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ALEXEI NAVALNY MOVED TO NOTORIOUS MAXIMUM-SECURITY PRISON: The jailed Russian opposition leader’s attorneys reported him missing from his previous penal colony Tuesday. He may now have been transferred to a prison known as IK-6, which is reported to be a site of widespread torture and abuse, according to Sergey Yazhan, a prison monitor.
WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN GENEVA EXTENDED: There are no finalized deals yet, leading to the WTO extending the conference until 3 p.m. Thursday local time. The issue closest to the consensus needed for a deal: a declaration on food security and a decision to guarantee World Food Programme purchases. There’s also still hope for pandemic response measures, including an intellectual property rights waiver system for vaccines.
CHINA’S NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR MILITARY PROTECTION OF FOREIGN INTERESTS: The Chinese government has issued an order, in effect from today, that frames how it will conduct “military operations other than war” to defend its interests around the world. The U.S. has a similar legal framework.
Beijing is giving itself a domestic legal basis (or fig leaf) for deploying the People’s Liberation Army outside of China, notionally to protect Chinese interests and assets in the event of violence or war in a given country, or to assist in the event of a natural or humanitarian disaster. The question, of course, is how the defense of Chinese interests is interpreted.
MONKEYPOX TO BE RENAMED: The WHO will rename monkeypox with a neutral designation, after a group of scientists complained about an “increasing narrative in the media and among many scientists that are trying to link the present global outbreak to Africa or West Africa, or Nigeria,” leading to stigmatization and racism concerns.
CHINA — BIDEN AND XI PREPARE TO TALK: When White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi talk, “it usually means one thing: Their bosses are preparing to pow-wow,” Jenni Marsh notes. They talked for more than four hours Monday, on the heels of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s meeting his Chinese counterpart Saturday. So we can safely assume the leaders will follow with a phone call.
The White House saw the meeting as: “candid, substantive, and productive.”
Xinhua saw the meeting as: a discussion on the South China Sea, war in Ukraine and nukes in North Korea.
U.K. — REFUGEE FLIGHT TO RWANDA CANCELED, NEW HOLE IN CONTROVERSIAL PLAN: Britain’s first planned flight transporting refugees more than 4,000 miles away to Kigali was ultimately canceled on Tuesday night. After an 11th-hour intervention from the European Court of Human Rights, passengers were pulled from the plane one-by-one minutes before scheduled take-off.
Now a growing conflict between Rwanda and neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo imperils Boris Johnson’s argument that Rwanda is a safe place to send refugees Britain doesn’t want.
Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who won a the prize for his work combating sexual violence in conflict zones, told POLITICO’s Emilio Casalicchio and Barbara Moens that an increasing number of victims were heading to his clinic in eastern Congo and pointed the finger squarely at Kigali. “Rwanda is hoping that everyone will look at the Ukraine war and that it will be left alone here,” he said.
INTERVIEW: COMFORT ERO — PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP
Global Insider caught up with Comfort Ero, an Africa specialist now leading the independent International Crisis Group, at the hip Williamsburg Hotel in New York.
There are 70 or more fragile situations or live conflicts right now. Where are you most worried? “We put a spotlight on forgotten conflicts and look for emerging threats, and for ways to prevent them from escalating. Central Africa Republic, it’s very fragile. The Sahel is deteriorating rapidly: Conflicts in that region are bleeding into one another. Two coups in nine months in Mali, and then Burkina Faso, Chad and then Sudan. Afghanistan.”
What is the International Crisis Group’s ticket into conflict management and prevention talks? “Our reporting. But what you get on paper is (only) 20 percent of the knowledge. I’m overblown by some of the things I hear when I get an analyst in front of me.”
“We talk to anybody who wants to talk to us. It’s not enough for us to talk to Washington, London, Paris, Berlin. You’ve got to talk to Abu Dhabi, Doha, Abuja, Kigali, Addis. When you pick up a Crisis Group report, you will see how we’ve heard your dilemmas. We know we acknowledge all the various sides in the story. But our job is to find pathways to peace, our job is to find solutions. It requires compromise, it requires you to take steps that you may feel uncomfortable with.”
Bright spots: “We should not lose sight of the fact that in the midst of Ukraine, we’re able to pull off two truces. They’re delicate fragile truces in Ethiopia and Yemen, but nonetheless, the international community has managed to secure those for now.”
