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Morning Brief: Obama and Medvedev promise a new start

Top Story After a closed-door meeting in London between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev today, it was announced that the United States and Russia would begin work on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the START agreement, which will expire this year. They also pledged cooperation in a number of areas of concern ...

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US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting at the Winfield House, the US Ambassador's residence in London, on April 1, 2009. US President Barack Obama said he will visit Russia in July, after holding talks Wednesday with Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev in London. "I will come to Moscow in July," he said following his first meeting with the Russian leader since taking office. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Story

After a closed-door meeting in London between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev today, it was announced that the United States and Russia would begin work on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the START agreement, which will expire this year.

They also pledged cooperation in a number of areas of concern including Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea. The statement stressed the need to “move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations” but avoided sore subjects like Georgia and missile defense. Obama said he will visit Russia in July.

On the economic front, Obama held a press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in which both leaders urged united action to combat the downturn. Brown called reports of a transatlantic rift over stimulus measures “vastly overstated.”

A feisty Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to walk out of the G-20 conference if he can’t get an agreement on aggressive financial regulation. The French president will hold his own press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he described as being on the “same wavelength,” later today.

Middle East

Benjamin Netanyahu was officially sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, along with controversial Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke had a brief face-to-face meeting with Iran’s deputy foreign minister at the Afghanistan conference at the Hague. FP‘s Laura Rozen has more.

Fatah and Hamas have resumed peace talks in Egypt.

Asia

Fourteen were killed in a Taliban suicide bomber attack on a government building in Kandahar.

A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a suspected Taliban site in Pakistan.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh told the Financial Times that his country’s economy was “more durable” than neighbor China’s.

Americas

The United States is reversing policy by seeking a seat on the United Nations’ controversial Human Rights Council.

Mexico says thieves have been stealing oil from state-owned companies and selling it across the border to U.S. refineries.

A climate bill drafted by U.S. congressional Democrats goes farther than President Obama’s plans.

Europe

Russian gas supplies to Eastern Europe fell by 40 percent after a pipeline explosion in Moldova.

Albania and Croatia are counting down the minutes until they become NATO members this weekend, but the countries have very different attitudes toward the alliance.

Thousands of anti-G-20 protesters have taken to the streets of London, targeting financial institutions.

Africa

Indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir continued his controversial international trip with a stop in Saudi Arabia. 

South Africa’s Desmond Tutu had harsh words for the country’s ruling African National Congress ahead of national elections.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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