Top world leaders and authorities will get their first opportunity to meet Trump administration members and state their concerns over the new president's position concerning NATO and Russia. This was reported by the Associated Press agency.
Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are leading the US delegation to the Munich Security Conference opening Friday. The annual weekend gathering is known for providing an open and informal platform for allies — and adversaries — to meet in close quarters.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European Council President Donald Tusk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are among the group of more than 30 heads of state and government, 80 foreign and defense ministers and other officials expected to attend.
“Expectations that Pence would speak at the conference on Saturday were extremely high. Participants have told him they are seeking clarity on the administration's stance on its relationship with Russia, NATO, the EU, free trade, human rights, the Iran nuclear agreement, relations with China and the Syria conflict,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, said.
"We're all hoping the American vice president will give a statement on all of these questions that we in the past weeks have wondered: 'What does America under Trump really want?'" he said.
Merkel, whose views on many of the main issues differ significantly from those expressed by Trump, plans to address the conference on Saturday.
On the sidelines, representatives from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France are supposed to hold a meeting of the so-called "Normandy group" to talk about the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
US Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of Trump's Russia policies, is among more than a dozen American representatives expected to attend as part of a U.S. congressional delegation.