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Top politicians gather in Munich for security summit

EPA-EFE/PHILIPP GUELLAND
A police officer checks a vehicle at an access point to the conference venue during the 56th Munich Security Conference forum in Munich, Germany, 14 February 2020.

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Heads of state and government, security leaders and diplomats gathered for the 56th annual Munich Security Conference, which runs from 14-16 February. This year’s summit comes amid rising global tensions, conflicts and disagreements over security policies.
Among the participants are French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The US officials’ visit to the summit comes at a time as the US has introduced an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, and is facing pushback from Europe, who sees it as biased in favor of Israel at the expense of Palestinians. It also sees it as inconsistent with previous guidelines for a settlement to the conflict.
The US is also trying to pressure its European allies to ban the Chinese company Huawei from the 5G networks launch. Last month, the UK allowed Huawei to participate in limited areas of its networks. There are also worries about the global spread of the deadly new coronavirus from China.
EU-US tensions are also expected on the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. While the UK, France and Germany push for the deal to be salvaged, the US, which abandoned the deal, is pushing for renewing sanctions on Iran. The US also urges the EU to increase defense spending, aiming to ease the burden on US taxpayers.
Disagreements are expected within the US delegation as well. The senior Democrat in the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will attend the event together with members of US president Donald Trump’s administration. Pelosi played a key role in the impeachment trial against Trump, who was later acquitted.
Pompeo and US defense chief Mark Esper are likely to participate in one of the most significant events, when they meet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the conference. Trump said on Thursday that the US and Taliban negotiators have been nearing a peace agreement to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
Conference Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, focused on two war-torn countries, Syria and Libya. He expressed his deep concerns on the role of international community in both countries’ conflicts that do not seem to be nearing a peace plan.
Some 3,900 police are set to be deployed to the site to help provide security, as protests are expected as well.

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