Munich (dpa) – The Munich security conference scheduled for February has been postponed due to the corona pandemic.
The most important security policy conference in the world will now take place at the end of April at the earliest, depending on the contamination situation, conference leader Wolfgang Ischinger said Wednesday of the German news agency.
He hopes that new US President Joe Biden, who will be sworn in on January 20, will also be there. “There is a lot of interest in the Biden team to continue the performances of the former senator and vice president during his presidency. I have also received specific information about this. Biden has been at the Munich Security Conference many times since 1980, most recently in 2019. He would be the first US president to be present in nearly six decades of conference history.
The 57th Munich Security Conference was to take place in Munich from 19 to 21. This year, about 800 government representatives and security experts gathered at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof for three days, including 35 heads of state and government and nearly 100 ministers of foreign affairs and defense. In addition, hundreds of media representatives report on the conference every year.
At the beginning of this week, it was announced that the World Economic Forum will move from the Swiss ski resort Davos to Singapore in 2021, which is much less affected by the corona pandemic. Such a step is out of the question for Ischinger. “It is out of the question that the conference will take place anywhere other than Germany,” he said. “And if it takes place in Germany, it will also take place in Munich. The Munich Security Conference remains the Munich Security Conference. “
Ischinger also stressed how important it is to him that the participants meet in person in Munich and that the conference is not moved to the virtual space. “Because of the pandemic, we have to make plans for different scenarios. This also includes an option with fewer participants, ”he emphasized.
He hoped to be able to give an exact date soon, Ischinger said. Preparation for such a conference takes approximately three months. “I don’t expect conditions to improve so that we can hold the conference before Easter. If you’re realistic, it won’t work until the end of April at the earliest, ”he emphasized.
The former top diplomat and ambassador to Washington has been in touch with Team Biden for some time to promote the participation of the president-elected Democrat. Biden served three times alone as vice president in Munich, presenting his foreign policy guidelines in 2009 following Barack Obama’s move to the White House in the Bavarian capital.
“In my opinion, by 2021, Biden will be the only political decision-maker of influence who has been involved in transatlantic security policy discussions for 40 years,” said Ischinger. “We will keep in touch with the Biden team. If we start thinking about new data now, we can do it so that the future government can participate in the conference at the highest possible level. “
The actual conference date should be a preview of the security conference. “We are considering holding a virtual event on its original date in February,” said Ischinger. “But this is not intended to replace the actual conference, which I would like to hold physically in the traditional format.”