Yemen, the scene of conflict between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has long been seen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. An initial two-month truce has been extended another two months. President Joe Biden will discuss the U.N.-mediated truce while in Saudi Arabia in mid-July.
The African Union’s role in managing peace: “The AU is under significant scrutiny. There’s sometimes been contradictions in the decisions that they took in Mali contrasting with what happened in Guinea, contrasting what happened in Chad.”
“The very first thing that the African Union should do, keeping in mind its policy of subsidiarity, is to back ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and back the idea of transition.”
Both African and international actors at a crossroads in Sahel: “Each of them brings a certain layer of legitimacy. ECOWAS because it’s from the region and has always been a poster child for African peace and security architecture. The AU because it’s an African continental body. The U.N. is still there.”
“Two coups in Mali was a wake-up call. After a decade or so of a very militarized approach to intervention and stabilization, international players need to ask some serious questions about the investment and give politics a chance. It’s been a hard but necessary lesson.
“The message is: Stay the course in order not to further isolate the juntas. They’re here to stay. The jihadi groups are also nimble and agile, and they’ve been able to respond to several years of different kinds of military pressure, regroup and extend their footprint.”
What’s the megatrend that worries you most? “The worst news that came out of 2021 was not peace and security, it was climate change. The existential crisis of the moment is our planet.”
“For Africa, at the receiving end of the shocks, it hits home as a governance crisis. The headline is climate change, but actually it’s about how countries manage competition over scarce resources.
“Look at Somalia, not only contending with al-Shabab, but also having to contend with drought, but also contend with the fact that al-Shabab has a governance response (to drought and famine), when the government itself is unable to find an effective response. In South Sudan, a drought in one part of the country and floods in another part of the country force civilians to migrate. In Sahel, it’s about navigating, managing competition over the use of land.”
“I think one of the big frustrations for a number of African countries is that you (the West) are forcing us to choose sides on Russia, but where were you on the issue of climate financing?”
African governments want to avoid a new Cold War, not punish Ukraine: Ero pushed back on suggestions that the global South is anti-Ukraine — “it’s a lot more complex than that” — saying that backing the West on sanctions or at the U.N. is “not a cost-free choice.”
“We have economic shocks, commodity shocks, coming on top of pandemic shocks, in countries that often happen to be conflict-affected. (So you get) a narrative from a number of global south countries that says, ‘well, it’s as a consequence of your sanctions.’”
“Saying Africa is not sympathetic is a gross misreading of the delicate dance that a number of these countries are having to play. This (standoff) is also a spotlight on the West’s engagement with the global South — countries responding to decades of contradictions, double standards.”
Ukraine effects on other conflicts: “What really worries me now is making sure that everybody understands how one crisis in one part of the world has dramatic rippling effects. When the head of WFP tells you that he doesn’t have enough money to deal with the humanitarian crisis, we should be really worried about this.”
“There should also be a deep level of scrutiny, because it’s not as though we didn’t see this coming. There’s been an eight-year lead time: So why wasn’t there a more significant investment in preventative diplomacy? Instead we have a failure of deterrence.”
Further reading: Sudan has been on a trajectory of potential state collapse since a military coup last year, which ended the country’s internationally brokered, civilian-led transition. CSIS senior associate Cameron Hudson argues that U.S disregard of Sudan’s failed democratic transition poses a significant threat for America and its allies and outlines potential tools of engagement to ensure peaceful democratization and stabilized security in the region.
TAX — U.S. MULTINATIONAL IMPACTS FROM GLOBAL CORPORATE TAX DEAL: Despite years of high-level global debate and nearly 140 countries in the process of planning the details of a new global minimum corporate tax policy, relatively little has been published about how this would affect U.S. multinational companies. A new publication from NYU’s Tax Law Center and The Hamilton Project at Brookings finds that U.S. multinationals paid an effective worldwide cash tax rate of 8.8 percent in 2018 and continue to shift profit to lower-tax countries.
Those facts point to one of two outcomes when the 15 percent global tax deal is implemented in practice, say the report authors Wendy Edelberg, Chye-Ching Huang and Rose Jenkins: either U.S. companies will be at risk of coordinated campaigns from foreign governments to lift their tax payments (if the U.S. doesn’t ratify involvement in the global deal) or the U.S. government participates, enforcing a level playing field and collecting more tax revenue for itself.
