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YOUR WORLD TODAY
John McCain Visits Baghdad Under Heavy Guard; Nancy Pelosi in Lebanon for Talks; Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai Calling for Fair Elections
Aired April 2, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Led by presidential hopeful John McCain, heavily guarded U.S. lawmakers take a walk in what they tout as a safer Baghdad.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Cautious optimism for Zimbabwe's opposition leader, even as he cautions the world to keep an eye on Mugabe.
CLANCY: All right. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" says it's all about sharing. Apple, the computer maker, and EMI, the Apple recording label, strike a deal music lovers are sure to like.
GORANI: Also this hour, tracking the last days of Jesus. Christians keep the faith as academics search for facts.
CLANCY: It's 8:00 in the evening right now in Baghdad, Iraq, 6:00 in the evening in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hello and welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.
I'm Jim Clancy.
GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani.
From Toronto to St. Louis, Doha to Marseilles, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
While a relative dip in violence has some in Baghdad breathing easier, other parts of Iraq are suffering a surge in attacks.
CLANCY: And noteworthy, a U.S. presidential hopeful puts his recent remarks about his security to the test as commanders warn insurgents just may be shifting their focus in Iraq.
GORANI: Meanwhile, another top U.S. politician also in the region promoting Middle East peace. We'll see why the White House is angered over her itinerary.
CLANCY: All right.
First, to a bombing in Kirkuk in Iraq. It's adding to a recent string of deadly attacks in the north of the country.
Twelve people reported killed, 150 others wounded after a truck bomb exploded outside a police station. Many of the victims were children at a nearby school.
Officials have revised the death toll, meantime, from last week's suicide truck bombing in Tal Afar. That's northwest of Kirkuk. They now say 152 people were killed in that blast, making it the single deadliest attack since the war began.
GORANI: Well, the U.S. Republican senator and presidential hopeful John McCain says the world isn't getting the full picture of the security improvements in Baghdad. Under heavy guard, he toured an outdoor market that's been hit by several major attacks in recent months.
Let's bring in Michael Ware in Baghdad for details of his trip.
And Senator McCain is arguing that the situation is safer thanks to the surge in troops, as the White House is calling it.
How are you seeing that on the ground and McCain's trip in the context of all this, Michael?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, the surge and the so-called Baghdad security plan has had an impact on particular types of violence here in the capital, Baghdad. For instance, the death squads don't quite have the free hand they used to have at night to roam and to kill.
Nonetheless, dozens of tortured or executed bodies are still showing up on the streets. Al Qaeda is still getting its suicide bombings through the security cordons, killing scores here in the capital. And as this Republican congressional delegation visited Baghdad, they seem to be investing so much in the fact that in an envelope of heavy security, which, according to other media reports, included three Black Hawk helicopters, two Apache attack helicopters, and 100 U.S. troops, that they could drive from the airport and walk in a Baghdad market just three minutes from the Green Zone achieves nothing.
There are signs of limited progress here in Baghdad. But this so-called Baghdad walk by the members of Congress does not highlight that.
This has been done time and time again. U.S. generals and U.S. representatives have often been able to conduct such walks. There's much better ways of getting the message across.
GORANI: And what are those ways, Michael?
WARE: Well, it's a matter of highlighting how sectarian deaths have been dampened, how the death squads' movements have been restricted, how we've seen pressure placed upon the infrastructure of the Mehdi army militia, one of the frontline elements in the sectarian violence. Nonetheless...
GORANI: I'm sorry to interrupt. What about the rest of the country? We've seen a lot of... WARE: Well, that's what I was about to say. At the same time, we have to accept that from the very beginning, U.S. commanders said expect the insurgents and the militias to lay low. And watch, as we've seen many times before, the displacement of violence.
You focus on Baghdad, they take their attacks elsewhere, like the border town of Tal Afar, where 150 people are slaughtered in suicide bombing attacks, and then the police at night go out and execute 60 or 70 more people just in retribution. You can't look at a senator's walk in the capital alone as the measure of progress.
GORANI: And lastly, I've got to ask you about a report there that said that you were heckling and laughing during Senator McCain's news conference in Baghdad.
Is there any truth to that?
