G7 Tuscany summit; Protests in the Congo; Philippines’ president visits Middle East

These three things will change the world today.

1. G7 nations will meet to discuss US policy on Syria and North Korea

Foreign ministers from the G7 nations will begin a two-day summit in Tuscany, Italy today. US policy on Syria and North Korea is expected to be high on the agenda.

This is the first time foreign ministers from the likes of Canada, France, Germany and the UK will meet the new US secretary of state Rex Tillerson. They will be seeking clarity from Tillerson over what the US is planning to do concerning North Korean nuclear tests and the civil war in Syria, a few days after airstrikes targeted the country’s president Bashar al Assad.

European allies are reportedly frustrated about the confusing messages that have come out of the administration this weekend concerning Syria.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said that regime change in Syria was a priority for the Trump administration. However, in a separate interview, Tillerson said the priority was to defeat the so-called Islamic State.

A senior European diplomat told Reuters:

“The Americans say they agree, but there’s nothing to show for it behind (the scenes). They are absent from this and are navigating aimlessly in the dark.”

2. Street marches to take place throughout the Congo

Opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have called on the country’s populations to protest the country’s president Joseph Kabila.

The country is currently in the midst of a political crisis as Kabila has failed to appoint a transitional government and prepare for overdue elections. He was supposed to step down as president in December 2016, but failed to arrange an election.

Elections are set to be held before the end of this year, however, analysts told the Financial Times that this is unlikely unless a deal is struck soon.

Opposition parties called for a nationwide strike last week to signal to Kabila to step down.

As well as the political crisis, central and eastern provinces of the DRC have been hit by an escalation of violence. Local militia in the Kasai region have been fighting government forces since last year when their leader Kamwina Nsapu was allegedly killed by soldiers. Around 600 people have been killed in the conflict.

3. Filipino President Duterte begins Middle East visit 

As Holy Week begins, Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte will visit expat communities and country leaders in the Middle East.

During his visit, he will go on state visits to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar where he is set to push for the protection of the rights and welfare of the 1m Filipino overseas workers that live in the Middle East.

As well, Duterte is expected to encourage investment in the Philippines. Assistant secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana of the department of foreign affair’s office of Middle East and African Affairs told reporters the president wants to: “tap into the over $500bn combined investment capital of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and State of Qatar and bring home more investment and jobs for our people.”

“The President will explore partnerships in tourism development, halal food security, Islamic finance, and energy security,” Quintana added.