BERLIN, December 9. /TASS/. The 2021 Munich Security Conference (MSC) has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, a statement by the conference’s organizers published on the official website informs.
"The Munich Security Conference has been held each February for over five decades. Next year, the ongoing pandemic will prevent us from hosting the MSC, as originally planned, on February 19-21, 2021," the statement quotes Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, as saying.
"Given current global threats and challenges to international security and stability, the need for the MSC to provide a platform for informal exchanges between international decision-makers as early as possible in 2021 is clear and urgent," the chairman informed. "Therefore, we have not taken this decision to postpone lightly. We will continue to work with our partners to identify a new date for the MSC 2021, which will be announced as soon as this can be confirmed with the relevant authorities."
"As the MSC's Chairman, my aim remains to convene the Munich Security Conference 2021 as close as possible to its traditional physical format as soon as conditions permit," he concluded.
On Wednesday, Ischinger told the DPA news agency that the conference would be held no earlier than in late April. Besides, he expressed hope that US President-Elect Joe Biden would attend the conference. According to DPA, Biden has taken part in the Munich Security Conference several times since the 1980.
The Munich Security Conference
The Munich Security Conference was established by German publisher Ewald von Kleist in 1962 as a meeting of NATO defense ministries officials. It has been attended by delegates from Central and Eastern Europe since 1999. Russia has been taking part in the conference since the late 1990s. The Russian delegation to the conference has been led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov since 2010, with the exception of 2016 when it was headed by then-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
In 2020, the 56th Munich Security Conference involved about 800 participants - politicians, business representatives, researchers and human rights activists from all over the world. The Russian delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In total, about 35 heads of state and government and nearly 100 foreign and defense ministers were in attendance.