President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to take part in the Munich Security Conference (MSC), which will be held offline for the first time in two years, MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said.
According to him, more than 30 world leaders are expected to attend the event, which will take place from 18-20 February. In particular, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be among the participants. China will be represented by Foreign Minister Wang Yi (possibly online). The arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron is still under discussion.
It is already known that Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to come to Munich, but may attend the conference via videoconferencing.
“I do not want to exclude Russia under any circumstances. It depends only on Moscow whether it will take the opportunity not only to present its position in letters to the U.S. and NATO, but also to present it once again to a competent and high-ranking public,” Ischinger stressed.
Last year, the Munich Security Conference was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, the organisers decided to adhere to strict anti-epidemiological measures. Instead of the usual number of participants exceeding 2,000, no more than 600 are now allowed in order to minimise any risks. The number of journalists has also been sharply reduced.
For Ischinger, who has been chairman of the Munich Security Conference for 14 years, this will be the last forum. After the MSC 2022, he will hand over leadership to Christoph Heusgen, former adviser to Angela Merkel and Germany’s ex-envoy to the UN.