Key Global Events to Watch in November

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

NOVEMBER 1: Russian-Turkish Joint Patrol in Syria to Begin

Turkish and Russian troops began their joint patrol of territory in northeastern Syria as part of a deal made to force Kurdish forces away from Turkey’s border. These patrols follow a joint military operation between Turkey and Russia in October against the Kurdish YPG militia. The agreement is to remove militia fighters to a distance of at least 30 kilometers from Turkey’s border. The joint operation has allowed Syrian troops to move back into positions in border areas it had for years been absent from.

NOVEMBER 1–4: ASEAN Summit, Bangkok

The 35th ASEAN Summit will be held in Bangkok from November 1 to 4. Talks at this summit will include discussion on a regional trade agreement backed by China, with a draft final summit statement expressing deep concern over rising trade tensions. The United States, an important trading partner for ASEAN member states, downgraded its participation. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will be the highest ranking member of the government to join the talks.

NOVEMBER 6: Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to Meet, Washington

To try and break a deadlock in negotiations over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, the US has invited the foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to a meeting in Washington. Egypt has expressed concern about the dam’s construction and the impact it will have on Egypt’s water supply from the Nile River, which it is heavily reliant upon. In recent weeks, Egypt called for an external mediator to help resolve the dispute, claiming that talks between the three countries were at a standstill.

NOVEMBER 10: Presidential Election, Romania

Romania is set to hold its elections for president on November 10. The government is the midst of a power struggle as the prime minister, Viorica Dăncilă, lost a confidence vote in October, leaving the country without a government. Her removal raised the question of who will represent Romania in the European Commission—the first choice was rejected by the European Parliament, and the second wasn’t formally accepted. As long as Romania is without a commissioner, Ursula von der Leyen’s tenure as president of the European Commission cannot begin on December 1 (already delayed from November 1).

NOVEMBER 10: General Election, Spain

As Spain prepares for its general election on November 10, authorities are bracing for protests by supporters of Catalan independence. The run-up to the election has seen a few large demonstrations in Catalonia, some of which turned violent—though recent protests have been largely peaceful. No left or right bloc holds a clear majority so far and any winner will need to be helped by abstentions or smaller regional parties.

NOVEMBER 16: Presidential Election, Sri Lanka

Thirty-five candidates have filed nominations for the presidency in Sri Lanka, nearly twice as many as in 2015. The top issue for voters is security, after the series of church bombings in April that killed more than 250 people. The two leading contenders are Sajith Premadasa, the housing minister part of the United National Party (UNP), and former wartime defense chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The current president, Maithripala Sirisena, will not seek reelection.

NOVEMBER 18–19: International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, Dakar

The sixth International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa will begin on November 18 in Dakar, convening African heads of state and governments and international partners. This year’s forum will focus on current challenges to multilateralism and their impact on the increasingly complex and changing security climate across the continent. According to the forum’s concept note, the aim is to “go beyond identifying changes in current security challenges and offer inclusive solutions based on the reality of the current situation in Africa.”

NOVEMBER 24: Presidential Election, Guinea-Bissau

With the country’s election a few weeks away, President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea-Bissau escalated his power struggle with the ruling party by firing the country’s prime minister and naming Faustino Fudut Imbali as his replacement. The dismissed prime minister, Aristide Gomes, said he would not leave office. Vaz’s tenure as president—which began in 2014 following a coup in 2012—has been largely peaceful. He has, however, repeatedly clashed with choices of prime minister made by the ruling African Party of the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Protests against Gomes have also been held in recent weeks, with one protestor being killed.

NOVEMBER 25: Meeting on Cyprus Peace Process, Berlin

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to informally discuss “next steps in the Cyprus issue.” Both leaders responded positively to the invitation. The aim will be to redouble efforts towards returning to negotiations.

NOVEMBER TBD: Phase One of US-China Trade Deal to be Signed

The initial phase of the trade pact between the US and China is likely to be signed in the middle of November, according to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Chile was a possible venue for the signing, but Chile cancelled the summit as protests continue to roil the country.

NOVEMBER TBD: Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks

It is hoped that the peace talks will be held by the end of November between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, in the “Normandy Format.” Both Russia and Ukraine have agreed to troop drawdowns in the eastern areas of Ukraine, though these efforts have been disrupted by ceasefire violations.  The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed over 13,000 people.