A Discussion on “Munich Security Conference (MSC); And Regional and International challenges”
A closed roundtable discussion on the results of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) at its 55th session that was held in Munich, Germany, from February 15th to 17th , 2019, was hosted by the Council on February 24th , 2019. About 35 heads of state and heads of government, 50 foreign ministers, 30 defense ministers, and 600 of military experts, security experts and diplomats, participated in the conference. The organization of this conference coincided with the organization of other several conferences in the same month such as the Warsaw Conference that was called for by the United States, as well as the Sochi Conference which was called for by President Putin, with the participation of the Turkish and Iranian presidents in talks on the Syrian crisis; but had not yielded any progress, in addition to the hosting of the Arab European summit over a couple of days on February 24th and 25th , 2019, by the city of Sharm el-Sheikh in which 49 countries had participated, including 24 European states at the level of heads of state and heads government, 11 Arab heads of state and heads of government, and the rest of the participants were the ministers.
Ambassadors who participated in this roundtable discussion were: Dr. Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council; Abdul Raouf Al-Reedi, Honorary Chairman of the Council; Dr.Ezzat Saad, Director of the Council; Ihab Wahba, Coordinator of the Permanent Committee on Arab Affairs at the Council; Rakha Hassan; Dr.Kamal Abu Aqil, Coordinator of the Permanent Committee on European Affairs at the Council; Dr.Hazem Ateyatallah, council treasurer; and Mr. Ahmed Abu Shady, member of the Council.
The participants emphasized that, the conference has been held amidst what the European Union (EU) is facing at the domestic level in terms of escalation of populism, right-wing extremism, fears regarding the future of the United Kingdom (UK), severity of the refugees and illegal immigration crisis, and people’s rejection to receive refugees. Similarly there are a number of threats facing economic and trade relations, which are affected by political relations, particularly in the presence of the special agendas possessed by each individual state. The issue is no longer confined to such domestic threats, but progressed to threats related to the situations in the Middle East region, particularly amidst what is being frequently alleged that the US is withdrawing from the region and making fateful decisions without coordinating with the European partners.
Those challenges demand the necessity of paying attention to crisis surrounding the globe which are multilateral rather than being bilateral. There are external parties fueling such conflicts as the Iranian role in Syria and the Saudi role in Yemen are clear.
It has also been noted that, terrorism has become an international problem threatening world states in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but amid that there is a clash among major countries, or among middle power states at the behest of major powers.
– It is necessary to pay attention to the rising rates of corruption and poverty; and to seek respect of free trade and human rights agreements.
Regarding the Arab situation, amidst this world which is threatened by collapse, it has been emphasized that the conference revealed the nature of the division in the western world between Europe and the United States regarding their views on Arab issues, which can be taken advantage of within the framework of the convening of the Arab-European Summit, so that this summit would be the beginning of cooperation between both sides. Particularly as the European position towards the Palestinian issue is consistent as compared to the Arab position which lacks that, and there is no strong international partner that can be relied upon with respect to the future of this conflict, as both Russians and Chinese are busy defending their interests as well as having significant and influential relations with Israel.
The proceedings of the roundtable discussion were concluded by asking a question about the opportunities that Egypt may exploit so as to return to play a role and how may it formulate strategies to benefit from such opportunities, particularly as the region, although suffering from conflicts, is still rich in natural and energy resources, and these resources are possessed by Egypt as well; noting that the question that must be asked and answered is: How would it be possible for Egypt to return?