During a visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Berlin on Thursday, Ms Merkel said that while Germany should play a greater role in resolving international conflicts, this did not mean greater deployment of the country's military.
"This is not a matter of more or less military engagement, it's a question of using the political influence of a country like Germany," Ms Merkel said.
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While Mr Gauck's role within the Bundesrepublik is largely symbolic, his call to arms was backed up – albeit in more carefully couched terms – by German's new minister of defence, Ursula von der Leyen on Friday.
Ms von der Leyen, who was appointed in December and is tipped as a potential successor to Ms Merkel, told delegates at the conference that "indifference" was no longer an option for Germany in the face of growing security crises on Europe's borders.
"To sit and wait is not an option," Ms von der Leyen said. "If we have the means, if we have the capabilities, we have the responsibility to engage."
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"This does not mean we should be inclined to make use of the whole spectrum of our military . . . but it does mean that we have the obligation and the responsibility to contribute towards current crises and conflicts."
Calling for Germany to play more of an active military role in the world has been a recurring theme of the annual conference in Munich – which is typically attended by a range of top-level European and American politicians and military chiefs.