ABORTION — GLOBAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES FEAR ROE V. WADE FALLOUT: Abortion-rights advocates from around the world have met with congressional, USAID, Department of Health and Human Services and State Department leaders to discuss worries that their countries will be next to see more restrictions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, and that U.S. policy on funding. Reproductive rights abroad will also be impacted. More from Daniel Payne.
SANCTIONS — 93 NICARAGUANS SLAPPED WITH VISA BANS: The sanctioned individuals are “believed to have undermined democracy following Daniel Ortega’s illegitimate November 2021 reelection, including judges, prosecutors, National Assembly Members, and Interior Ministry officials,” per a State Department note, which did not name the individuals.
FRANCE DETAILS ITS EU HALFWAY HOUSE PLAN FOR UKRAINE: The “European Political Community” floated by President Emmanuel Macron will be discussed by EU ambassadors today. The French memo was obtained by POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.
The discussion comes as the bloc’s leaders prepare to consider granting Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia EU candidate status at a European Council summit next week.
Macron’s proposal is essential to give Ukraine an immediate boost and seal of approval from the EU, but without any formal step toward membership. For example, the U.K. could also choose to join the community because it shares “a common set of democratic values” with the EU, though it has no intention of rejoining the bloc.
Reality check: While France is right to argue that Ukraine needs something more than a 10-year EU membership negotiation, there’s nothing stopping EU countries bringing them into a new political community and starting membership negotiations at the same time.
PM claims Albania will be blocked: Prime Minister Edi Ramatold POLITICO’s Louise Guillot that he doesn’t expect next week’s EU summit to clear the way for his country to begin EU membership talks, blaming Bulgaria. “I think nothing will happen. Albania and North Macedonia will not formally open talks to have accession,” he said.
POLL — EUROPE IS LOSING VOTER UNITY ON UKRAINE: A new poll from the European Council on Foreign Relations finds a growing gap between the voters more interested in peace in Ukraine and those who want the peace to come with justice.
While three in four Europeans blame Russia for the conflict, and majorities everywhere support cutting ties with Moscow — including oil and gas bans — Europeans also aren’t happy to support long-term price hikes, big defense spending increases or to entertain nuclear risks of direct engagement between NATO and Russian forces
The peace, justice and swing voter camps in Europe: Thirty-five percent are in the “Peace” camp, and 22 percent are in the “Justice” camp. Another 20 percent can be considered swing voters — unable to choose between the peace and justice imperatives. Italians are the biggest peaceniks: Fifty-two percent identify that way. Poles are the biggest justice advocates, 41 percent are in that camp.
Overall, most Europeans are willing to accept territorial losses for Ukraine.
“If badly handled the gap between the ‘peace camp’ and the ‘justice camp’ over Ukraine could be as damaging as that between creditors and debtors during the euro crisis,” said ECFR director Mark Leonard.
ECFR surveyed 10 European countries: Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and U.K.
Read ECFR’s report based on the polling findings: Peace versus Justice: The coming European split over the war in Ukraine
GOODBYE, MICHELLE BACHELET: The United Nations’ top human rights official is stepping down at the end of her term, rather than seeking reappointment. Bachelet announced her decision Monday, which many linked to her much delayed and widely panned visit to China, supposedly to grill authorities over the treatment of China’s Uyghur minority, but during which she offered little pushback to Beijing’s preferred narratives.
EXIT INTERVIEW: POLITICO’s Karl Mathiesen spoke to the outgoing U.N. climate chief, Patricia Espinosa. Her biggest fear? A second Trump term.
11 BEST ROOFTOP BARS IN WASHINGTON, from Condé Nast Traveler.
The person who pieced together the murder of God’s banker — Angela Gallop on London’s most mysterious killing.
“Why War Fails,” by Lawrence Freedman, on Putin Ukraine misadventures as a “case study in a failure of supreme command,” chiefly because “it is hard to command forces to act in support of a delusion.”
Thanks to editor John Yearwood, Phelim Kine, Stuart Lau, Karl Mathiesen and producer Hannah Farrow.
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