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Hamas, Fatah Form Unity Government; Violence Erupts Of Rio de Janeiro Streets; President Obama Visits Japan

Aired April 23, 2014 - 15:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Seismic changes in the Holy Land, a new alliance between former Palestinian foes could prove to be the final nail in the coffin in the Middle East peace process.

Also ahead on the move, U.S. vice president in Kiev, that American president himself in Tokyo, high level diplomacy and pressure on either side of the major powers in the east. We'll investigate the end game.

And understanding South Sudan. We'll hear from the UN official who says recent slaughter of hundreds will alter the future of the world's newest nation.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from Abu Dhabi. It is just after 7:00 here.

A major development in the Middle East this evening. Gaza based Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah have agreed to move forward in forming what they call a unity government in the next few weeks. Now that would end the political divide between the West Bank and Gaza and an election, they say, could be held in about six months time.

Let's go live now to world affairs report Elise Labott in Washington.

And the State Department John Kerry and his pals will be watching what is going on in the Middle East very closely today. Is this the end of the peace process as we know it, do you think?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we're coming upon that April 29 deadline for the end of negotiations and certainly the situation on the ground doesn't look like those talks are willing to -- are going to continue. And already Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister is pouring cold water on this agreement saying that Fatah is choosing peace over Hamas instead of peace with Israel.

But at the same time, Becky, you know over the last several years the Israelis have criticized the fact that the Palestinians are not unified and so they say that President Abbas is not negotiating on all of the Palestinians. So he really wants it both ways. and now it kind of remains to be seen whether what the U.S. will say about this agreement. Do they think it's a good thing that it'll unify the Palestinians and pave the way for elections or are they concerned that this will put a dent in the peace process, that's what they're trying to figure out right now how to respond to this.

ANDERSON: This must have been a scenario that they had planned for, because there have been discussions about this ongoing for some time. Any sense of how Washington will respond to this at present?

LABOTT: I think they're going to be very measured. You know that there had been fits and starts in this Palestinian reconciliation process in the past. And so I think initially what they're going to say is, well, let's see if it holds. We've seen this type of thing before. And then see how this goes forward.

You know, you're getting mixed messages from the Palestinians also. On one hand they're saying listen this will strengthen our hand in negotiations with the Israelis, that all Israelis (sic) united. And at the same time they're also saying that, well, now we're all unified, that talks are useless unless there is an occupation.

So I think it's going to depend on how the Palestinians want to proceed now that they're going to have a unity government. Will the U.S. deal with a government that has Hamas in the government? That's unclear. I think that everyone recognizes that it might have been a little bit shortsighted to completely abandon Hamas in 2006 when it led the government, because then you saw this division in the Palestinians over the last seven years or so.

So I think they're going to be very carefully initially and it could be a good thing if there are elections that will unify the Palestinians around someone who can deliver a peace agreement, but it could also be that the Palestinians are ready to stand firm. And I don't think the U.S. knows how the Palestinians are going to deal with this yet.

ANDERSON: All right. Elise Labott is in Washington for you.

And in about a half hour we're going to hear from Fatah political leader Mustafa Barghouti live from Gaza. We'll put some of those questions to him. That groundbreaking alliance in the Palestinian territories is what we are discussing, announced only hours ago.

Well, Ukraine says it will focus its anti-terror operation in four cities in the east. But pro-Russia activists refuse to give up their positions inside government buildings. Here is the very latest for you on what is going on on the ground.

The operation resumed after the discovery of two bodies near Slovyansk Kiev says one of the victims was a politician seen here last week who was killed. Kiev says he had been tortured and was drowned.

Meanwhile, NATO is sending a naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea. And American paratroopers are due to arrive in Poland for military exercises.

