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Africa remains a cause for world concern as the UN Security Council votes on extending its mission in Sudan while Libya hosts a peace conference on the crisis in Darfur. US senator John McCain and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to officially declare their presidential hands. Russia flexes its energy muscle and Europe tackles competitiveness.


Gates to meet Putin
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, arrives in Moscow for talks with Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin. Discussions are expected to focus on US plans to build missile defence facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Russia opposes.

EU’s Africa response
Peace moves in the Middle East and a European response to troubles in Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe are expected to top the agenda of a two-day meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg. The ministers will also advance preparations for a forthcoming EU-US summit and promote an EU initiative for an international ban on the death penalty. On the fringes of the meeting, co-operation talks will be held with Russian, Algerian and Lebanese officials.

García at White House
Alan García, Peru’s president, is due to meet George W. Bush in Washington for talks on economic and trade co-operation.

Payments vote
The European Parliament starts this month’s plenary session in Strasbourg (to April 26). Among the topics to be debated will be transatlantic relations and human rights, while MEPs will vote on EU-wide legislation making cashless payments cheaper. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s president, will address MEPs in a formal sitting on Wednesday.

Sudan in spotlight
The United Nations Security Council is due to debate extending its mission in war-torn Sudan, where it has almost 8,000 personnel. The council will also debate a report on its mission in Nepal from Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

Democracy forum
Officials and business and academic leaders will arrive in Qatar for the seventh Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade (to April 25). Topics to be discussed include reform of political systems and power structures in the Middle East and combating terrorism.

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Syria leg of Ban’s tour
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, arrives in Damascus as
part of his tour to promote efforts in renewing the Middle East peace process. He is due to meet President Bashar al-Assad.

King in Commons
Top officials from the Bank of England, including Mervyn King, the UK central bank’s governor, will give evidence to MPs at the House of Commons in London. The Commons Treasury select committee is looking at the effectiveness of the Bank’s monetary policy committee 10 years after its inception.

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McCain to declare bid
Senator John McCain is due to begin a three-day tour of four states during which he is widely expected to formally announce his bid to become US president. The Arizona Republican is one of the frontrunners to be the party’s candidate for the 2008 election.

European energy
Economic integration, regional stability and energy security are among the topics to be discussed at the 60th anniversary session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva (to April 27). Keynote speakers include Sergei Lavrov and Viktor Khristenko, respectively Russia’s foreign and energy ministers, and Peter Sutherland, chairman of BP and Goldman Sachs International.

Turkey deadline
Nominations for Turkey’s presidential elections close, with observers watching to see if Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister, runs for the ceremonial post. The parliament in Ankara will hold three ballots over the next month to elect the president for a seven-year term. Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development party (AKP) holds 363 of the 550 seats in the National Assembly.

Olympic gathering
The executive board of the International Olympic Committee meets in Beijing (until April 27). Members will also hold joint talks with other sports organisations and also gain updates on the Chinese capital’s preparations for the 2008 summer games.

Latin economy
Business and civic leaders are expected to identify regional risks and priorities at the two-day World Economic Forum on Latin America in Santiago.

Klaus at Kremlin
Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, is due to begin a visit to Russia, including talks with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. Although trade and investment are expected to top the agenda, the leaders are likely to discuss the US’s missile shield plans in eastern Europe.

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Abe in US
Shinzo Abe makes his first trip to the US as Japan’s prime minister (to April 27), where his due to meet President George W. Bush in Washington. As well as a formal dinner at the White House, the leaders and their wives will travel to Camp David, Maryland, for informal talks.

Nato gathering
Foreign ministers from the 26 Nato member countries are due to meet in Oslo to discuss the transatlantic military alliance’s missions in the world’s hotspots such as Afghanistan. The two-day gathering will also look at the pact’s future strategy.

European competitiveness
Germany is hosting an informal meeting of economics and industry ministers from the EU’s 27 member states in Würzburg to discuss improving competitiveness (to April 28). Business leaders will also address the forum, which will also look at EU aid and a charter for intellectual property rights.

Trade poll
The findings of a multi-country survey on international trade will be released in Washington. The WorldPublicOpinion.org and Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll looked at attitudes to globalisation and its effects on job security and growth and the environment.

Eyes on ABN Amro
Investors in ABN Amro gather for a general meeting in The Hague at which the Dutch bank’s management is expected to outline its future. The UK’s Barclays is finalising a merger but rivals Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis propose buying the bank to carve it up among themselves.

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Executions report
Amnesty International will publish its annual statistics on the use of the death penalty across the world. The pressure group is expected to highlight human rights violations in countries including China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the US and Zimbabwe.

African security
The UN Security Council is due to meet in New York to vote on extending the mandate of the UN’s peacekeeping missions in Sudan and the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

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Darfur conference
Libya hosts a summit in Tripoli aimed at ending the four-year conflict in Darfur, the western region of Sudan, where more than 2.5m have been displaced and about 450,000 people have died. Representatives from Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, the US, the UK, the EU and the African Union will attend.


Parliamentarians gather
Delegations from national parliaments gather in Bali, Indonesia for the 116th assembly meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (to May 4). The main debate will be on global warming, while other debates will focus on employment security in the era of globalisation and the promotion of democratic electoral standards.


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