US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will not attend the Munich Security Conference in February. Some say the cancellation is likely due to a war crimes complaint against him that was filed in a German court.
The head of the security conference, Horst Teltschik, said in Friday's edition of the Münchner Abendzeitung newspaper that Rumsfeld will instead send the number three official at the Pentagon, Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy.
"This will disappoint many people in Europe, because there is a real need for discussions about the Iran crisis," Teltschik told AFP.
Rumsfeld has excused himself from the high-profile talks on international defense policy claiming prior commitments. However, some have speculated that his decision not to attend the meeting was influenced by a complaint filed against him by a New York-based human rights group, the Center for Constitutional Rights.
In December, the group filed a complaint with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld, accusing him of war crimes and torture due to his involvement in the war in Iraq.
The defense secretary later sent a message to the German government through the US embassy in Berlin that he would not attend the Munich meeting if there is a chance a case will be launched against him in Germany. However, when he informed the German government he would not take part in the conference, he did not refer to the charges filed against him.Among the participants expected to attend the February 11 to 13 meeting of security experts from around the world are UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German President Horst Köhler and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Teltschik said that many US senators were expected to be in attendance.
Strong construction activity in January boosted German industrial output to the highest monthly level since 2011. The latest data suggest that a routine spring upswing in the economy has come earlier and is stronger.
After Carnival some people sacrifice something until Easter. Lisa Teuber and Lena Jahnke decided to give up up plastic bags - and to publicly promote their dangers. DW's Natalie Muller met with the pair.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned drastic steps could be taken to censor social media websites like Facebook and YouTube. However the country's president has said such a ban is "out of the question."
China’s government has for the first time ignored a call for help by a company unable to pay interests on its debt. Beijing’s decision to allow Chaori Solar default is a sign of a stronger role granted to market forces.