Ways to end the wars in Gaza and Ukraine are the main topic of leaders’ deliberations at the 54th World Economic Forum in Davos, starting on Monday. The organizers admit that the geopolitical context of the forum is more difficult today than ever before. This year’s WEO will be under the slogan “rebuilding trust”, which will take place on three levels: trust in the future, within societies and between nations.
Representatives of states and governments, including over 40 foreign ministers, will meet in the Swiss resort in the coming days. The United States will be represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan. They will be the highest-ranking US representatives. Bliken and Sullivan in Davos will join interlocutors who are key to resolving the conflict in the Gaza Strip: the leaders of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel – emphasizes the Reuters agency.
Forum in conditions of mounting tensions
Russia’s war against Ukraine was already the dominant topic during the two previous meetings in Davos. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will also speak at this year’s conference. Russia, which launched its invasion of the neighboring country in February 2022, is not sending its representatives to Davos. Its ally – China – will be represented at the forum by Prime Minister Li Qiang.
The forum organizers emphasize that the participants of this year’s meeting will be the leaders of the Global South countries. The group of non-aligned countries – countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America – mostly remained on the sidelines regarding the war in Ukraine, although they initially condemned Russia, Reuters notes. The agency emphasizes that the forum is taking place in conditions of mounting geopolitical tensions: the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas; the risk to shipping in the Red Sea related to the situation in the Middle East, as well as the growing pressure from China related to Beijing’s claims to control over Taiwan.
The economy will be an important topic of the meeting. This year’s meeting in Davos will be held at a time when companies operate in complex conditions: global economic growth is mediocre, the economies of individual countries are struggling with high interest rates, political threats and the effects of the pandemic – notes Reuters. 530 heads of institutions from the banking, finance, investment and insurance industries come to Davos.
Andrzej Duda is flying to Davos
Poland will be represented at the forum by President Andrzej Duda, who will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on January 16. On the same day, he will speak during the discussion “Foreign Direct Investment in Central and Eastern Europe: Risks and Opportunities”. He will also take part in the opening of an exhibition on Russian war crimes in Ukraine. On January 17, the Polish president will participate in the “Defending Europe’s United Front” discussion. He will conduct interviews, among others: with Vice-President of the European Commission Viera Jourova, the presidents of Croatia, Lithuania and Latvia: Andrej Plenkovic, Gitanas Nauseda and Edgars Rinkeviczs, and with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Meetings with the President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd, the Prime Minister of Moldova Dorin Recean and the President of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam are scheduled for January 18.
The President of Ukraine will travel to Davos on Monday. He will hold bilateral meetings during the forum, but the presidential office in Kiev did not provide details of the planned meetings. During his visit to Switzerland, Zelensky will meet with President Amherd, representatives of parliament and leaders of political parties.
The forum opens on Monday with cultural events. Sessions and deliberations will start on Tuesday. They are grouped around four main themes, regarding, according to the titles, “security and cooperation in a divided world”, “creating economic growth and jobs for a new era”, “artificial intelligence as a leading force in the economy and society” and “long-term strategy for climate, nature and energy. The Davos forum will end on January 19.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON