Munich security conference to focus on Gulf challenges
May 18 2013 01:20 AM

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) continues its MSC core group meeting series in 2013 with a new regional focus on the Arabian Gulf. On May 21 and 22, the MSC will for the first time meet in Doha.

Hosted by the chairman of the MSC, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, around 50 senior decision-makers and government, business and civil society representatives from Europe, the United States and the Middle East will discuss questions of global and regional security. Representing Qatar will be HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani.

Following core group conferences in Washington (2009), Moscow (2010) and Beijing (2011), the fourth MSC core group meeting in Doha will focus on the Middle East.

Insurgency and unrest facing the Arab world are confronting the region and the international community with major challenges. The “Arabellion”, which encompassed many countries in North Africa, the Sahel region and the Middle East and resulted in armed conflicts in Libya and Syria, has affected Europe politically, economically, geo-strategically and in terms of human rights policy.

At the same time, the Middle East - being a prime energy provider - will remain one of the most economically important regions in the world. Issues concerning regional co-operation, like the ones motivated by activities of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) or the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), will become increasingly important. Apart from these subjects, the meeting will also focus on some of the topics that were on the agenda of the 49th MSC at the beginning of February, such as the escalating conflict in Syria and Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.  

Besides local representatives, a host of prominent speakers and participants are expected at the MSC Core Group Meeting in Doha. They include Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and former Secretary General of Nato Javier Solana, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology Anne Ruth Herkes (former Ambassador to Qatar), member of the German Bundestag and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Ruprecht Polenz, former member of the US Congress and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars Jane Harman, former US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley as well as Chairmen Nikolaus von Bomhard (Munich Re), Hans-Jörg Rudloff (Barclay’s Investment Bank) and Nemir Kirdar (Investcorp).  

Ambassador Ischinger said: “The enduring developments in the Arab region, which are absolutely relevant for Europe, have motivated the Munich Security Conference to discuss the regional security challenges in depth. Right now, there is probably no other part of the world posing that many key security issues - for instance, the increasingly escalating conflict in Syria, the conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme, the US energy revolution and its effects on security policy, or the way ahead in the Arab Spring countries. A changing Arab world might produce new instability hotspots, but it also has a great potential to bring more openness and democratic and economic development to the western world and the region. So, right now, it is crucial for the West to keep an eye on the region.”

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