Brexit – Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Cheshire this week to discuss the withdrawal agreement. The meeting lasted two hours, and according to the Irish PM, were very positive and “sufficient to allow negotiations to resume in Brussels”. This comes just days after a phone call between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM Johnson ended on a sour note, with PM Johnson stating afterwards that a deal looked “essentially impossible”. The EU summit held on the 17th and 18th October is now seen as the last chance for the UK and the EU to agree a deal ahead of the 31st October deadline. Issues still remain however, around ensuring there is no customs border.
Turkey/Syria – After a phone call between President Donald Trump and President Erdogan of Turkey earlier in the week, the White House announced a dramatic reversal of policy, stating that the US would stand aside and let President Erdogan proceed with the incursion of northern Syria and the Kurdish militia. Erdogan’s aim is to create a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria, where Syrian refugees who are currently in Turkey could settle. The renewed conflict has now sparked concerns that chaos in Syria as a result, could lead to a jihadist resurgence.
US-China trade talks – This week brought some positive news surrounding the US-China trade talks. For the first time in more than two months, Chinese trade representatives flew to Washington on Thursday to start two days of talks. After the first day, according to President Trump, high-level negotiations went “very well” and a mini-deal may be on the cards, as China want to avoid the hike to 30% from the current 25% on tariffs on $250bn worth of imports due to take effect on the 15th October. Talks are due to continue through Friday, when President Trump will meet the top Chinese negotiator Lui He.