Foreign Minister Abulla Shahid has arrived in Japan to participate in the Munich Leaders Meeting, being held in Tokyo from May 14-16, 2023.

Organized by the prestigious Munich Security Conference, the Munich Leaders Meeting is a unique 24-hour off-the-record gathering that travels to different capitals across the globe. Formerly known as Core Group Meetings, these sessions have been held once or twice a year since 2009. The goal of this exclusive event is to bring together a select group of up to 50 participants to discuss pressing foreign and security policy challenges, with a special focus on a specific regional context.

In collaboration with the Government of Japan, this year’s inaugural meeting promises high-level roundtable discussions with specific thematic focuses, all held under the famous Chatham House rules. The Chatham House Rule, updated in 2002, ensures that while participants are free to use the shared information, they must maintain strict confidentiality regarding the identity and affiliation of the speakers and other attendees.

The previous session of the Munich Leaders Meeting took place in November 2022 in Bucharest, coinciding with the NATO ministerial meeting. Attended by approximately 80 distinguished decision-makers and senior experts, including heads of state, government officials, cabinet ministers, and parliament members, the Bucharest discussions centered around the regional challenges arising from Russia’s aggressive actions in Southeastern Europe, often referred to as the “Dark Clouds Over the Black Sea.” These insightful conversations also delved into the broader implications for the European security architecture, addressing critical questions about security guarantees for nations like Ukraine and Moldova. Furthermore, the participants examined the global consequences of the conflict, such as soaring food and energy prices, as well as the growing polarization among major powers, which hampers cooperation across various domains.

The Bucharest session yielded an extensive array of proposals for collaborative transatlantic action. The proposals encompassed formalizing the NATO-Ukraine dialogue, offering security guarantees to vulnerable countries like Ukraine and Moldova against Russian coercion, and bolstering support for Ukraine’s vital agricultural sector. These action items have been incorporated into the comprehensive “transatlantic to-do list,” initially compiled during the Munich Leaders Meeting in Washington, DC in May. Subsequent updates were made based on other MSC events, including the European Defense Roundtable in Paris, the Energy Security Roundtable at the ONS Summit in Stavanger, and several COP-related gatherings in Sharm El Sheikh.

In addition to his active involvement in the Munich Leaders Meeting, Minister Shahid is also scheduled to meet with his Japanese counterpart Hayashi Yoshimasa and various other ministers attending the meeting.