Well, Fred Pleitgen is live in Kiev with the very latest on the crisis. You're live in Kiev where for all intents and purposes things have sort of calmed down in the square where you are situated. On the ground, though, in the east much, much activity. What's the very latest as far as you know it?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, still a lot of activity, Becky, and certainly a lot of political arena here in Kiev, especially as you noted the government here in Kiev has announced that it's restarted what it calls that anti-terror operation. We've just been able to get some details from them as to what they actually mean by that. They say that they want to secure what they call the perimeter, so the area around those towns where those pro-Russian separatists are holed up in those government buildings. And then, they say, they want to launch raids into those places intermittently.

They also said don't expect any of this to move forward very quickly. They say they're going to take their time. However, we have seen in the past -- and you recall this from last week when the Ukrainians launched the initial anti-terror raids that they didn't go very well. And certainly there's a lot of people who doubt whether the Ukrainian military is, in fact, capable of launching such a sophisticated and complicated operation with the gear and also with the personnel it has.

Last week, of course, they launched a convoy of armored personnel carriers towards some of these towns. A lot of those were hijacked by pro-Russian separatists and then paraded around those towns, others were held up by mere civilians.

So there is a lot of movement. There's a lot of movement also in the east, as you say, where that politician was found dead. The Ukrainians are saying that it was the Russians, that there were traces of torture found on his body. The Russians are saying they believe right-wing Ukrainian militias were responsible.

So it's a lot of volatility. And certainly in the whole, we can say, that there is escalation instead deescalation. And this just one day after the U.S. vice president was here in this country, Becky.


Fred Pleitgen for you in Kiev.

To South Korea where hopes of finding survivors from last week's ferry disaster are quickly fading, I'm afraid. Divers continue to pull bodies from the depths of the sunken ship.

157 now confirmed dead with 45 still missing.

Now rescue teams are focusing their search on the third and fourth levels of the ferry. So far, though, they haven't found any air pockets in that area. And that news devastating blow to the families of missing passengers since those floors have been thought to be the most likely place to find anyone alive.

Well, South Korea says the North Korean Red Cross has sent its condolences. More than two-thirds of the passengers were students from a high school in Ansan (ph). As Andrew Stevens now reports, a memorial has been set up near that school.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A procession of the saddest kind, portraits of the young who will now never grow old. Laid on a bed of flowers of this makeshift memorial site in Ansan (ph) to be mourned by family and friends, all students of Danwan (ph) high school just a couple of hundred meters away from here.

Seven days after the ferry sank, the grieving continues. Seven days ago, 325 excited teenagers set off on board the ferry Sewol to Jeju Island, most will never come back.

Since the doors of this temporary memorial opened this morning, there's been a steady stream of people coming to mourn and to pay their respects. The pain, the anger, the despair it's all clear to see.

But now at least this town that's lost far too many of its sons and daughters has a focus for its grief.

It was a heart wrenching day. They came in pairs, in family groups as members of church groups and community clubs, some sporting their colors to weep and pray. And they also came alone. This man had driven from Seoul an hour away. He had no ties to the school. He was a father and his tears capture the anguish of a country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the father of two kids. I just fear that I'm really sorry about, because I can do nothing to this family, so I just want to come here to say I'm very sorry.

STEVENS: Some were school students, friends of those lost who still hoped for a miracle.

"My friend is still missing," she tells me, "but I believe that she'll come back here alive."

Emotions here are raw. This woman breaks down and vents her anger at what she sees as intrusive press. It is true that many families in this industrial town of three-quarters of a million people do not like talking to the media, preferring to keep their thoughts private.

But even so, there will be many, many more days like this.

Andrew Stevens, Ansan (ph), South Korea.


ANDERSON: Update you on one other big story that we have been following for you here on CNN. We are tracking a new development in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Investigators say a, quote, object of interest has been found some 300 kilometers south of Perth one Australia's western coast. An Australian official telling CNN it does appear to be sheet metal with rivets. He also, though, warned that, quote, the more we look at it the less excited we get.

Well, Malaysian officials say it is too early to tell if the object is from the missing plane. We will, of course, bring you any updates on that as soon as we get them.

Still to come this evening, with about 50 days to go before football's World Cup, the host city Rio de Janeiro erupts in more deadly violence. We explore the reasons behind the unrest.