WARE: No, there is not, Hala. I didn't heckle. Indeed, it's been accused that I asked mocking questions. And as you'll see, I never even asked a question. In fact, I sat there silently.
This has been a political brouhaha that started last week. Unfortunately, Senator McCain has had one of the strongest Iraq policies that most reflects the realities here on the ground, but last week he made one gaffe. And when corrected on that, it's now brought his entire Iraq policy into question, and he seems to have backed himself into a corner and invested everything on his so-called Baghdad walk yesterday, even though it was enveloped in such a blanket of security.
GORANI: All right. Michael Ware, live in Baghdad.
Thank you, Michael -- Jim.
CLANCY: Now, CNN has learned that thousands of U.S. troops are going to be heading back to Iraq a good bit sooner than they expected. The Pentagon says it's going to redeploy the troops into Iraq to keep the Baghdad security plan flowing.
Some of these 9,000 troops came home from Iraq less than a year ago, and they're replacing thousands of service members who are ending their tours of duty in Iraq. The Pentagon adds that those troops going back will be there for less than a year.
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is in Lebanon this hour, along with a congressional delegation. This, the latest stop on her tour of the Middle East, a visit that's drawing some fire from the White House.
Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler explains.
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF (voice over): Two high- profile visits to Lebanon. United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paying her respects at the tomb of assassinated former prime minister Rafik Hariri. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel treading a similar path. Half the Mideast's quartet represented here, Europe and the United States, focused on renewed international efforts to kick-start regional peace, including Pelosi's controversial plans to visit Syria.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We think it's a good idea to establish the facts, to hopefully build some confidence between us. We have no illusions but we have great hope.
SADLER: But the White House calls her Syrian stopover a bad decision because the U.S. administration considers Syria a supporter of terrorism, citing Syrian behavior over its border with Iraq that helps insurgents and Syria's support for what the U.S. and Israel call terror groups like Hezbollah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is in their interest to return to a position where they can be part of the positive forces in this region and not be in a tight alliance with Ahmadinejad's Iran.
SADLER: A Syrian-Iranian alliance that many in Lebanon blame for paralyzing their city's center with opposition tents on the doorstep of western-backed prime minister Fouad Siniora creating dangerous political deadlock here over plans to set up an international court to try murder suspects in the Hariri assassination two years ago.
(on camera): Many Lebanese, including Hariri's own family, suspect Syria may have had a hand in that killing which ignited political upheaval in Lebanon, dividing the country into two camps...
(voice over): ... leaders who strongly support Syria, and those who oppose what the regime is doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The regime knows exactly what he needs to do in Lebanon, what they need to do in Palestine, what they need to do in Iraq. And I think instead, the regime is doing the totally opposite.
SADLER: Syria's top leadership plans to welcome Pelosi's delegation, which includes the first Muslim U.S. congressman, with open arms. But they recognize that hopes for a Syrian change of behavior on Pelosi's road to Damascus is no easy ride.
CLANCY: Brent Sadler joins us now live.
And Brent, the U.S. clearly wants Syria to stop supporting Hezbollah and to stop turning a blind eye to militants crossing the border and going into Iraq to commit terrorist acts. But seriously, what could possibly Speaker Pelosi or anyone, for that matter, do to change Syria's behavior?
SADLER: I think the thrust of this mission is that there have been not just the Pelosi delegation on the way to Damascus, but also a three-person Republican delegation that saw President Assad just yesterday, Sunday. I think what we're seeing here are some very strong and perhaps final messages being sent to the Syrian president, to the top leadership there, that there has to be a change of Syrian policy in the region vis-a-vis not only Lebanon, but also Israel, and also support for militant Palestinian terror groups, the U.S. and Israel will say, for there to be a releasing of pressure on Syria.
It's also important to notice that these two top high-profile visits, Jim, came after Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, wrapped up a visit in Lebanon Saturday. Also, the Turkish prime minister is heading to Syria in the next 24 hours again to try to put more pressure on the Syrian leadership to respond to this international pressure that comes hard on the heels, Jim, of last week's Arab summit that revitalized the Arab initiative to try to gain to win peace with Israel -- Jim.
CLANCY: Officially, getting Syria perhaps what it wants, putting the Golan Heights back on the table in active discussions, is that something that can be offered to the Syrians to induce a change? Is there any trust at all?
