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Top security and defense officials meet in Munich

February 3, 2012
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BERLIN—The world's top security and defense officials are gathering in Munich, with uncertainty over the future of the Middle East and the implications of the financial crisis in Europe looming large.

The Munich Security Conference begins Friday with officials from more than 70 countries expected to include U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

It comes as Western diplomats try to overcome Russian objections to a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at halting the violence in Syria.

Wider uncertainty over the direction of the Middle East after a year of turmoil will be addressed by the prime ministers of Qatar and Tunisia, and the foreign ministers of Egypt and Turkey.

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