The first day of the Munich security conference be remembered by fears due to the weakening of the West, calls for cooperation with Russia and the controversial peace plan for Ukraine. A report DW.
The Munich security conference opened on Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, but judging by first appearances, the love is gone. The main motive – the West as a community and the model loses attractiveness in the world, and weak on the inside. Opening the three-day forum with the participation of dozens of heads of States and governments, Ministers, experts, its head, German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger (Wolfgang Ischinger) stated, the West’s “crisis of identity”. This was in Munich talking about for several years, especially given the new foreign policy of the US and the UK out of the EU.
And from year to year more and more paint to thicken. For the Munich security conference, founded as a forum of NATO countries to maintain the Alliance of Europe and the United States, this is the Central question.
Criticism of Russia and calls for dialogue
Ischinger concern about the loss of unity in the West picked up in his speech, Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Frank-Walter Steinmeier). The politician began his speech by saying that “today’s world is not the same as in 2014” when he came here as head of the German foreign Ministry. Then the Munich conference was held a few days before the annexation of Crimea, which is also mentioned in his speech, the President of Germany. “Russia, rightly or wrongly wounded and estranged, not only annexed the Crimea without regard for international law, – said Steinmeier. – She again made a political tool military power and violent change of borders on the European continent”.
In his speech, Steinmeier several times mentioned Russia, combining criticism with calls for dialogue with Moscow. The President said that the EU needs a new policy towards Russia, which is not limited to “judgmental statements and sanctions.” At the same time, he said, “reflections on future relations with Russia should not be carried out without or at the expense of the countries and peoples of Central Europe.”
However, criticized the President not only Russia but also the United States, China, and Germany itself, which, in his opinion, after the end of the cold war, believed that “the world revolves around the European sun.” Today Europe needs to be not only more pragmatic but also more initiative for “maturity and conflict prevention on the outskirts of our Union, both in the East and the South,” said the President, referring to, including, and Ukraine.
Controversial peace plan for Ukraine
Debut performance in Munich of the new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is scheduled for Saturday, and on Friday with Ukraine at the conference was about. Representatives of the Ukrainian delegation warned correspondents DW that is expected to submit a controversial peace plan for Ukraine from the Russian and Western experts. The English document titled “Twelve steps to strengthen security in Ukraine and in the Euro-Atlantic area” were really among the other brochures in the lobby of the hotel “Bavarian yard”, where the forum is held.
A statement on behalf of the “group of leaders on the issues of Euro-Atlantic security” adorns among other things the logo of the conference, and among the signers is, its head Wolfgang Ischinger. The text is also published by the Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC), which, apparently, was one of the authors. Some aspects of the statement coincide with the Russian position, for example, used the phrase “punitive operations” of the events in the Donbass. The document, among the undersigned which former Russian foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, high-ranking retired U.S. military, European experts and some representatives of Ukraine, calls for, among other things, to develop a roadmap for the lifting of sanctions against Russia as the implementation of the Minsk agreements. It is also proposed to create in Ukraine a free trade zone with the EU and with Russia.
Kiev’s foreign Ministry, in comments to Ukrainian media called the statement “private initiative” of the individual experts, which has nothing to do with the official position of Kiev. In a press-service of the conference at the time of writing their attitude to the statement is not commented. If not for the sensitive reaction of the Ukrainian delegation, perhaps no one in Munich, this document would not have paid attention.
Trudeau and Kurz suggest not to dramatize the crisis of the West
Obviously not wanting to be too dramatic, the organizers have invited two politicians who are considered to be successful representatives of the young generation of Western leaders – Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz. Both said that, they say, we should not exaggerate the crisis of the West. On Saturday in Munich waiting for another leader from the same category – Emmanuele Makron. However, given the critical statements of the French President of “the clinical death of NATO”, his speech might not be as optimistic as the speeches of the leaders of Canada and Austria.