SADLER: Well, the first and foremost issue as far as Israel is concerned -- and it was made absolutely clear over the weekend that Syria has to openly stop supporting Israel, says Palestinian terror groups, for Israel to start a re-engagement process with the Syrians over the Golan and other issues. What this trip by Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi, to Syria really does symbolize is an attempt at the regional level with other major players from the quartet of countries locked into the issue of Middle East peace really trying to have a very serious combined effort, supported by the Arabs themselves, to try to pressure Syria to change -- Jim.
CLANCY: Brent Sadler reporting there live from Beirut.
CLANCY: OK. And let's check some other news we're following closely today.
GORANI: Welcome back, everyone, to CNN International and YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: We're trying to cover the news of the world here that people want to know and need to know, giving you a little bit of perspective that goes deeper, behind the stories of the day.
Zimbabwe's leading opposition leader calling for fair elections in 2008 as a way to help end the escalating economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Morgan Tsvangirai right now in Johannesburg. He is receiving medical treatment, we are told, for some of the injuries that he suffered during a beating at the hands of police back home in Zimbabwe.
Our Africa correspondent, Jeff Koinange, talked with Tsvangirai about what he sees as his country's future.
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in South Africa, doing what he's not allowed to do in his native Zimbabwe, hold a simple press conference and demand help for what he called the suffering people of Zimbabwe.
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, ZIMBABWE OPPOSITION LEADER: The people of Zimbabwe need food and jobs. They need freedom and hope. They've endured great hardship and they will endure much more on the long road to freedom.
KOINANGE: This was Morgan Tsvangirai two days after his arrest and beating by police three weeks ago. Now he's in South Africa, seeking medical attention not available back home in Zimbabwe under longtime president Robert Mugabe, who Tsvangirai blames for his injuries.
TSVANGIRAI: It doesn't matter what Robert Mugabe can do. He can kill me. He can eliminate as many opposition activists as he can. But he can't kill the spirit that is gripping Zimbabwe today.
KOINANGE: Meanwhile, fresh from a regional summit at which fellow leaders showered him with praise and support, Mugabe continued to lash out at Tsvangirai, insisting his main opponent deserved the beating he got from police.
ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yes, he was beaten, severely beaten by the police. I told them the truth, that he went to the police station and asked for it.
KOINANGE: Mugabe's party has given him the green light to stand for another term of office when the country holds presidential elections next year. Tsvangirai has doubts Mugabe can pull it off this time around.
TSVANGIRAI: I believe that Robert Mugabe has run out of options. He's facing serious resistance from within his party.
KOINANGE: A lot can happen between now and election day, and experts agree Mugabe, arguably the biggest of Africa's big men, may still have enough punch left in him to guarantee a further six-year term, which if he wins will see him in power well into his 90s.
Jeff Koinange, CNN, Johannesburg.
CLANCY: Now, originally, aides to Morgan Tsvangirai had told YOUR WORLD TODAY that they would be able to bring their leader to us for an interview, but we are told now he is still at -- seeking medical treatment, still getting some diagnosis, particularly on the condition of his eye.
We hope he joins us as soon as is possible -- Hala.
GORANI: Well, the BBC reporter Alan Johnston now holds the grim distinction of being held longer than any other journalist captured in the Palestinian territories. And now, three weeks after his abduction in Gaza, Johnston's Palestinian colleges, as well as other from international news organizations, are rallying to his support.
They held marches. They started a three-day strike on Monday, boycotting coverage of the Palestinian Authority, asking the Palestinian Authority to do more to guarantee the release of Alan Johnston. Some sealed their mouths shout and demanded that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh helped secure the BBC reporter's release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON WILSON, BBC MIDDLE EAST OFFICE DIRECTOR: We continue to be optimistic that this will be resolved because we know that Alan has no enemies in Gaza, Alan has only friends in Gaza. We know and we're told and we're promised there are efforts under way. Everything is doing everything possible to try and resolve the situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, there's been no word on Johnston's whereabouts and no demands made since his abduction. Other similar kidnappings in the territories have ended within days or even hours. It is not the case for our fellow journalist, Alan Johnston.
And we certainly hope he is released very soon.
