It is called “the Davos of security” – Defence ministers, politicians, select business people and strategy experts have been gathering at the annual Munich conference.
Around 250 guests from more than 40 countries will discuss global security issues including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East conflict, and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes.
The theme of the conference is “peace through dialogue.” The German hosts hope it will encourage a change in thinking away from traditional military concepts of security.
German President Horst Koehler, for example, said in his keynote speech that aid to developing countries was the best way of preventing conflicts.
Like at Davos, though, dissent is never far away. Several thousand demonstrators protested against the summit, saying it was effectively propping up the arms trade and doing little to promote peace.
Another protest is planned for this afternoon.