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Munich conference brings key players together amid questions over Syria, Ukraine, Iran


United States' Secretary Of State John Kerry arrives at the Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Kerry will meet with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to his trip to Munich for the Security Conference. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool) (The Associated Press)

Top diplomats and defense officials are converging on Munich for a security conference renowned as a venue for backroom diplomacy and negotiations, with several international crises in the spotlight.

U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi was arriving hours after eight days of bitter negotiations between Syria's warring sides concluded in Geneva without tangible results. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, whose country has been a key supporter of the Syrian regime, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as well as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also are expected in Munich.

Kerry plans to meet Ukrainian opposition leaders at the conference, which Ukraine's foreign minister also is to attend. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif joins the meeting Sunday to address questions about his country's nuclear program.