CLANCY: Well, after months of hard negotiations, the U.S. and South Korea finally coming to terms on a free trade agreement.
GORANI: Well, so how come everyone isn't celebrating about this?
Also, the record company that distributed the Beatles songs says it will open up its catalog for downloading without copy protection.
CLANCY: So, does that mean the Beatles will appear on iTunes any time soon?
Stay with us. We're looking for the answer.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to all of our viewers joining us from more than 200 countries around the globe, including, this hour, the United States.
JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Jim Clancy.
GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani.
Here are the top stories we're following for you this hour.
A suicide truck bombing in Kirkuk, killing at least 12 people today. Many of them children. It's the latest in a string of attacks to hit northern Iraq. Officials have revised the death toll. Meantime, from last week's suicide bombing in Tal Afar, northwest of Kirkuk, they now say that in that single attack, 152 people were killed. That makes it the single deadliest attack since the war began.
CLANCY: Under heavy guard, U.S. Senator John McCain led a delegation of Republican lawmakers through a Baghdad market on Sunday. The U.S. presidential candidate down on street level created a bit of a stir recently when he clashed with reporters over the success of the ongoing security crackdown in the Iraqi capital.
Now another U.S. politician, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is in the region. She's leading a congressional delegation in a visit to Beirut, Lebanon. This is the latest stop on their tour of the Middle East. A trip that's drawing fire from the White House because she intends to take it onwards to Damascus, Syria.
GORANI: Well, some small progress reported in the continuing standoff between Britain and Iran over seized troops. Tehran says it has recorded video of all 15 marines and sailors "confessing" to being in Iran's territorial waters. But Tehran says it will not air the video due to what it calls positive changes in Britain's negotiating stance. The troops were captured on March 23rd. It's been about 10 days. Matthew Chance has more on the delicate situation and Britain's efforts to free the detainees.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Iranian television with another propaganda exclusive. Fresh footage of captured British sailors and marines being held at a secret location. There are more confessions too, possibly coerced, about illegally entering Iranian waters. The British foreign office says these displays are unacceptable.
CAPT. CHRIS AIR, CAPTURED BRITISH SAILOR: We left coalition warship approximate (ph) 99 (ph). And our task, our two boats was to go up to the area around this Persian Gulf, around here, and approximately about 10:00 in the morning we were seized apparently at this point here from their maps, from the GPS they've shown us, which is inside of Iranian territorial waters.
LT. FELIX CARMEN, CAPTURED BRITISH SAILOR: My name is Lieutenant Felix Carmen. I operate out of frigate foxtrot 99 using two c boats that look like this called Pacifics (ph). And we were arrested in this location here. Yes, I'd like to say to the Iranian people. I can understand why you're so angry about our intrusion into your waters.
CHANCE: That anger has spilled out onto Tehran's streets, with chapters of death to Britain, protesters hurled rocks and fireworks at the British embassy in Tehran earlier, demanding the expulsion of the British ambassador and Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been characteristically hard lined.
"The British occupier forces did trespass our waters," he said. "Our border guards detained them with skill and bravery. But arrogant powers, because of their arrogant and selfish spirit, are claiming otherwise."
There have been words of support from Britain's allies, not least President Bush who voiced his condemnation from Camp David.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's serious because -- or the British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. And it's inexcusable behavior.
CHANCE: At a church service in the hometown of the only female captive, Faye Turney, there were prayers for the safe return of all the British personnel. European leaders have also been calling for an early end to the standoff. But as this crisis enters a new week, diplomacy has yet to deliver.
GORANI: And Matthew Chance joins us now live from London to discuss the latest on the situation.
Matthew, from the people you've been speaking with, are they saying that there is a chance for a diplomatic breakthrough to solve this standoff any time soon?
CHANCE: Well, the people I've been speaking to have been very cautious about making any suggestions like that. But certainly there has been a glimmer of hope that diplomacy could be making some kind of progress by this strange statement that was made by the Iranians earlier today that because of positive steps to the British position, they feel that they won't be broadcasting any more of these confessions, these videotaped confessions, on Iranian state television. It hasn't been made clear what those steps are, but it does certainly open the possibility that some kind of diplomatic progress could be made.