Also ahead, the UN says hundreds of people have been slaughtered in South Sudan by rebel forces. We have a firsthand account from a top UN official on the ground.

Those stories are forthcoming in the next hour here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: This is CNN and Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. It is just 13 minutes past 7:00 here in the UAE.

U.S. President Barak Obama has kicked off what is a weeklong tour of Asia with a stop in Japan. He met the Japanese prime minister in Tokyo. He is to visit South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippine as well.

Now before President Obama stepped foot in Japan, he took sides on the issue of some disputed islands in the region. CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting. In the midst of the Ukraine crisis in which the U.S. has tried to take a lead in finding a diplomatic solution there, here comes this very important Asian trip in which some of the countries to be visited have very similar territorial worries, even disputes with China .

Now it's not so easy to espouse the values of national sovereignty and territorial integrity in one part of the world and then not address it in another. In fact, one Japanese newspaper asked President Obama about it even before he landed about these disputed islands about between Japan and China in the East China Sea. And the president didn't try to walk some middle ground. He definitively said he sides with Japan on this as the rightful administrator of those islands and said that the U.S. opposes efforts to undermine that.

Then you look at the Philippines and Malaysia, they have their own issues with China. So this is sure to be a topic that comes up again. And at times, it is a sensitive one as this trip progresses.

Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Tokyo.


LU STOUT: Well, while President Obama courts countries which have ongoing territorial disputes with one eastern Giant, China, his deputy Joe Biden has been dishing out pretty harsh words to another one, Russia.

There is a double pronged diplomatic mission underway. And Diana Magnay has the view from Moscow. A trip very much overshadowed for the U.S. president by what is going on with the crisis in Ukraine and indeed these very messy relations now between Russian and the U.S.

Any sense that this Asia tour is being covered by Russian media, or are we well focused on what's going on on this side?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the visit of Joe Biden is much closer to home for Russia at the moment. And if Joe Biden had very strong words for Russia, Becky, than Russia had similarly strong words in return saying that his visit makes it clear that this whole Ukraine situation is orchestrated by the U.S. the fact that this anti- terror operation has now been relaunched because of the discovery of two torture victims in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine -- or Kiev then deciding to relaunch the anti-terror operation and Russia saying that that is because Joe Biden, the U.S. vice president, is in Kiev right now.

So, Sergey Lavrov made some fairly strong comments in an interview with Russia today, saying that if Russia's interests were attacked, it would fight back.

Now of course what does it mean by Russia's interests? It's been very sort of broad brushed, describing in Ukraine certainly that it would protect the interests of ethnic Russians and also Russian-speakers. So this is this very sort of ambiguous terminology.

But certainly extremely threatening to hear the Russian foreign minister say that Russia would attack if citizens of Russia, if Russians interests were attacked.

All of this was you still have this very heavy troop presence on the border between Russia and Ukraine.

And also today, Becky, we had the arrival of U.S. troops into Poland. They will be conducting military exercises in various eastern European countries, not -- you can imagine that that is not going to go down very well here in Moscow either -- Beck.


Let's bring up a map then, showing where these U.S. forces are currently stationed. As you alluded to, U.S. paratroopers taking part in exercises in Poland. And their relation to both Russia and Ukraine.

To the north, Estonia is one of the former Soviet Baltic states has been on edge since this crisis began. And Poland, Di, has a long border with Western Ukraine.

These exercises, we are told, planned well ahead of what we've heard from Sergey Lavrov today about how if Russian interests are attacked that they will retaliate. But some will see this U.S. paratroop buildup on the border as pretty provocative.

MAGNAY: Absolutely. And I suppose from the U.S. perspective it's fair enough given what they see as a troop buildup on the Russian border.

But Russia's biggest fear, or certainly one of its biggest stated fears is this idea that NATO is infringing on its western border, that NATO may one day absorb Ukraine. And that is why it's particularly prickly for Moscow to see these troops deployed there. You remember how agitated the Russians got about missile defense systems being placed in Poland.

You know, this is all part of -- plays into those fears.

