IRAN/ARAB NATO – Tehran’s Friday Prayer Leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, has said that the ‘Arab NATO’ alliance praised by Donald Trump last week would be made up of the “servants of the U.S.” Khatami usually says what the Supreme Leader thinks.

IRAN/CASUALITIES – Iranian forces continue to take losses in Syria. The latest to be identified by the Iranian media is Ali Reza Rezaei of the Fatimiyoun Brigade. The Afghans fighting with Iran make up a substantial percentage of the Iranian casualties.

COMING UP

The UK news agenda will probably be dominated by a mixture of the fallout from the Manchester bombing and election campaigning. There may be more arrests, court appearances, details on the wounded, and the national debate about ‘what is to be done’.

In the USA – President Trump may be back home – but he won’t get a warm welcome. The probe into ‘inappropriate’ ties with Russia will continue. It’ll be interesting to see how President Macron deals with the experienced President Putin. The Venezuelan demonstrations look set to go on for yet another week: President Maduro must be hoping they run out of steam.

DIARY

Mon – New French President Emmanuel Macron hosts President Putin at Versailles.

Weds – Foreign Ministers from the Organization of American States meet in Washington to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

Weds – Ireland’s High Court considers if it can hear a Brexit reversibility case. It will probably kick the issue to the European Court of Justice.

Weds – Representatives from all 7 major UK political parties will hold a debate on BBC TV.

Weds – President Trump meets Vietnamese PM Nguyen Phuc in Washington to discuss China and the disputes in the South China Sea and hopes not to stumble over his guests name.

Thurs – President Putin hosts St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Among those attending are UN Sec Gen Guterres, and Indian PM Modi.

Thurs – EU/China summit in Brussels.  European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Prime Minister Li Keqiang all attending.

Thurs – Estonian police will begin carrying teddy bears in their cars to help comfort children caught up in accidents.

Fri – Ireland should get a new Taioseach (PM). Enda Kerry is retiring. Simon Coveny and Leo Varadkar are the main contenders to replace him

Fri – UK PM Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will participate individually and consecutively on a BBC TV ‘Question Time’ programme.

Sat – General Election in Malta.

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