GORANI: And as far as Britain is concerned, this is a very delicate situation because it's a question of not being too aggressive or being perceived as too aggressive yet, at the same time being firm because 15 of British service members are in custody, in Iranian custody.
CHANCE: It is. It's a very difficult position that the British government and the British service personnel, as well, of course, have found themselves in. What the British government is saying, that it's adopting a jewel approach to try and get this resolved. On the one hand, they're trying to bolster international resolve to have Iran's actions condemned in various international bodies like the United Nations, like the European Union and amongst its other allies. But at the same time, they are being very careful to leave open an avenue of quiet diplomacy. And it's really on that avenue the contacts that have been continuing between Iran and Britain since the start of this crisis that the hopes for a resolution are now resting, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Matthew Chance at 10 Downing Street in London, thank you very much.
CLANCY: Well, a little bit of important business news for you. Britain's EMI Records has announced a u-turn, making it easier for people to download, listen to and share digital music. For the first time, that music group is selling tracks without any of that difficult copyright protection. Now that's the software that prevents buyers from sharing tunes with other users. Even sharing it among their own computers sometimes. Charles Hodson is in London. He has some more on this.
Charles, how's it going to work?
CHARLES HODSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to work like this. At the moment you have this protection, which is called DRM to the high-tech geeks. And in future it's going to look a little bit different. At the moment, that means you can't share your files, share your music files with somebody else.
Let me explain how this is going to work. Let's say you've got your digital library here on your laptop, PC or your Apple Mac, whatever you've got. And you've got a song here which you paid for. Let's say you paid 79 pence, 79 British pence, and this has DRM protection on it. It also has a slightly lower quality, digital quality, sound quality than would be possible.
In future, what's going to happen is that you're going to pay 99 pence for that, you're going to have a slightly higher digital quality. So you have a different song list, slightly different version of it, but the difference is, the key difference here is, you will be able to share it with a friend. So you're paying more.
You're paying, let's say 99 pence, so you're paying an extra 20 British pence in similar figures whether you're buying in euros or dollars, 20 pence extra but basically you own it and you can actually not assign the copyright, that's still going to remain with EMI, but essentially you're paying an extra 20 pence so you can share it with your friends.
So where does Apple and where do iTunes fit into this. Well, iTunes, which, of course, is a digital music system, let's call it that for now, and they can run your digital library. Their online store is where you're going to be able to buy this to start off with through EMI. But, of course, there's this whole issue of intellectual property. A very fraught issue. And Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, explained to Max Foster how that's going to work in future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE JOBS, CEO, APPLE: Well, we're not -- I think copyright protection and DRM are two completely independent issues. You know, here's the thing, 90 percent of the music is shipped without DRM today on CDs. CDs don't have any DRM. And so what we're announcing today is just putting the digital world on par with the CD.
And we want the digital world, which represents only 10 percent of the sales today, but is growing at, you know, 100 percent a year, to keep that growth and even accelerate that growth so it can make up for the decline in the physical CD sales. And in order to do that, we're closing the gap between the digital world and the CD world by removing the DRM from the digital world and by increasing the audio quality, because that's where we need growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HODSON: Well, that's Steve Job, the chief executive of Apple, explaining how this is going to work in future and it will soon be available on his iTunes and eventually other sites, as well.
CLANCY: All right. Well, EMI's in the deal. You know the question that some people, well some of the older people in the audience like myself want to know is, will Magical Mystery Tour suddenly magically appear on iTunes?
HODSON: Yes, dinosaurs like you and I, Jim, can still remember when "She Loves You" was in the charts. And, unfortunately, the answer is no. That won't be there yet. The Beatles is still, in terms of copyright, a fairly closely regarded entity. All of their songs are personally held by the other Apple, which, of course, looks after their music rights, although they're distributed by EMI. However, the boss of EMI, Eric Nicoli, says, we are working on it.
CLANCY: All right. They're working on it, to bring the Beatles to iTunes and that should be good.
By the way, you know, we're talking about pence there. What does it mean?
CLANCY: Yes, he was talking about going from 79 pence to 99 pence.
GORANI: Ninety-nine pence is a little less than $2 today. The pound is very strong.
CLANCY: So you're talking about an extra, what, 40 cents in U.S. dollars in order to buy one without the copyright protection, be able to do it.