So, sure, it is provocative at a time when the situation in Ukraine itself doesn't show any signs of reaching a solution. I mean, if anything Geneva has proven itself to be nothing. And both sides have built up their arms. And the pro-Russian groups have reinforced their positions. And Russia is saying it's up to Kiev to do something about this. And the west is saying it's up to Russia.

So we're at the same impasse despite the supposed diplomatic steps achieved last week in Geneva.

ANDERSON: Yeah, you rightly point out the problem that Russia has had for some time is this sense that Moscow gets a bit NATO encroachment on its borders.

All right, for the time being, Di, thank you very much indeed. Diana Magnay on the story for you in Moscow.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up with just 50 days to go until Brazil's World Cup, a flareup of violence in Rio. Very nasty. Details on what sent protesters into the streets and the impact of social unrest on what is and will be one the world's biggest sporting events. An important story, that.

And the scars left by Boko Haram tell the tale of violent militancy in Nigeria. A man who survived a horrific explosion talks to CNN.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You are now at the Global Exchange, the part of the show when we talk emerging markets.

There is an uneasy calm on the streets of Rio de Janeiro this hour. Late Tuesday protesters clashed with police and burned barricades in the city's Copa Cabana neighborhood.

Now demonstrators took to the streets after young male dancer was found dead in one of Rio's infamous slums. Brazilian media say that residents blame police for his death.

This is a messy situation. These latest protests come less than two months before Brazil hosts the football World Cup. Ominous signs before what is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

Emerging markets editor John Defterios joining me at the Global Echange.

John, the near-term problem, the World Cup 50 days away. There is a medium-term problem, they've got the Olympics, of course, in Rio in 2016. And when you see pictures like we've seen over the past 24 hours they do not look as if they're ready, do they?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, in fact, there's alarm bells not only for the World Cup within this 50 day margin that you're talking about, but also for the 2016 Summer Games.

If you go back to 2007 when they secured the World Cup it was like the BRICs have arrived. It's not just Brazil -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and then adding South Africa, it was they had the soft power and they're going to be able to host these two large events.

But the challenge is is that spending has gotten out of control. Let's take a look at what I'm talking about.

They've come forward now and basically have suggested that the spending targets have gone up 25 percent above budget. If you take a look at the World Cup in 2014, we're looking at better than $10 billion. And for Rio 2016, again over budget about 25 percent at nearly $16.5 billion.

Now there's widespread discussion on Facebook and on Twitter, why are we spending this sort of money when we've seen such a massive slowdown. They're suggesting we'd rather have our health care, we'd rather have our infrastructure, we'd rather have better education. Some $27 billion being funneled into something that's not going to pay off beyond the branding. If we don't get it right it's not going to be a payoff for branding as well.

ANDERSON: This could be called -- perhaps this is an understatement, mismanagement by the Brazilian president. Tell us about her and her history, as it were, because this isn't the first time people have talked about Dilma Rousseff mismanaging things.

DEFTERIOS: Well, in fact she was the minister of energy and made her name with the buildup of Patrobras. And that hasn't been delivered right now. She's built a reputation in the most recent past with regards to the World Cup and the Olympics for micromanagement, kind of have flashbacks to Jimmy Carter who wanted to deal with the details, but not delivering the big picture for two big global events. What does that tell us going forward?

They miss President Lula. He was the leftist that could deliver this economic growth, the expansion to $2.5 trillion for the Brazilian economy. And we had since her time in office a peak of 7.5 percent growth in 2010. But take a look, Becky, what has happened ever since? They've not broken through 2.5 percent. So you had this 7.5 percent growth in 2010, 2.7 percent in 2011. They couldn't even break 1 percent in 2012, and now it's just becoming out of that global recovery and struggled to just get above 2 percent last year.

Real concerns right now, the Diadora Complex is going to be in Rio. The work hasn't started. So in fact the IOC and some of the sports federations said it is the worst crisis we have seen in the Summer Games in better than 20 years. I covered the Olympics buildings in 2004, all that panic in 2002, 2003. This suggesting the situation we're seeing now in Brazil overall is worse than we saw 20 years ago.

