A security conference has begun in Munich

The Munich Security Conference opened for the 56th time in the Bavarian capital. The participants were welcomed by the long-time chairman of the forum, German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger.

This year’s conference is attended by over 800 delegates, including about 150 heads of state, prime ministers and government members. The Russian delegation is headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Munich Conference was founded in 1963 as a “Defence Ministerial Meeting” of NATO member states. Now it is an international discussion forum for politicians, diplomats, military, businessmen, scientists and public figures from dozens of countries. The conference is traditionally held at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in the historic centre of the Bavarian capital. No final communiqués or agreements are signed in Munich, and the conference is an important and relatively neutral venue for world-class politicians and diplomats to meet and discuss.

In 2019, the 55th Munich Conference was attended by over 600 delegates. The main programme of the forum included speeches by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US Vice-President Mike Pence and Lavrov, among others. The main focus was on the situation in the Middle East, the Arctic, the Balkans, the Black Sea, energy and cyber security, and arms control issues.