1. President Moon Jae-in visits the White House

What's going on
Yesterday, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in met with President Donald Trump at the White House. President Moon requested minor sanctions relief for North Korea given Pyongyang's shortage of food and oil reserves. President Trump is considering support for humanitarian relief but no easing of economic sanctions. When asked if he would consider a "smaller deal" as part of a phased approach to nuclear disarmament (an approach preferred by the Koreas), President Trump said, "there are various smaller deals that maybe could happen."
What Ambassadors are saying
“South Korea wants another summit. They are the ones right in the line of fire of North Korea. Twenty-five miles away from the DMZ there are 25 million people living in Seoul, South Korea and we also have 28,000 American troops. So [President Moon] wants a deal between the U.S. and North Korea because it’s good politically for him and it’s good for his country. In some ways he has pushed us a little too far to make deals and we have to coordinate better. But he’s been a constructive player and they are great allies of ours. I think we have to get something in return from North Korea and they have not taken serious steps on denuclearization yet." (Ambassador Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Fox News )

“At the end of the day, both President Trump and South Korean President Moon face the added challenge that China prefers an unstable North Korea to a united, democratic & capitalist Korea on its borders.” (Ambassador Curtis S. Chin, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank)
2. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir ousted

What's going on
Yesterday, Sudan's military ousted President Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup. The international community has condemned him for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. His ouster came after months of unrest and nationwide protests over rises in fuel and bread prices. Protests have continued after the military announced a two-year transitional period for Sudan under a military council.
What Ambassadors are saying
"Now more than ever, the Sudanese people need international support to push for real change in the country, not just a shuffling of personalities at the top. Right now the military has seized control, and canny securocrats are working to protect their privileged access to power and wealth. But these same people opted for pushing Bashir out rather than once again massacring their own citizens because they know that there is no resuscitating Sudan’s economy without significant international help. The United States and others should deliver clear, specific, and credible messages about what they would be willing to do to help Sudan recover. At the same time, they must make it plain that Bashir’s ouster alone is insufficient, and no one should be left with any delusion about continued counterterrorism cooperation being the sole determinant of American support." (Ambassador Michelle Gavin, former U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Council on Foreign Relations )
3. Israeli elections place PM Netanyahu in good standing for a fifth term

What's going on
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party won 36 out of 120 parliamentary seats in Israel's elections this week. With 35 seats, the opposition party had the next highest tally. Israel's President Reuven Rivlin is likely to select Netanyahu as Prime Minister, at which point he would have 42 days to put together a government. Netanyahu indicated that he intends to put together a bloc of right-wing and religious parties. On Wednesday, the day after the elections, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "We have been working on a set of ideas that we hope to present before too long" regarding the Trump Administration's proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
What Ambassadors are saying
"Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the two leaders of the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace process, have been seeking broad Arab support for their eventual plan. But by his recent decision to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, President Trump has made it exceedingly difficult to obtain backing for the plan, however sound it may be. At the same time, it must be admitted that the Palestinian leadership has refused to sit down and negotiate a solution. Moreover, in the year 2000 through Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and in 2008 under Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, the Palestinian National Authority rejected Israel’s offer to return 95 per cent of the West Bank, accept East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state, and to allow the return of tens of thousands of Palestinians to Israel." (Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Gulf News )

What’s going to happen to Afghan women? The women we encouraged to step forward, the ones that we made a major effort to get back into schools. There is no guarantee that the Taliban would make that I would trust. Who’s going to enforce it?

Quote from Ambassador Ryan Crocker featured in The Hill .
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