Pretty amazing, these are the field artists of the big, beautiful game. They've one five World Cups, but they're going to struggle to get this out with any sort of hiccups.

ANDERSON: We always talk about struggles ahead of these big events, don't we. And to a certain extent that we have to be mindful that things accelerate as we get there. But I think you're making some very good points tonight. This is going to be watched. Thank you. John Defterios at the exchange for you.

Now, most success hungry entrepreneurs would tell you there are not enough hours in a day. Try saying that to Buken Makhokha on this week's African startup. Meeting the enterprising businessman who pulled himself out of poverty.


BUKEN MAKOKHA, SKYHIGHSWISS COURIER: Hi, my name is Buken. I run a delivery service. I also have a barber shop. And I sell the best (inaudible) in town here in Nairobi, Kenya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 23-year-old Buken Makokha has become a multitasking businessman out of necessity, and pulled himself out of poverty.

He grew up on this slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. He says one of his biggest challenges was feeling alone.

MAKOKHA: You don't have a mentor. You have no place. You've got (inaudible) for help.

Work is (inaudible). For everyday work very hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Determined to make it, he started his first business three years ago, a barber shop for the local community. He calls is Clean Tough.

MAKOKHA: ...barber shop to (inaudible). So I started shaving the people and charging their phones (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then about a year ago, Buken got a motorbike and began making personal deliveries around town. He's now the general manager of SkyHighSwiss Courier service.

MAKOKHA: Now the courier is different from the barber, because the barber is I get the people I live around with. And then courier I started the people outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He first had to get a driver's license, then he made business cards and created a website to market the company. Now, he makes delivery all over Kenya's bustling capital.

MAKOKHA: The most selling that I'm getting (inaudible) that there's a fierce competition in the market, but it does not kill my spirit. In fact, it's much (inaudible).

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: Back in his neighborhood, he can now afford to pay for his own living space and is putting himself through school.

MAKOKHA: My business is paying for my education. I want to change the way I'm living.

This is my home library with all the school books.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: He wants to better the lives of his community as well. His most recent investment is buying and selling eco-zoom clean burning stoves.

MAKOKHA: For now, I'll sell like 13 stoves so that motivates me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the World Health Organization indoor air pollution is responsible for a 1.5 million deaths each year in developing countries.

Eager to make a different, Buken is dreaming big just like the theme of his courier business, the sky is the limit.

MAKOKHA: My biggest dream in this world is to have like a social business enterprise to help with (inaudible). I want to inspire young people like me.



BUKEN MAKOKHA, SKYHIGHSWISS COURIER: My biggest dream in this world is to have a social business enterprise to help fight poverty. I want to inspire young people like me.



ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD from the terrace in Abu Dhabi, it is a very good evening at half past 7:00 here. Your news headlines.

A contingent of US paratroopers has arrived in Poland for training exercises. The Pentagon says the military exercises are as a result of what is going on in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Kiev has assumed its -- resumed its military operation to remove pro-Russian militants, as they call them, holed up in government buildings in the east.

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues. Australian officials are analyzing what they call an object of interest. That is something that was found about 300 kilometers south of Perth. One search official says it appears to be a metal object with rivets, but he also warned that, quote, "the more we look at it, the less excited we get," end quote.

Divers searching a sunken ferry off South Korea say they have not found any air pockets in the third and fourth levels. They say that suggests there is little hope of finding anybody alive on the ship. So far, 157 bodies have been recovered, 145 people are still missing.

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed to form a unity government after seven years of in-fighting. The agreement, announced in Gaza, calls for national elections, possibly in six months' time.

I want to take you live to Gaza, now. Joining me straight from the reconciliation talks is the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, Mustafa Barghouti. Sir, thank you for joining us. Firstly, your reaction and your thoughts on what has happened -- what? -- in the last couple of hours, the announcement of this unity government.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN LAWMAKER: I am very proud, actually, of what we've managed to do. The delegation that negotiated with Hamas was not only a Fatah delegation, it included all parties from the PLO. And we managed to succeed in 22 hours to resolve a lot of things that have been very difficult to resolve in the past.

