Key Global Events to Watch in September

At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.

September 1: Deadline to Lift Reservations on South Sudan Peace Deal, Juba

The United Nations Security Council has given South Sudan President Salva Kiir until September 1 to fully support a peace deal he signed on August 27. Kiir annexed a list of reservations from the agreement that he said would “not be in the interests of just and lasting peace.” South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar, who would regain his position of vice-president under the deal, signed without reservation on August 17. The UN has threatened to enact sanctions if Kiir does not accept the accord in its entirety.

September 1: Ukraine and Pro-Russian Separatists to Pursue Ceasefire

In late August, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced that the two sides involved in the Ukraine crisis had agreed to a new temporary ceasefire to be enacted from September 1. This would reportedly return to the terms of the Minsk II agreement signed in February this year, which has been undermined by sporadic clashes between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces.

September 3: China to Hold Major Parade Marking 70th Anniversary of World War II, Beijing

China will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a huge military parade involving 12,000 troops, marking a new national holiday. More than 30 heads of state and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon are expected to attend, but a notable absentee will be Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The event is expected to increase historical tensions between China and Japan, which were already heightened by Abe’s statement on the anniversary of the war, in August.

September 4: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Meets US President Obama, Washington, DC

US President Barack Obama will host Saudia Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on his first official trip to Washington, DC. The two leaders are expected to discuss issues such as joint security arrangements and Iran’s militarism in the Middle East. The visit comes just ahead of the deadline for US Congress to discuss the nuclear deal struck between Iran, the US, and other world powers.

September 6: Guatemala Scheduled to Hold General Election

Guatemala is scheduled to hold a general election on September 6, with President Otto Pérez Molina not eligible to stand due to constitutional term limits. The president nonetheless faces increasing pressure to resign and postpone the polls. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Guatemala City calling for the president’s resignation and prosecution for alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal.

September 7: Trial of Former Chad Dictator Habré Set to Resume, Dakar

The trial in Senegal of former Chadian president Hissène Habré for human rights crimes is scheduled to resume on September 7 after being postponed from July. The trial has been hailed as a breakthrough in international criminal law, as the first in which the courts of one country prosecute the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. It is also the first “universal jurisdiction” case to proceed to trial in Africa.

September 11: Singapore Holds Early General Election

On September 11, Singapore will hold its first general election since the death of founding statesmen Lee Kuan Yew earlier this year. The poll falls a year before the deadline for elections, which many see as an attempt by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to capitalize on nationalist sentiment following the death of Mr. Lee and this year’s 50th anniversary of the island’s independence from Malaysia, in 1965. The PAP has never lost power since that time, but recorded its lowest ever share of the vote in the 2011 election, at 60%.

September 14: EU Ministers Hold Extraordinary Meeting on Migrant Crisis, Brussels

Interior and justice ministers from across the European Union will discuss measures to tackle Europe’s growing migrant crisis, on September 14. More than 340,000 displaced people, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, have reached EU member states this year. Tragic incidents have continued in transits across the Mediterranean Sea and at internal EU crossings such as those between France and the United Kingdom, and Hungary and Austria.

September 15: Opening of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, New York

The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will begin on September 15. Pope Francis will address the UNGA on the morning of September 25, and the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda will take place from September 25-27. The UNGA General Debate will be held from September 28-October 6.

September 17: Deadline for US Congress to Review Iran Nuclear Deal, Washington, DC

US Congress has until September 17 to approve or disapprove of the agreement between Iran and six world powers that places limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Under an act signed by US President Barack Obama in May, Congress has 60 days from the time of the agreement to review it. Because the Iran deal is in the form of an executive agreement, the president can veto any resolution from Congress unless it obtains more than two-thirds support from each chamber, which would require a significant number of Obama’s fellow Democrats to break from the administration view.

September 19-27: Pope Francis Visits Cuba and the US

Pope Francis will make an eight day trip to Cuba and the United States during September. The pope contributed to secret conversations that led to the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, and there are hopes he might also play a role on the Colombian peace process currently being mediated in Havana. In the US the pope will meet President Obama in Washington, DC, address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and preside over the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

September 20: Greece Holds Snap Parliamentary Elections

Greece faces snap parliamentary elections triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, following a split within his Syriza party. Tsipras will contest the new poll with the hope of consolidating power and seeking a new political mandate. This followed the country’s acceptance of the terms of a financial bailout from its international creditors in July. Greece’s top Supreme Court judge Vassiliki Thanou was sworn in as caretaker prime minister on August 27.