Merkel to appear alongside Biden at online Munich Security Conference

Germany’s Munich Security Conference on Friday added more high-profile guests to the bill for its online edition this year, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Joe Biden was already confirmed as the first president of the United States to attend the conference, which is one of the most important annual events for international security issues.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and US climate envoy John Kerry are also to join the talks via video link, taking place next Friday.

The in-person Munich Security Conference, which usually takes place over several days in the Bavarian capital, has been postponed due to the pandemic. The head of the conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, still hopes it can take place this year.

Next week’s “special edition,” lasting only a few hours, will focus on rebuilding and renewing the trans-Atlantic alliance, a statement from the organizers said.

Key topics such as climate change and the pandemic are also expected to come up.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates are also scheduled to attend.

For Biden, who has been a regular at the conference since 1980, it will be his first opportunity since taking office last month to address European allies directly.

Ischinger said this “shows he has significant expectations of Germany’s leadership, particularly in terms of trans-Atlantic relations.”

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