The meaning of what was done today is that we regained back -- or we're going to regain back our lost democratic system. We will have a legislative power again, a parliament, to which a government would be accountable. We will have a unified government for the first time since 2007, and we will have free and democratic elections.

And as a matter of fact, this is an end, I hope, of traditional politics where one-party rule was taking over and one-party rule was substituting another one-party rule to the level that divide the country into two pieces. Now we are talking about sharing power, about pluralism, about hopefully what could become a model of true democracy.

ANDERSON: OK. This isn't the first time that Palestinians themselves seeing what was described as a unity deal. How different is this, and how significant, do you think? People will say, well, the expectations are it may not last.

BARGHOUTI: Well first of all, we did not create a new agreement. What we agreed about is the implementation of many agreements that were agreed upon before. And all our talks took very practical approach in the sense of starting from this moment, the president has to start forming the new government.

So, we are talking about not things that have to wait or will be negotiated, but about practical steps that we'll take -- will be in action immediately. This is one difference.

The other difference is that I think both Fatah and Hamas realize how much of the public is angry about their division and about the loss of democracy and about the systems of nepotism and clientelism. And I think they know they will pay a high cost for this. That's why this is important. Third - -

ANDERSON: All right.

BARGHOUTI: -- it is very clear to everybody that negotiations with Israel will not lead to anything unless we change the balance of power, and it is so important for us to be unified if we want to save the Palestinian cause and get our freedom and independence --

ANDERSON: All right.

BARGHOUTI: -- and the end of occupation.

ANDERSON: Let me get our viewers just some of the thoughts of others involved in both this deal today and how the Israeli prime minister has reacted to it. Firstly, Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister, and I quote, "I salute our people, I bless them. This is the end of the period of division," as you have suggested.

This, though, from the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on the possibility of a Palestinian reconciliation. Have a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISREAL: You're coming at an important time. We're trying to relaunch the negotiations with the Palestinians. Every time we get to that point, Abu Mazen stacks on additional conditions which he knows Israel cannot give.

So, instead of moving into peace with us, well, he's moving into peace with Hamas. And he has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one, but not the other. I hope he chooses peace. So far, he hasn't done so.


ANDERSON: Your response?

BARGHOUTI: I respond by saying first of all, Mr. Netanyahu is playing games here. If we are divided and not unified, he will say, "I can't make a deal with Mr. Abbas because he does not represent all Palestinians because they are divided."

And if we are unified, he says we have to choose between Hamas and peace. Actually, he is the one who doesn't want peace. Netanyahu does not want peace because he wants to keep Israeli illegal settlements.

For seven years he's been negotiating with Mr. Abbas, and there was a division, and there was no unity with Hamas, and still he did not make peace, not because of Hamas's presence or absence, but because he did not want to stop illegal settlements in occupied territories and because he insists on transforming --

ANDERSON: All right.

BARGHOUTI: -- the West Bank into a class (inaudible) rather than a true state. So, in reality, he is abusing our weakness because we are divided, and the possibility for peace will be greater if we are unified because this will make a better balance of power.

And more than that, I personally believe the only peace that will last will be between two democracies. And what we are trying to do today here --


BARGHOUTI: -- is to build a democracy.

ANDERSON: The US-brokered peace deal was -- had a deadline set for the end of the month. That is next week. Washington will be looking at what has happened today and considering how that can possibly continue in the short- term, given that Hamas is unwilling, or has been in the past, to recognize the state of Israel.

Has that changed, or does Hamas stand true to its word on what it thinks about the state of Israel and that it won't recognize it. And if so, surely you will have to agree today that this US-brokered deal is dead in the water.

BARGHOUTI: Not really. It depends on Israel. If Israel wants to stop settlement activities and accept the right of Palestinians to have a free independent state, I assure you that Hamas will also accept that.