CLANCY: The big question is, whether it is going to have a variable bit rate in the low pass filter.
CLANCY: But we'll get into that another time.
GORANI: OK. We will.
Well, from presidential advisers, Jim, to presidents, prime ministers, pop stars. Well, Larry King has interviewed them all, of course.
CLANCY: He certainly has and he's into the Beatles as well. With more than 40,000 interviews to his credit, that's right, 40,000, it's a major milestone, he's also reaching this milestone, 50 years in television and radio. What a miracle.
GORANI: Right. And you can help Larry celebrate by choosing your favorite show from among 20 classics. Here is one of the choices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": When did you first run for office -- how old were you when you said,. I'm going to run for office?
MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Oh, I was really at university when I expressed the wish to become a member of parliament. And it wasn't I who really triggered that expression. We were just sitting around the kitchen table with a number of friends after a dance one evening and we were talking about politics, of course. I was often talking about politics. And all of a sudden one of my companions said, you want to be an MP, don't you? And it crystalized it for me. Just like that. And I said, yes, but I couldn't afford it. MPs weren't paid very much in those days.
KING: So you ran when?
THATCHER: When they were paid enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: All right. Larry King, what a guy.
GORANI: Well, if you want to see more of that interview with Margaret Thatcher, or perhaps you prefer another interview, well go to cnn.com/larry and vote.
CLANCY: That's right. The top five shows, chosen by you, are going to air the week of April 9th. Again, that's cnn.com/larry.
GORANI: It's democracy in action. Whatever you choose, airs.
Coming up on YOUR WORLD TODAY, the crisis in Somalia deepens.
CLANCY: Now there's a steady stream of people in their thousands leaving Mogadishu. Diplomats scrambling to find a diplomatic way out. GORANI: Also, we know when the last supper was held, but do we know where? Stay with us.
GORANI: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.
CLANCY: With an unrivaled team of correspondents and journalists all around the globe, in all of the hot spots.
All right. We're looking at the situation now in the horn of Africa. Thousands of people fleeing Mogadishu in the midst of the worst fighting in Somalia in 15 years. Islamist rebels pushing back against an Ethiopian military offensive, leaving scores of bodies in the streets. Acute shortages of water, food and fuel are being reported by those leaving the capital. Still, diplomatic efforts to end the fighting there on several fronts. A summit now planned in Cairo for Tuesday. Airatri (ph) and Uganda holding separate talks on Somalia.
Questions about where are the A.U., African Union peacekeepers going to come from. More of them. John Prendergrast is a senior advisor to the International Crisis Group. He joins us right now in our Washington bureau to discuss the situation in Somalia, as well as some perhaps news going on behind the scenes in Darfur. Let's begin in Somalia.
You look at this crisis and everybody says in the long term we do not want Somalia to become a safe haven for al Qaeda. There were accusations over the weekend that al Qaeda was responsible for shooting down an Ethiopian helicopter. People from outside the country. But if people are serious about this, what's really got to be done?
JOHN PRENDERGRAST, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Well, I think, you know, the initial error is, just as in Iraq is, to go in heavy with the military force as Ethiopians did backed by the U.S. with its air strikes, but without a political plan. It's so abundantly evident on the ground to Somalis that you need to have negotiations that are inclusive, that will lead to a power-sharing deal that will allow some of these disaffected elements that are firing rocks at helicopters and they're shooting artillery throughout the city, that are attacking peacekeeping forces, these people represent interests and these interests are not represented in the current government that's backed by Ethiopia. So there needs to be a peace process that's transparent, that can get us to a power-sharing deal where everyone can feel like they're interests are at least somewhat addressed.
CLANCY: All right. Now, you know, there's some people that say that this interim government that was once so weak in the words of one Somali, one told me that, you know, they can't even control a parking lot. They're afraid to even come to the capital. So long as they have their house guests with helicopters there, that is the Ethiopian military, they're not in the mood to negotiate. Is that a problem? PRENDERGRAST: It's a huge problem. I think that what the United States has to lead hard on Ethiopia and the Ethiopians need to lean hard on their clients in Mogadishu, this interim government you're talking about, because they're part of the problem. They're not engaging with some of the disaffected clan elements and with the Islamists, both of whom are providing the guns and the young men to undertake these interlocking insurgents. And if they're not addressing the core grievances of these group, they're not including them in the power structure, then we're going to see a continuing dissent into Mogadishu's usual brand of anarchy, which is going to be so disruptive and so destructive to the people of Somalia.
