Germany should take a greater military role in the fight against Islamic State, diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger said ahead of the Munich Security Conference, where foreign policy and defence officials will meet from Friday to discuss global crises.

"It would be better if Germany acted with more confidence," said Ischinger, who chairs the three-day conference that brings together more than 30 heads of state and government and 60 foreign and defence ministers in the Bavarian capital.

"If the Danes, the Brits and the French can do it, so can we," he said in reference to a US-led air campaign against the extremist group in Syria and Iraq which includes over a dozen countries.

Germany, one of Europe's least militaristic nations, decided against flying airstrikes and instead sent just a naval frigate and Tornado reconnaissance jets to Syria in support of the French air campaign in November.

Fresh impetus for a durable end to the Syrian conflict, implementation of the Minsk agreement in Ukraine and a joint strategy to end political upheaval in Libya are among the desired outcomes of the conference, said Ischinger, 69, a former German ambassador.  

Another goal is to coordinate efforts to overcome Boko Haram, a jihadist militant group that has terrorized Nigeria and its neighbours.

Ischinger was speaking to dpa on Thursday, just hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and UN envoy Staffan de Mistura announced a partial truce in Syria to take effect in one week's time.

The announcement of a "cessation of hostilities," which excludes military efforts to defeat the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front Islamist militias, came after nearly six hours of negotiations between the three diplomats and European and Middle Eastern foreign ministers in Munich.

Ischinger said that a greater degree of coordination between Washington and Moscow was required in order to bring about a durable end to the war, now in its fifth year.

"One would have to place all troops under a single command - one general would have to be put in charge to make sure there are no crossed wires," he said. "That has been missing thus far."

The 52nd edition of the Munich Security Conference was to be inaugurated by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Friday. Aside from the conflict in Syria, delegates were to discuss the fight against international terrorism, the refugee crisis and the future of the NATO alliance.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.