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SITUATION REPORTMar 8, 2021 | 20:40 GMT
Afghanistan: U.S. Outlines Plan for Transitional Government in Letter to Ghani
The United States sent Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a draft plan for a transitional government and cease-fire that recognizes Islam as Afghanistan’s official religion, grants immunity to all citizens and outlines requirements for a presidential election, Khaama Press reported March 8.
SnapshotsMar 5, 2021 | 21:18 GMT
Riot police approach protesters' barricades in an attempt to disperse a March 4, 2021, demonstration in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, against the military coup.
On Myanmar, Washington Moves Cautiously to Avoid Losing More Ground to China
Without the prospect of international cooperation, the United States is proceeding cautiously with pressure on Myanmar's military government in spite of a week of deadly crackdowns on anti-coup protesters. For now, it is stopping short even from imposing sectoral or deeper country-level trade restrictions, to say nothing of more aggressive financial sanctions, in order to keep Chinese influence in Myanmar from growing.
AssessmentsFeb 26, 2021 | 21:22 GMT
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud walks the halls of the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. after meeting with then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 14, 2020.
Biden Brings More Skepticism Into the U.S.-Saudi Relationship
As the drivers bringing them together weaken, the United States and Saudi Arabia will become more conservative in deepening their strategic ties and more critical of one another’s differences. On Feb. 26, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden released a report publicly blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and imposed visa bans on 76 Saudis associated with the act under a new so-called “Khashoggi Policy.” This, along with other recent public statements and arms freezes, indicates Biden preparing to shift U.S.-Saudi ties away from his predecessor’s close personal relationship with the kingdom. The White House appears ready to press Saudi Arabia to engage in more restrained foreign policy, emphasizing U.S. human rights objectives in its Saudi dialogue. That pressure will undoubtedly clash with several of the kingdom’s own deeply set imperatives, creating pushback from Riyadh and turbulence in long-standing U.S.-Saudi
SITUATION REPORTFeb 26, 2021 | 20:46 GMT
U.S.: White House Sanctions 76 Saudis Involved in Khashoggi Assassination 
The United States has imposed visa restrictions on 76 Saudis associated with the 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi under a new so-called “Khasshogi Policy,” which permits imposing travel bans on individuals involved in anti-dissident suppression on behalf of a foreign government abroad, Bloomberg reported Feb. 26.
AssessmentsFeb 25, 2021 | 22:10 GMT
Chinese and EU flags stand at the chancellery on Jan. 26, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. The two entities recently reached a comprehensive agreement on investment.
The Future of Chinese Investment in Europe
The European Union will remain open to Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coming years, but will limit China’s access to strategic sectors of its economy (such as technology). Brussels will also continue to confront Beijing over political, human rights and security issues. The European Union and the United States are the Continent’s primary sources of FDI, which limits China’s ability to leverage FDI to gain political influence. Investment in European infrastructure, such as ports and railways, offers Chinese exporters greater access to European markets, while the acquisition of high-tech companies and know-how gives Beijing access to sophisticated technology it can use for its domestic industrial plans. Europe sees the Asian giant as a source of funding, but in recent years, most countries have become concerned about the national security implications of rising Chinese investment. The European Union also wants to make the bilateral relationship more reciprocal, as the bloc
SnapshotsFeb 10, 2021 | 19:19 GMT
A large billboard alerts beachgoers of COVID-19 safety measures in Praia do Tamariz, a favorite spot for locals and tourists, on July 29, 2020, in Estoril, Portugal.
Europe’s Pandemic-Rattled Tourism Sector Braces for Another Tough Year
European governments are looking for ways to aid their struggling travel and hospitality sectors as slower-than-expected vaccination campaigns and lingering lockdown measures exacerbate the already deep losses they’ve suffered amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to establish health certificates are unlikely to be sufficient in helping the industries, which will likely require additional state support in the coming months. European countries began their vaccination campaigns between late December and early January. But in continental Europe, logistical issues connected to the production and distribution of vaccines have impeded inoculation efforts. This creates problems for the recovery of Europe’s travel and hospitality sectors, which are particularly important revenue-generators in the south. In recent weeks, several southern European governments have expressed interest in issuing so-called “health passports” that would allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel abroad, among other activities. The European Union also discussed issuing a continental “health passport” in late January,
SITUATION REPORTFeb 5, 2021 | 17:23 GMT
Europe, Russia: EU Foreign Policy Chief Says Relations With Moscow at 'Low Point' Over Navalny Jailing 
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc would continue to discuss potential responses to Russia’s recent imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but that there was no formal proposal for new EU sanctions, Politico reported Feb. 5.
SnapshotsFeb 4, 2021 | 21:39 GMT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wears a facemask as he arrives to meet with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Oct. 8, 2020.
Ukraine Seeks Biden’s Help, But Should Temper Expectations
Ukraine is taking steps to engage the United States amid continued provocations from Russia. Its persistent political, economic and security challenges, however, will prevent immediate and meaningful U.S. assistance, thus keeping Kyiv lodged between Russian and Western interests. In a recently aired interview with Axios, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy appealed to recently inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden to “enter a new phase” of bilateral relations by emphasizing the centrality of the United States to improving Ukraine’s future prospects and revealing that he was “a little bit” angry with former President Donald Trump.
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