SYRIA/S-300  –  A top Kremlin aide has said the Russian government is not in talks to sell S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria. The announcement follows the visit to Moscow by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

N KOREA/NUKES – N Korea says it plans to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23 and 25 depending on weather conditions. Tunnels will be blown up and buildings removed. Foreign journalists are invited. Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump is scheduled for  June 12 in Singapore.

COMING UP

There’s likely to be a lot of activity in the Israel region. Today sees the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem which could spark protests from Palestinians and other Arabs who refuse to accept Israel’s declaration that the city is its capital. The U.S deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is there and there may be a video address by President Trump. There is march by Israeli right wingers through Palestinian streets in East Jerusalem. Then tomorrow the Palestinians mark ‘Nakba’ day – marking the 70th anniversary of what they call the catastrophe of the formation of the state of Israel. Tuesday is also the beginning of Ramadan. The Palestinian protests may well continue until Friday when more trouble can be expected on the Gaza border, and possibly in Jerusalem following midday prayers. This all plays out against the backdrop of the recent rise in tensions between Israel and Iran. The latter partially bank rolls Hamas which rules in Gaza.

The Iranian foreign minister Zarif has a busy Tuesday. He sees Russia’s Lavrov before moving on for talks with the EU foreign policy chief and the foreign ministers of UK, Germany and France as they all try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

The Chinese vice premier Liu He may be in Washington this week to discuss trade issues, but continued trade disagreements and the threat of a trade war could delay the visit.

Jerusalem/Al Quds

DIARY

Mon – U.S. Embassy in Israel moves to Jerusalem.

Mon –  Turkey’s President Erdogan in London for 2-day visit. Will meet PM May and Queen Elizabeth II.

Mon –  Italy’s President Mattarella expected to hold consultations with Five Star Movement and the League about formation of a new government.

Mon – Armenia’s new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets President Putin in Sochi.

Tues – Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif meets Russian FM Lavrov in Moscow.

Tues – EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, meets foreign ministers of Germany, France and the UK to discuss Iran; they will later meet with Iran’s foreign minister.

Tues – The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins.

Tues – Palestinians mark the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba ‘Catastrophe’.

Tues – Russian Duma reviews counter-sanctions bill against the USA.

Tues – Latest talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan re the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Tues – Philippine’s President Duterte visits Benham Rise to assert country’s rights over the undersea region which China has recently ‘explored’.

Thurs – Deadline for NAFTA deal to go to U.S. Congress if it is to be considered this year.

Fri –  Chancellor Merkel meets President Putin in Sochi.

Sun –  Turkey’s President Erdogan visits Bosnia.

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