Jack Merlin Watling, 9 February 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
INTERNATIONAL: Merkel and Obama try to resolve split over Ukraine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits US President Barack Obama to try and find a unified strategy to calm the situation in Ukraine. The White House wants to send "defensive weapons" to the Kiev government, but European leaders are against the idea, saying it would only enflame tensions.
EGYPT: Football fans count the cost of a night of violence. The country's top justice official has ordered an inquiry after 40 were killed in chaos at a football stadium in Cairo. Football fans have accused the authorities and Zamalek Football Club's chairman of orchestrating a pre-meditated massacre.
MONDAY, 9 FEBRUARY
YEMEN: UN convenes talks following Houthi coup. International envoy Jamal Benomar said all the country's political parties will attend the national dialogue to resolve the country's deepening crisis after the Zaidi Shi'ite militia seized power over the weekend. The UN Security Council will meet Friday in New York to debate an international reaction.
TURKEY: G20 finance ministers and central bankers meet in Istanbul (until 10th). They’ll discuss reviving global growth and how to avoid another euro crisis triggered by the Greek government’s insistence on debt relief. International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Christine Lagarde has urged leaders to focus on boosting growth and stepping up the pace of structural reform and investment.
BRITAIN: Church of England’s General Synod meets in London. The twice-annual gathering of Anglican leaders will likely discuss falling church attendance, the ongoing debate over gay ordination and the ethical issues surrounding so-called “three-person embryos.”
SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town hosts Africa’s top mining conference. The annual “Investing in African Mining Indaba” brings together the most influential investors and policy-makers on African extractive industries. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is a keynote speech.
EGYPT: Vladimir Putin and Abdelfattah al-Sisi talk security. The Russian President’s visit comes as Egypt tackles jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, and Putin will be keen to show highlight his role in battling Islamist extremism. Last August Sisi sealed a preliminary deal for Cairo to buy arms worth $3.5 billion from Moscow, amid tensions with Egypt’s main backers in the United States.
TUESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY
FRANCE: (Paris) Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces cross-examination on pimping charge. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, who was a prominent political figure in France but fell from grace after being accused of sexual assault in New York, faces charges of “aggravated pimping in an organised group”.
COLOMBIA/CUBA: Official report released on latest round of talks between FARC and the Colombian government. The leftist guerrilla group and the government began their 32nd round of talks aimed at ending the conflict on 2 February in Havana. They have already reached agreement on political participation and agrarian reform, but remain at odds over disarmament.
SAUDI ARABIA: Prince Charles visits Saudi Arabia during Middle East tour. The visit follows fierce criticism of British politicians mourning the death of King Abdullah and reported reluctance by the Prince to promote British arms, according to a recent biography.
WEDNESDAY 11 FEBRUARY
UKRAINE / BELARUS: More Ukraine talks in Minsk. The leaders of Russia, France and Germany meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. They’ll be trying to reach a “swift and unconditional ceasefire,” according to a statement on Poroshenko's website, despite pro-Russian rebel advances in recent days.
BELGIUM: Verdicts expected in trial of 46 suspected militant recruiters for Syrian Islamists. The suspects belong to Sharia4Belgium, a group seeking to turn Belgium into an Islamic State and actively recruiting among Muslims to join IS and other groups in Syria. This trial is the largest legal action against extremist recruiters to date.
YEMEN / UN: Security Council meets to debate disintegration in Yemen. The UN’s envoy Jamal Benomar returned to Sanaa on Saturday for crisis talks with all the main political factions. Security Council members will have to decide whether to treat the Houthi militia’s dissolusion of parliament last week as a coup, and what to do about it.
Editing by Paul Raymond.