign policy engagement, which must show greater self-confidence and assume more responsibility.  The Federal President described the Federal Republic as "the best Germany we have ever had".  The country should not hide behind its historical guilt.   Addressing the federal government , he appealed not to "flee from threats". Rather, Germany must “play a more decisive and substantial role” in defending its own values. Finally, the Federal President urged a correction of the German self-image. The six decades of the Federal Republic of Germany as a free and stable state justified the Germans' “trust and confidence” in themselves. Gauck called this a prerequisite for being “reliable for partners” in the world. 
A dominant theme of the conference was the violent clashes between the government and the opposition in Ukraine . While US Secretary of State Kerry assured the Ukrainian opposition of the support of the West,  Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov accused the Western states of supporting a violent uprising in Ukraine that had gotten out of control.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, however, accused Russia of disregarding Ukraine's right to freely choose alliances.  The opposition politician Vitali Klitschko , who traveled from Ukraine at short noticeduring a panel discussion accused his country's government of responding to the opposition's demands with terror and violence.  Klitschko called for economic sanctions against those responsible for the violence.  The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara denied the allegations that his country's policy was directed against Europe. Since Ukraine belongs geographically to Europe and at the same time has very close relations with Russia , his country should not be placed before the alternative “Europe or Russia”, warned Koschara.  Ukraine has also already met important demands of the opposition, the Foreign Minister continued. Klitschko countered his assertion that the violence in Ukraine emanated from the terrorists  by distributing a catalog with pictures of the protests in Ukraine to podium participants and spectators.  With an invitation to the conflicting parties in Ukraine and the foreign ministers of important EU states, the EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton launched a mediation initiative during the security conference.  During the Security Conference, the Swiss Federal President Didier Burkhalter also renewed an existing mediation offer by the OSCE to the conflicting parties in Ukraine in his function as OSCE Chairman.
New security risks
In a panel discussion on the history of the security conference on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the conference, former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also took part in two guests from the first International Armed Forces Meeting in 1963. Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , former Federal Minister for Special Tasks Egon Bahr , former British Foreign Minister David Miliband and the incumbent Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski also participated in the discussion . In the course of the discussion, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing referred to the development that the number of major wars had declined while the level of violence, the risks of new threats such as terror or cyber attacks and the number of refugees  had increased worldwide. The former French President defended his country's military interventions in Africa. 
Henry Kissinger also shared the assessment of an increasingly complex global security situation that makes the development of "coherent strategies" difficult.  The former US Secretary of State referred to Sino-Japanese territorial conflicts that could lead to military conflicts. Europe, on the other hand, is very "reluctant to engage in military conflicts", according to Kissinger  and is sometimes too "hesitant" to combat violence - a criticism that Giscard d'Estaing has already raised and which has been accused of a European " Despondency ”. Recalling the situation in Afghanistan and IraqKissinger warned, however, not to allow a “moment of anger” to be guided when making decisions about military interventions if there is no willingness to “see through such wars to the end”. 
Egon Bahr emphasized the risks of new types of threats that are difficult to localize, such as cyber attacks on power grids or other infrastructure facilities. These threats also made the USA vulnerable and showed an existing inability to resist, Bahr continued, who called for a defense policy of deterrence analogous to the threat posed by nuclear weapons. When asked about the future of NATO, Bahr, like Kissinger and Giscard, was convinced that it would continue to exist in ten years' time. 
Loss of importance for Europe
Former Chancellor Schmidt predicted that Europe would lose importance. According to Schmidt, the consequences of global population growth are decisive for the future of the continent. In 2050, Europe will only make up seven percent of the world's population, while in 1950 more than one in five people lived in Europe.  According to Schmidt, the Europeans overestimated their global importance.  The former chancellor was also critical of global urbanization, which led to the emergence of “metropolitan masses” that were “easily seduced” by modern media.  Schmidt named the “power of financial managers” as a further threat, which was unbroken despite the recent financial crisis. Schmidt described the current policy of the European Union as endangering the future: "If the EU continues to muddle up like this, NATO will still be there in ten years, but perhaps not the EU."  David Miliband described and led a loss in importance of classical foreign policy This is due to the fact that voters increasingly focused on regional and national issues. 
