File - In this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 photo, refugees and migrants disembark on a beach after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
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That was a central message from this year's Munich Security Conference, an annual event where leaders and diplomats from Europe, the Middle East and the United States gather to debate the world's problems. It ended Sunday on a far gloomier note than it started – with doubts being cast over a fledgling truce plan for Syria, with Russia defiant and confrontational, and Berlin struggling to win over European allies in the refugee crisis.On the eve of the conference, a meeting of major powers hosted by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria, providing a glimmer of hope in a five-year war that has killed at least 250,000 people.In a setback for Merkel, Valls also rejected the idea of a permanent mechanism for distributing refugees across Europe, a crucial plank of the German leader's push to convince Turkey to cooperate in stemming the flow of migrants.The messages suggest that Merkel, whose popularity ratings have slid over her refugee policies ahead of three important state elections next month, may struggle to put together a convincing "coalition of the willing" in Europe to help her in the crisis.
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