CLANCY: John, while we have you here, I want to talk a little bit about Sudan, because I know you cover this, the situation in Darfur, very closely. We've got to admit it. It's not gradually getting better. It's getting worse and it's -- we just had five African Union peace keepers killed. Nobody knows by whom. What's happening on the sidelines? What's on the horizon?
PRENDERGRAST: Well, you know, it's four years now that this situation has slowly bled to the point where it is now. And it could get much worse because we're getting increasing signs of food insecurity, of malnutrition, because the government of Sudan is blocking aid deliveries to people who need it. So the real question is, when is the international community going to get tough with the perpetrators of the vast majority of the violence, which is the government of Sudan?
CLANCY: And what's the answer?
PRENDERGRAST: Well, I think it's coming. Now Bush and Blair have both agreed that they're going to move forward in the next week or two on a set of punitive measures against the government. But right now they're too little, so they've got to go back and continue to look at the kinds of financial instruments, economic pressures that can be placed on the government of Sudan and political pressures that can be placed on the government of Sudan to change its calculations. We're getting nearer and nearer to that point, but the longer we wait, with every week we wait, we get debacles like the killings of these A.U. peacekeepers and more and more people starving and being killed in Darfur. So the time to act is now and it's up to really the president of the United States and the prime minister of Britain to lead the world in responding to this horror.
CLANCY: John Prendergrast with the International Crisis Group. As always, John, great to have you with us. Thank you.
PRENDERGRAST: Thanks for having me.
CLANCY: It was perhaps the most famous sit-down dinner in history.
GORANI: Coming up, at least we know what was served -- bread and wine. But where the last supper was served remains an open question. Stay with CNN.
GORANI: Jews are marking a major holiday this week -- Passover. Israel increasing security in Jerusalem, across the country and in the occupied territories as well. The army says it's restricting passage through checkpoints for humanitarian cases and Christians visiting family for Easter. And that will affect some 50,000 Palestinians who cross into Israel daily for work.
CLANCY: Meantime, Christians all around the world are going to be celebrating Easter this Sunday. Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Last Supper," depicts the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion.
GORANI: But it is uncertain where that supper took place or how accurate depictions of that iconic gathering really are.
CLANCY: That's right. Conceived from memory or actually made up. Atika Shubert has been out looking for some answers in Jerusalem.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Where did the last supper take place? The gospels describe it only as a large upper room in Jerusalem.
STEPHEN PFANN, PRESIDENT, HOLY LAND UNIVERSITY: Where it is, it doesn't exist today.
SHUBERT: Archaeologists say the general area is confirmed, but all buildings from Jesus' time no longer remain.
This was built during the crusades, but underneath, archaeologists discovered the remains of an early Christian church. Dating back to a little more than 100 years after the death of Jesus, indicating the holy significance of this place to the earliest Christians. Excavations confirm the customs described in the gospels of the last supper.
PFANN: They would have one cup among every 10 to 20 people and they would all share a meal after they had the cup and the bread.
SHUBERT: The last supper lives on today in the Christian tradition of holy communion. The re-enactment of Jesus' instructions to partake of his body and blood as symbolized by the bread and wine. It has inspired masterpieces, yet biblical scholars say many depictions aren't accurate. For example, they don't show Jesus' significant following among women.
FATHER JEROME MURPHY O'CONNOR, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR: Areas with women fully participated, they were rubbed out of the story and only the men remained and the picture of say Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," only men.
SHUBERT: This is likely not the place where Jesus shared his last meal. Still, it is sacred to those pilgrims who come here to remember Jesus' last days. Throughout the day we've seen visitors and pilgrims coming from as far away as Nigeria, Russia and United States, coming here to sing and pray. Even if this is not the exact room of the last supper, clearly it is still a very holy site for many people.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Jerusalem.
GORANI: All right. We're out of time. I'm Hala Gorani.
CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.
Stay with CNN.
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