Foreign Minister Baerbock issued the following statement today (18 February) before leaving for the Munich Security Conference:
The Munich Security Conference is an unrivalled international forum for discussing an achievement that we often take for granted but that is being seriously challenged these days: our common security, and in particular our security in Europe.
With an unprecedented build-up of troops along Ukraine’s border, and by making cold-war-era demands, Russia is calling into question the fundamental principles of the European peace order.
Today, I am travelling to Munich for discussions on how we can still respond with a logic of dialogue to the logic of threats of force and military escalation. Especially in the current, extremely dangerous situation, it would have been so important to also have met with Russian representatives in Munich. Russia is indeed missing an opportunity by not taking advantage of this gathering.
We will use the meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers that I have called, as well as the talks of the Quad and the discussions among the countries of the Normandy format that are present, to send a signal of unity – namely that we are prepared to engage in a serious dialogue on security for all. Even incremental steps toward peace are better than big steps toward war.
But we also need Russia to take serious steps toward de-escalation: Declared willingness to engage in talks must be backed up with real offers of dialogue; declared troop withdrawals must be backed up by verifiably pulling troops back, and reaffirmations regarding Minsk must be backed up with a real readiness to engage in negotiations.