World News Brief, Tuesday July 15

Afghanistan to audit all votes cast in presdiential election; Shinzo Abe calls for Japan-China summit; Thailand to repatriate 100,000 Burmese refugees who have been living in Thai camps for two decades; Egypt suggests initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict; Russia and Argentina sign nuclear cooperation deal; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Kerry Deal Breaks Afghan Electoral Impasse

Afghanistan is set to audit all 8.1 million votes cast (WSJ) in the second-round presidential election, a process expected to take at least three weeks and delay the inauguration of the country's next president. Candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah agreed to the compromise on Saturday in talks mediated by U.S. secretary of state John Kerry as an impasse over fraud allegations threatened to split the country. The two candidates also pledged to form a national unity government, but the camps disagree over how the losing candidate should participate (TOLO). The deal brokered by Kerry will reshape the Afghan government, the New York Times reports, gradually replacing concentrated power under a presidential system with a prime minister at the helm of a parliamentary system.


"In Afghanistan Kerry has two advantages that he does not enjoy when negotiating with Iran or the Palestinian Authority or Russia: He has overwhelming American military force at his back and he has the luxury of dealing with actors who may have some differences but fundamentally share similar goals and outlooks," writes CFR's Max Boot for Commentary.


"The reality is that it's hard to run a perfect election during an intense civil war. Civilians are killed and injured more frequently now in Afghanistan than at any point since the arrival of U.S. forces; in this context, no vote will reflect the full range of public opinion," writes the International Crisis Group.

"If the new president can earn the public's respect, the next election won't hinge on those old warlord factions. At least in part, the president will have created interest groups that offer citizens broader access to the political system. Out of this de-concentration of power should come pressures for accountability," writes Dorn Townsend in Foreign Affairs.



Abe Calls for Japan-China Summit

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on Monday called for talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November (FT). The summit would be the first since the two leaders took power (AFP).


Changes in Japan's domestic politics affect its foreign policy, writes Sheila Smith in a new CFR report.


THAILAND: Thailand's military government said it would repatriate a hundred thousand Burmese refugees who have been living in Thai camps for two decades (Reuters).


Egypt suggests initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict

Russia and Argentina sign nuclear cooperation deal  

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