IRAN/FRANCE – The French were first out of the blocks when most of the sanctions against Iran were lifted last year – it’s paying off. Total SA is set to sign a $5 billion deal to develop the South Pars offshore gas field. Total will take a 50.1% share, China’s National Petroleum Corporation will 30% and Iran Petropars 19.9%.

MEXICO/GANGS – 19 people were killed in a shootout between police and suspected drug cartel gunmen in Sinaloa state.  The state attorney general’s office said armed men attacked police near Mazatlan, and the police fought back with support from federal forces.

QATAR/RUSSIA – President Putin has phoned the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain to call for an end to the dispute between Qatar and other GCC members. So far – so no good.

EU/JAPAN – Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says she’s confident a broad trade agreement between the EU and Japan will be announced by Thurs. The EU is trying to plug the gaps in its budget after the UK leaves the Union.

TAJIKISTAN/IRAN –  Iran has closed its economic and cultural offices in the Tajik city of Khujand after being told to suspend activities by the Tajik government. It’s the latest in a series of crackdowns by Tajikistan. There’s no official explanation but diplomatic relations soured in 2015 when Iran invited a Tajik opposition leader living in exile, to attend the annual “International Islamic Unity Conference” in Tehran.

USA/N KOREA – The Pentagon is to present President Trump with military options for dealing with N Korea in case it nears developing a nuclear weapon that could reach America, according to CNN.

COMING UP

The main event has to be the G20 in Hamburg which looks set fair to become a series of diplomatic rows to the backdrop of revolting demonstrators.  Mrs Merkel may continue her routine as social conscience of the world given that Mr Trump is in town, they will be able to fall out over free trade and climate change. Mr trump gets to see President Putin in person for the first time, despite having repeatedly claimed he’s met him in the past. They will disagree over Syria – it’s just a matter of how publicly they do this.

President Xi will spend the week getting his Peking ducks in a row ahead of G20: He sees Putin and Merkel before even getting to the conference. Once he’s there – so will be tens of thousands of demonstrators.  14,000 police officers are being drafted in.

King, sorry – President Macron has summoned the two houses of the Assemble Nationale to the Palace of Versailles so that they can hear plans for his rule, and to vote on a bill authorizing the government to rule by decree where necessary due to the threat of terrorism. De Gaulle used to pull the Versailles trick and some of the shine may already be coming off Le Macron as the media has been unimpressed with some of his allegedly high handed ways.

DIARY

Mon – China’s President Xi Jinping in Moscow to see President Putin. He stays on for more talks on Tuesday.

Mon – French President Emmanuel Macron has called both houses of the National Assembly to a special session held in the Palace of Versailles.

Chinese National Flag

Mon – Silvio Berlusconi (remember him?) stands trial accused of bribing witnesses to keep shtum about allegations he paid young women for sex. He was acquitted of these charges in 2014.

Weds – India’s President Modi in Tel Aviv en -route to G20. Due to give a speech while there.

Weds – President Xi moves on to Germany to see Mrs Merkel.

Thurs – Day 2 of Xi in Germany.

Tues – If it’s the 4th of July then it must be the famous Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest.  This year American Joey Chestnut is taking on Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi. The record is – 69!

Tues – Syria peace talks reconvene in Kazakhstan sponsored by Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

Thurs – En-route to the G20,

President Trump flies to Warsaw for the ‘Three Seas Initiative’ – which seeks greater co-operation between the nations situated between the Black Sea, Adriatic and Baltic.

Thurs – European Space Agency press conference in the Netherlands to give details of mission to Mercury due to launched Oct 2018.

Thurs – International Criminal Court will deliver decision on whether South Africa’s failure to arrest and extradite Sudan’s leader, Omar Al Bashir, when he was on a visit to the country was a breach of its obligations under international law.

Fri – Last day of last round Cypriot peace talks. Time’s running out.

Fri – Opening day of G20 Summit in Germany.

Sat – Second day of G20.

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