Key Storylines

  • AFRICA:  Leaders from the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) are beginning a two-day summit in Brussels to strengthen relations.
  • AMERICAS: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is meeting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a day after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • ASIA: The Australian government reported “significant progress” in its bid to acquire nuclear submarines following talks with the United Kingdom.
  • EUROPE: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will travel “as soon as possible” to Moscow after an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri reported that the Vienna talks to restore the 2015 nuclear accord are “closer than ever to an agreement.”
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: The Brazilian Space Agency announced it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Amazon Web Services.

Top Story

  • Global: France to Withdraw Troops From Mali After Nine Years.
    • French President Emmanuel Macron said the country will withdraw troops from Mali after nine years but maintain a military presence in neighboring nations.
    • The French President refuted claims that the withdrawal was an acceptance of failure and insisted that France remains committed to combating Islamist insurgencies in the region.
    • Macron said the withdrawal from Mali will take four to six months, and France will station forces in host nations Burkina Faso and Niger.
    • The UN warned that France’s withdrawal is “bound to impact” its peacekeeping mission in the troubled Sahel state.
    • The announcement was widely expected following pressure from the Malian military junta, and the start of a two-day summit between the African Union and European Union.
    • AP, BBC, WSJ, AFP, EuroNews

Africa

  • Region: Leaders from the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) are beginning a two-day summit in Brussels to strengthen relations. (BBC)
  • Central African Republic: UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres denounced abuses by the armed forces and foreign supporters, an allusion to mercenaries from the Russia-linked Wagner group. (AFP)
  • Liberia: Former interim President Amos Sawyer died at the age of 76. (BBC)
  • Senegal: President Mackey Sall said the fight against Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel cannot be the sole responsibility of African countries. (AFP)
  • Tanzania: Exiled opposition leader Tundu Lissu urged his supporters to work with President Samia Suluhu after their historic meeting in Belgium. (BBC)

Americas

  • Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro is meeting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a day after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)
  • Canada: Police issued an ultimatum to protesters in Ottawa, saying that anyone blocking streets would face arrest and fines. (AFP)
  • Haiti: The international community pledged $600 million to help rebuild the country’s south, where an earthquake killed more than 2,200 people six months ago. (AFP)
  • Mexico: A group of migrants stuck at the southern border began sewing their mouths shut to demand that immigration authorities grant them passage toward the US. (WaPo)
  • Venezuela: A former Venezuelan treasury official convicted in 2018 of accepting more than $1 billion in bribes was released from US prison. (AFP)

Asia

  • Region: Southeast Asian foreign ministers held their annual retreat without their counterpart from military-ruled Myanmar, who was blackballed from participating but allowed to attend online as an observer. (AP)
  • Australia: The government reported “significant progress” in its bid to acquire nuclear submarines following talks with the United Kingdom. (AFP)
  • Myanmar: A special Southeast Asian envoy to the country’s crisis said he was seeking to visit the country next month and appealed to its military junta to give its blessing for him to talk with a shadow government it has labelled “terrorists.” (Reuters)
  • Singapore: President Halimah Yacob ordered a delay in the execution of two men on death row who are believed to be mentally disabled. (AP)
  • South Korea: The country’s new COVID-19 cases were above 90,000 for the second day in a row, with no signs of subsiding. (Yonhap)

Europe 

  • Albania: The Constitutional Court overturned parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for inciting instability and showing bias before the country’s parliamentary election last year. (AP)
  • Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi will travel “as soon as possible” to Moscow after an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)
  • Netherlands: A Study said that the army systematically used “extreme violence” against Indonesian freedom fighters with tacit government support during the 1945-49 Indonesian independence war. (AFP)
  • Russia: The Kremlin announced more troop pullbacks from the Ukrainian border as Washington insisted that Moscow is still building up forces near its neighbor. (AFP)
  • United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced visits to Ukraine and Poland ahead of the G7 meeting at the Munich Security Conference this weekend. (AFP)

Middle East

  • Iran: Lead negotiator Ali Bagheri reported that the Vienna talks to restore the 2015 nuclear accord are “closer than ever to an agreement.” (AFP)
  • Israel: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the country’s COVID-19 vaccination “green pass” system will be suspended as new daily cases continue to decline. (AP)
  • Kuwait: The constitutional court struck down a contentious law used to criminalize transgender people by forbidding the “imitation of the opposite sex.” (AP)
  • Syria: State media reported Israeli shelling on a town south of Damascus, the second such strike this month. (AFP)
  • United Arab Emirates: The country will sign a trade and investment agreement with India during a virtual summit attended by the countries’ two leaders. (Reuters)

Tech & Communications

  • Technology: The Brazilian Space Agency announced it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Amazon Web Services. (Reuters)

World

  • Cyclones: Nothing to Report.
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to Report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to Report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to Report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
    • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global (as of 17FEB22)

Tomorrow’s Outlook (18FEB22) 

  • Global: Munich Security Conference. (to 20FEB)
  • Event: Atlantic Council conversation on U.S.-Russia relations.
  • Belgium: European Union-African Union summit in Brussels.
  • China: Beijing Winter Olympic Games. (to 20FEB)
  • Europe: Joint Russian-Belarusian military drills. (to 20FEB)
  • Indonesia: G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Jakarta.
  • Nepal: National Democracy Day.
  • Russia: Russian Investment Forum in Sochi. (to 19FEB)
  • Russia: President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Belarusian counterpart Aleksander Lukashenko amid Ukraine tensions.
  • Thailand: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Senior Officials’ Meeting in Pattaya. (to 27FEB)
  • The Gambia: Independence Day.
  • United Arab Emirates: US Department of Agriculture trade mission. (to 21FEB)
  • United States: Funding deadline to avert government shutdown.

END