Jack Merlin Watling - 11 May 2015
ONES TO WATCH
POLAND: Presidential election expected to move to second-round run off. President Bronislaw Komorowski failed to gain over 50% of the vote according to an exit poll on Sunday and must now face a run-off with his conservative rival. The failure has been blamed on a complacent and lacklustre campaign, but is nevertheless a surprise given strong economic growth through Komorowski’s term.
GREECE: Progress over bailout negotiations as IMF payment looms. Greece and the EU have signalled that expectations are high for a deal after weeks of deadlock. If a deal is not reached Greece will face loan repayments to the IMF beginning with over €700 million on Tuesday.
USA: Health fears for Jimmy Carter. The 90 year old former US President cut short an election monitoring trip to Guyana for treatment in Atlanta. The Guyana election is the hundredth that the Carter Centre has monitored and a significant engagement for him to pull out of.
MACEDONIA: Fear of ethnic violence amid political crisis and shootout with police. Although Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stressed that the attackers were not part of Macedonia’s Albanian minority, many fear that the country’s political crisis could lead to ethnic tensions after the government and opposition accused each other of trying to destabilise the country. Eight police officers were killed alongside fourteen gunmen in a shootout in Kumanov.
MONDAY 11 MAY 2015
CUBA: First visit by French head of state. This will also be the first visit by a Western leader to the country since a rapprochement between the US and Cuba in December. It is expected that President Hollande will push for improving trade relations between Cuba and the EU as part of a regional strategy to expand trade with South America.
GEORGIA: US forces conduct joint exercises with Georgia. Russia has shown discomfort at US ‘Noble Partner’ drills to be held for two weeks near Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi. Although US-Georgian military co-operation began in Afghanistan before Georgia's five day war with Russia, the drills are a source of tension and involve the deployment of US armoured and airborne units to the country.
GUYANA: General election. The poll has been called over a year early after President Ramotar of the People’s Progressive Party was forced to suspend parliament in order of to avoid a vote of no-confidence.
TUESDAY 12 MAY 2015
IRAQ: President Fuad Masum to visit Iran. Iran has supplied Baghdad with equipment and military advisors during its offensive against the Islamic State and President Masum has expressed an interest in strengthening security and economic cooperation.
YEMEN: Five day humanitarian ceasefire scheduled to begin. Houthi representatives have responded positively to an offer from Saudi Arabia of a five day humanitarian ceasefire after aid agencies were forced to withdraw. Few expect it to last however as southern separatist fighters have not declared their position and Saudi Arabia has threatened a zero-tolerance policy on violations. Moreover Saudi bombing of infrastructure renders the delivery of aid exceedingly difficult.
WEDNESDAY 13 MAY 2015
TURKEY: NATO Foreign Ministers meet in Antalya. Discussions are to centre on the Islamic State and wider a-symmetric militancy as well as tensions with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Partner nations are also attending.
GERMANY: Petro Poroshenko meets with Angela Merkel. President Putin has signalled that he believes progress is being made in bringing peace to Eastern Ukraine. European leaders remain sceptical and are continuing to strengthen military cooperation with US forces training Ukrainian troops.
US: Leaders of the GCC will arrive in Washington for talks. The talks will cover the situation in Yemen, Syria and the position of Iran in the region. The US will seek to reassure its allies over the P5+1 Nuclear Deal.