Concil on Foreign Relations: Daily Brief July 22, 2022

Daily News BriefJuly 22, 2022

Image Daily News BriefJuly 22, 2022

Top of the Agenda

Russia, Ukraine Expected to Sign Deal to Unblock Ukrainian Grain ExportsRussia and Ukraine are expected to formally agree today (Reuters) to allow Ukrainian grain shipments to leave Black Sea ports that Russian forces had blocked since February, possibly easing a grave global food crisis. The deal was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations and is set to be signed in Istanbul.

The deal is expected to release some twenty-two million tons (FT) of wheat, corn, and other grains held up by Russia, easing pressures on global food prices and supply. In East Africa, which obtains about 90 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, an estimated twenty million people are on track to go hungry (Axios) by September if they do not receive emergency aid, the International Rescue Committee warned this week. 
Analysis“A key sticking point [in the talks over a grain deal] has been the inspection of vessels and cargo. Russia has demanded that it alone carry out inspections to make sure that ships are exporting only grain and not returning with weapons to Ukraine,” write Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Michael Shwirtz of The New York Times
“[Ukraine has] felt a sense of growing urgency to strike a deal in order to release grain silos since this year’s harvest has already begun,” write the Financial Times’s Laura Pitel, Max Seddon, and Henry Foy. This In Brief looks at how Russia’s war in Ukraine affects food insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa.  At this CFR event, the United Nations World Food Program’s Executive Director David Beasley discusses the global food crisis.
Pacific Rim

Japan Warns On Russia, Taiwan in Defense DocumentThe latest version of Japan’s defense white paper devoted a new article (Asahi) to warnings about Russian-Chinese cooperation and doubled the space it devoted to Taiwan in its section about competition between the United States and China. For the Asia Unbound blog, CFR’s David Sacks writes that adjusting Japan’s relationship to Taiwan was one of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most significant legacies.

 Papua New Guinea: Dozens of people have been reported killed (EFE) in a spate of violence during parliamentary elections that end today, a United Nations envoy said.
South and Central Asia

India Elects First Tribal Woman as PresidentDroupadi Murmu was backed by India’s ruling party (Indian Express), the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. While the president holds limited powers compared to the prime minister, her election occurs at a moment when the BJP has been trying to expand (WaPo) its voter base beyond upper-caste Hindus. 

Sri Lanka: During a pre-dawn raid, soldiers and police pulled down tents (CNN) at the main anti-government protest camp in the capital of Colombo as tensions persist over a severe economic crisis. At least nine people were arrested.
Middle East and North Africa

Russia, Saudi Arabia Discuss Oil CooperationRussian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed “the importance of reinforcing cooperation” (Reuters) among OPEC+, which consists of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its oil-producing allies, the Kremlin said. 

Israel/Syria: Syria’s defense ministry blamed Israel for an air strike that it said killed three Syrian soldiers (AFP) and wounded seven others near Damascus. Israel has not commented.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Russian Foreign Minister to Begin Five-Day Visit to AfricaOn Sunday, Sergey Lavrov begins a tour (Globe and Mail) across the continent that will include stops in Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia, and the Republic of Congo.  For Foreign Affairs, Samuel Ramani discusses Russia’s big plans for Africa

Somalia: Militants from the terrorist group Al-Shabab carried out a rare attack (Reuters) near the country’s border with Ethiopia, killing seventeen people, an Ethiopian security official said.

Portugal, Spain Push Back Against EU Proposal to Cut Gas UsePortugal’s energy secretary called the European Union (EU) proposal (FT) to slash gas use by fifteen percent “a disproportionate sacrifice on which we were not even asked for a prior opinion.” Tensions in the bloc persist as Russia considers a request by Hungary to buy more Russian gas.

Staff of Nicaraguan Newspaper Flees Country Amid ThreatsLa Prensa, one of the country’s leading national newspapers, said the staff was forced to flee (AP) after authorities arrested two of its employees following their coverage of the government’s expulsion of a charity.

Uruguay: Uruguay refused to sign a joint statement (MercoPress) at the summit meeting of customs union Mercosur over objections to its lack of openness to trade deals with other countries outside the trade bloc. This Backgrounder looks at Mercosur.
United States

Testimony: Trump Refused to Dissuade Capitol RiotersFor hours, former U.S. President Donald Trump watched television coverage (WSJ) of rioters breaching the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, while ignoring pleas from family, staff, and friends to tell them to stop, witnesses told a congressional probe of the day’s events.
Friday Editor’s PickThe Washington Post looks at the lessons to be learned from trees that have stood for more than a thousand years but are being killed off by climate change.
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