Berlin conference

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The three-day Munich Security Conference (MSC) was held in the Bavarian capital, with a major focus scheduled to be on the Western strategy to counter the Ukraine crisis. More than 100 foreign ministers were also due to attend the annual summit in the German city, although Russia’s foreign minister was reportedly not in attendance. The conference opening has been somewhat overshadowed by allegations in German media that the chairman, Ischinger, has used the international contacts gained through the MSC to make money. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the importance of unity as he spoke, and said that all efforts were being made for there to be a diplomatic solution. Blinken questioned whether Moscow was on the same page. Blinken said “we are deeply concerned” that Russia may not be embarking on a diplomatic path.  US Vice President Kamala Harris said there was still hope that Russia would de-escalate but added the US was ready to hit Moscow with tough sanctions in the event of an attack.  “We remain, of course, open to and desirous of diplomacy… but we are also committed, if Russia takes aggressive action, to ensure there will be a severe consequence in terms of the sanctions we have discussed,” Harris told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during the conference. Turning away from Ukraine, the UN Secretary-General underlined the increased unpredictability and fragility of the global landscape, including in Yemen and Libya. Turning to the worldwide threat of global terrorism, Guterres insisted that the situation in some African countries was “unsustainable…we need robust African peace enforcement and counter-terrorist operations, mandated by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter, and with stable and predictable funding”.

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