I think today we discuss the political situation. It is very clear to me that they will approve and accept a two-state solution, but they wouldn't step into recognizing Israel before Israel recognizes the Palestinian state.

At the end of the day, Mr. Abbas is representing the Palestinians in these talks, and if Israel wants peace, they can make a deal with him. He is now going to be representing all the Palestinians, and he is going -- he is able to deliver, if they want him to deliver.

But as long as Israel says Palestinians have no right to have a capital in Jerusalem, and no Palestinian refugee will be allowed to come home, and Palestinians have no right to control their borders, and Israeli army will stay inside the West Bank, and Palestinians have no right to control their water or airspace, or electromagnetic field, how can we have a solution?

We agreed on a compromise of a state besides Israel, but Israel is compromising that compromise. In my opinion, what we've done today is a great contribution to peace because today you can see all Palestinians in one camp.

And if we sign an agreement, it would be committing to all Palestinians and not to part of them. If Mr. Netanyahu wanted really peace, he should be happy about what happened today.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there, sir. We thank you very much. And it's been a very, very busy day on what has been a breaking story from your region. For the time being, thank you very much. And we will move on.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in South Sudan as rebel forces march on Bentiu, the capital of the oil-rich state. CNN spoke to the UN's top representative in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, a short while ago. He describes the latest acts of violence as a game-changer.


TOBY LANZER, UNITED NATIONS MISSION SOUTH SUDAN (via telephone): I think at the moment in South Sudan, what we're facing is an internal conflict, which erupted on the 15th of December. So, just over four months ago.

It has quickly engulfed half of the country, in particular, the northeast of the country. And it has put the lives of some 7 million people at risk, certainly at severe risk of hunger and disease. And it has plunged the country into a severe crisis.

It turned violent on the evening of the 15th of December, and things quickly spread throughout different parts of the country. They moved from the capital, Juba, north to Bor, then a town called Bentiu, another town called Malakal. And these are significant towns.

Bentiu is the main town in Unity state, that's one of South Sudan's ten states, and it's a particularly relevant one because it's one of the two oil-producing states. The government was in control of the town of Bentiu. Last week, the town changed hands, and the opposition forces took control of Bentiu.

From what we know thereafter, the radio station in Bentiu was used to propagate messages which have incited considerable violence, which targeted certain ethnic groups, women, and foreign nationals very deliberately.

And this lead to a two-day spree of violence, during which hundreds and hundreds of civilians lost their lives. And so, I've just been up in Bentiu for a couple of days, and I have to say that I've been exposed to many, many things in my 20 years or so working in fragile states and in conflict situations, but what I found in Bentiu was particularly atrocious.

The level of violence, the way in which it was meted out against people in a very deliberate way, is particularly troubling. So, the country has been plunged into a crisis, and it's absolutely vital that during the months of April and May, we see some form of cessation of hostilities, some form of reconciliation.


ANDERSON: And CNN following developments in Nigeria as well in the search for nearly 200 girls kidnapped from their school. But according to the government, there is no progress to report. The governor of Borno state, where the girls were abducted at school, tells CNN there are no updates on the fate of the missing girls or, indeed, the rescue operation.

Now, parents, as you can understand, are frustrated and increasingly desperate. According to the Agence France press news agency, local residents issued a plea for mercy directly to the Boko Haram militants believed responsible. The group, though, has not issued any statements of its own.

This year alone, 1500 people have died in Boko Haram-related violence. CNN's Vladimir Duthiers talked with the survivor of one attack about the day he says will haunt him forever.



VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Daniel Ayuba, every attack by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram causes him to relieve a nightmare.

AYUBA (through translator): I kept on crying, crying for someone to come help me. Help me! But no one would come.

DUTHIERS: In 2012, insurgents planted an IED near his car wash in Maiduguri. The explosion shattered his left leg and left 80 percent of his body scarred by shrapnel.

AYUBA (through translator): I looked around me at the area affected by the bomb. There was fire burning, houses blown up, and dead people.