There was no convergence in the transatlantic conflict on NSA surveillance in Europe. US Ministers Kerry and Hagel avoided any mention of the controversial issue.  Instead, Kerry advocated a “transatlantic renaissance” based on shared values.  Hagel emphasized the role of Europe as an "irreplaceable partner" of the USA.  Both ministers promoted the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP).   US Senator John McCainon the other hand, in connection with the NSA spying on allies, described a "credibility problem" that the American government must counter with transparency in order to regain lost trust.  Significant criticism of the NSA spying practiced Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere . During a discussion event he called the spying on German citizens “excessive”  and called for a “signal from the Americans to their closest partner in Europe”.  The political damage caused by the wiretapping measures was greater than its security benefit, explained de Maizière. The Federal Minister of the Interior called the information provided by the American side completely inadequate.  With a possible no-spy agreement with the US, the Minister joined not have high expectations. Like Kerry and Hagel, de Maizière also advocated continuing negotiations on the free trade agreement. The CDU MEP Elmar Brok predicted that the TTIP treaty would lose the vote in the EU Parliament in the event that the NSA activities were not dealt with. Company representatives from Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Microsoft demanded binding international standards for internet security from the states. That's how Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges spokefor an international convention of fundamental digital rights. Microsoft Vice President Matt Thomlinson announced the opening of company-owned transparency centers, including in Brussels. There, governments could check the source code of Microsoft products to ensure that they did not contain any backdoors for US intelligence agencies. 
New order in the former Yugoslavia
During the conference, the two Prime Ministers from Serbia and Kosovo , Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaçi , also appeared  and, moderated by EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton, discussed the rapprochement between the two countries that led to the conclusion of the normalization agreement in 2013. Both politicians reaffirmed their intention to strive for solutions "that advance the two peoples".  Dačić described the rapprochement process as a "tightrope act" and Thaçi referred to resistance in the population that had to be overcome before the agreement. 
A meeting of the Middle East Quartet took place on the sidelines of the conference, at which EU representative Ashton offered economic aid to Israelis and Palestinians in the event that both parties agreed to a peace agreement.  US Secretary of State Kerry had previously described the failure of the Middle East negotiations as "unacceptable". 
Following the unsuccessful negotiations between the Syrian civil war parties in Geneva immediately before , there was no rapprochement on the Syrian conflict at the security conference either . Despite his announcement of follow-up negotiations, UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi described the international peace efforts in Syria as having failed.  Brahimi warned of a further escalation of the situation in Syria. 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the parties to the conflict to conduct future negotiations “seriously and sincerely”.  The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif repeated his country's call for a ceasefire in Syria and at the same time pointed to the difficulties of monitoring it. 
Iranian nuclear program
During a debate on the Iranian nuclear program , Sarif insisted on his country's right to use nuclear energy. In connection with the upcoming international negotiations, "many steps still need to be taken", said the Iranian Foreign Minister.  Sarif described the previously reached agreements as a significant beginning and assured Iran's readiness for constructive negotiations.  The IAEA -Generaldirektor Yukiya Amano spoke of positive feedback from Iran, however, continue to stand still a lot of work to do. Amano also pointed out that the IAEA still does not have access to all nuclear facilities and that "the non-peaceful nature of some Iranian activities cannot therefore be excluded".  Following the discussion, the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Jaalon warned against being too optimistic and against the fact that Iran would continue to develop its nuclear program during the ongoing negotiations.  The fact that Jaalon and the Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor had previously personally followed the appearance of the Iranian Foreign Minister in the auditorium was interpreted as a public gesture of rapprochement with Iran. The Iranian nuclear program was also the subject of a meeting between Sarif and US Secretary of State Kerry. 
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