Did the Munich Security Conference leave hope to the world?
In Bavaria today the 52nd Munich Conference on Security came to an end. In the course of three days in Munich mainly three topics were discussed – the situation in Syria, the migration crisis and relations with Russia. If the first two thematic blocks were declared officially on the agenda, the Russian component appeared there suddenly.
The Munich conference was marked by a broad discussion on the issue of a new Cold War. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his speech pointed out that the NATO policy towards Russia ‘remains closed and unfriendly.’ ‘We have sunk to a new Cold War,’ he said, adding that he did not know what year it is now – 2016 or 1962. "If you look back to 1963, the first year of the Munich Security Conference, going back, the Cold War is now felt quite ‘hot’," US Secretary of State John Kerry parried. In turn, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that "we are definitely not in the situation of the Cold War."
The head of the Russian delegation, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in his speech touched on the problem of the Minsk agreements in addition to the Syrian issue. He reminded the audience that it is a year already since the negotiation of Minsk-2, but the implementation of the key provisions of the agreement have not been initiated, "mainly because of the reluctance of the Ukrainian leadership frankly to complete their part of the deal and the aspirations of Kiev to search endlessly for excuses to evade their obligations." "It is good that the unacceptability of such behavior seems to be beginning to be understood in Europe and in the US, according to a statement by John Kerry, with all its specific political correctness for the sake of the fashion for Russophobia in certain capitals," the minister added. The US Secretary of State, in turn, said that ‘Russia is facing a simple choice: to fully implement the Minsk agreement or continue to experience economic losses from the sanctions.’
One of the participants of the conference was President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. In his speech, he also drew the attention of the international community to the need to comply with international law. So Armenia must stop the occupation of the Karabakh lands and liberate the territory of the seven Azerbaijani regions. "The UN Security Council, the highest international body, has adopted four resolutions calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories," he said. The President pointed out that the de-occupation of Azerbaijani territories will be based on all further constructive contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
An important point became a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama coinciding with the conference, who themselves were not present in Munich. The heads of state discussed the Syrian settlement, stressing that they positively asses the outcome of the meeting of the International Syrian Support Group in Munich on February 11-12th, as well as the situation in Ukraine – the traditional theme of Russia's foreign policy agenda, which did not receive an independent development at the conference, despite a very emotional speech by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. The head of the Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, said that the telephone conversation between Putin and Obama ‘somewhat neutralized’ the pessimistic statements of the participants of the forum. "It seems to be the case that these two important leaders at their level have come to a common position that the Munich agreement should work. Let's see how this will develop, but I would like to leave you here today with hope,’’ he said.