IRAQ/ISIS – PM Haider al-Abadi said over the weekend that his forces have driven the last remnants of Islamic State from the country and that its war against the group is over.

RUSSIA/LNG – President Putin has attended the inaugural shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Yamal LNG plant, located north of the Arctic Circle. This is part of a $27 billion project between Russian, French and Chinese companies.

ARAB LEAGUE/ISRAEL – An emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo issued a scathing criticism of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders said they would not meet VP Mike Pence when he visits the region this month.

COMING UP

Another big Brexit week coming up – first the ‘Sherpas’ or the senior diplomats who do the heavy lifting sit down again in Brussels to work out the structure of details of the next phase of Brexit talks. The following day the EU foreign ministers meet, again in Brussels and their approval of last Friday’s agreement is required for the next phase to go ahead. On the same day the UK parliament meets to debate the EU Withdrawal Bill which is supposed to ‘copy and paste’ most EU legislation into UK law before the long post Brexit period of rewriting laws deemed necessary to change. Finally, we get the EU Head of Government Summit on Thurs/Fri at which the leaders are expected to approve moving the Brexit talks to stage 2. But then again, a week is a long time in politics…

We can expect the anti-Israeli/Trump activities to continue following Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week. These will mostly be demonstrations, but stabbings, shootings, and cars ramming people cannot be ruled out.

DIARY

Mon –  Uber expected to launch legal appeal against London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to remove its London operating license.

Mon –  EU and UK diplomats meet in Brussels ahead of Foreign Ministers meeting tomorrow

Mon –  EU foreign minsters meet Israeli PM Netanyahu, Trump’s Jerusalem decision and Iran on the agenda.

Mon –  Foreign Mins from Russia, India, and China meet in New Delhi.

Tues – Election for Senator for Alabama. Republican evangelical Judge Moore was favourite – he now has a string of sexual misbehaviour allegations hanging over him. President Trump backs him.

Tues – EU Foreign Ministers and the EU Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier meet in Brussels.

Tues – UK Parliament debates EU Withdrawal Bill.

Tues  – Foreign Secretaries of Japan, Australia and India meet in New Delhi to discuss issues inc freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Weds – Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meets in Istanbul to discuss Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

Weds –  S Korean President Moon Jae-in in Beijing to see President Xi for 4 day visit.

Thurs –  President Putin gives his annual Kremlin press conference.

Thurs – 1st day of EU Heads of Government summit in Brussels.

Fri-   2nd day of EU Heads of Gov meeting.

Sat –  S Africa’s ruling ANC party opens 5-day annual conference. New leader expected to be elected

Sun –  2nd round of election in Chile to replace President Michelle Bachelet.

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