GERMANY/USA – Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet President Trump in the USA on March 14th.  It will be their first official meeting.  President Trump will be in Germany in July for a G-20 summit.

IRAQ/MOSUL – Iraqi forces have now pushed deeper into western Mosul in their battle to wrest control of the city from ISIS. They have advanced toward the old center of the city from the south and southwest.

RUSSIA/UK – The UK Foreign Office says that Foreign Sec Boris Johnson ‘has accepted an invitation from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Moscow in the coming weeks’.  It also says the visit is consistent with the UK’s ‘engage but beware’ policy towards Russia.

CHINA/ECONOMY – The Chinese growth target for this year has been cut to around 6.5 % according to Premier Li Keqiang. China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in 26 years last year.

COMING UP

The Commonwealth meeting of trade ministers in London on Thursday and Friday is interesting; There are 52 members of the Commonwealth and the UK is keen to see how many of the old trade links can be revived ahead of leaving the EU. Australia has already signaled interest in new deals. New Zealand and India will be courted heavily. Theoretically the UK cannot negotiate until after Brexit.

DIARY

Mar 6th – Leaders of France, Italy, Spain, and Germany meet at Palace of Versailles to discuss reforming EU structures.

Mar 6th –  U.S. Customs and Border Protection begins accepting bids for construction of a Mexico border wall.

Mar 6th – 60th anniversary of Ghanian independence.

Mar 7th – European Court of Justice hearing; Syrian family taking Belgium to court for refusing them entry despite them having a humanitarian entry visa obtained in Lebanon.

Mar 7th – UK House of Lords debates another amendment to the Brexit bill giving Parliament a decisive vote on the deal negotiated with the EU.

Mar 8th – UK Budget Day.

Mar 9th/10th – Turkey’s President Erdogan back in Moscow to see his new pretened best friend Vladimir Putin.

Mar 9th –  South Korean court begins hearings in the trial of Samsung boss Jay Y. Lee.

Mar 9/10th – EU heads of Gov meet to discuss results of the Versailles meeting. (see above)

Mar 9th/10th – Commonwealth trade ministers inaugural meeting in London. UK keen to gauge possibilities of reviving trade links due to potential loss of trade with EU after Brexit.

Mar 11/12th – Dubai.  World Drone Prix.  $250,000 for the winner!

Mar 12th – Saudi’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Japan until 15th. Will meet Emperor Akihito and PM Abe.

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