DUTHIERS: It wasn't Daniel's first encounter with the violence so common in northeastern Nigeria. Eight years earlier, his father, a policeman, was ambushed by militants, who sprayed his car with gunfire, killing him.

AYUBA (through translator): When my father arrived, then they came out. One of them shot him here.

DUTHIERS: And the violence has expanded beyond the northeast. On April 14th, when a device planted by Boko Haram exploded at a crowded bus station in Abuja, killing more than 70 people and wounding more than a hundred, Daniel was shaken.

AYUBA (through translator): When I heard the news, I thought to myself, this is Boko Haram's doing. What's wrong with these people?

DUTHIERS: The explosion left a massive crater in the middle of the car par. Dozens of cars and buses were ripped apart, along with the people waiting to board them.

DUTHIERS (on camera): What I see all around me, here, in addition to the shards of glass and the hunks of metal torn from the sides of these buses by the force of this blast, are personal belongings. And they're mixed with human blood and tissue.

AYUBA (through translator): I thought of what happened in Nanya, and I said that that is was the same thing that happened to me. It was the same experience I went through. In Nanya, the bomb killed people, destroyed vehicles, destroyed motorbikes so that you couldn't even recognize them.

DUTHEIRS (voice-over): Daniel survived his ordeal, and for that, he's grateful, even if the memories are as fresh as the scars that never seem to heal.

AYUBA (through translator): It was God that saved me. He kept me alive for a purpose. And I ask God every day to reveal that purpose to me.

DUTHIERS: Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Abuja.


ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, it is 47 minutes past 7:00. This is CONNEC THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

Now, climbers on Mount Everest depend on their Sherpa guides to get them to the summit. But after last week's deadly avalanche, some Sherpas are threatening to go on strike. More on that up next.

And a special performance, we bring you Shakespeare's "King Lear" with a Syrian twist.


ANDERSON: Nepal's government has agreed to compensation package demanded by Sherpas who help foreign climbers reach the summit of Mount Everest. Now, it comes in the wake of last Friday's avalanche, which killed at least 13 Sherpas. It was the worst single-day loss of life since climbing expeditions began. Now, that accident came close to shutting down this year's climbing season altogether.


JAMLING TENZING NORGAY, SON OF SHERPA TENZING NORGAY: Shutting down the mountain was the opinion of the Sherpas, some of the Sherpas, as a form of respect for the Sherpas that had died last week on the mountain.

But I think it's the decision of the Sherpas, the 300-odd Sherpas that are still up on the mountain and their teammates and the government to come to an understanding as to whether they will continue to climb this season or not.


ANDERSON: Jamling Tenzing Norgay is the son of legendary Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. In 1953, he teamed with Sir Edmund Hillary to become the first to summit the world's highest peak. The younger Norgay says the teamwork and cooperation his father experienced no longer exists.


NORGAY: Mountaineering, climbing, not only Everest, but mountaineering in general, is about teamwork. When my father climbed with Hillary, the whole team, the Western climbers and the Sherpas together worked together in setting the routes and carrying the supplies together.

These days, it's all -- everything is done by the Sherpas, the overnight mountaineers come, they want to climb Everest, tick it off the list. And that poses a great risk on that particular person, and in case something happened to him, then it threatens the lives of the other Sherpas who have to help this guy down the mountain.


ANDERSON: Well, an American climber says his Sherpa is the reason that he survived Friday's deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. Jon Reiter says his guide pushed him to safety just moments before falling ice and snow rushed past him. Reiter's guide is alive, but as I say, 13 Sherpas were killed and three more have not been found.

Well, coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD live from Abu Dhabi for you, Behind Barbed Wire, how Shakespeare is inspiring a cast of young Syrian refugees. That after this.


ANDERSON: Today is the day the birth of William Shakespeare is celebrated, 450 years ago. On tonight's Parting Shots, we take you to the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Actor and director Nawar Bulbul wanted to find a way to give Syria's war-torn kids an escape. So, he gave the Shakespeare's "King Lear." Have a listen to this.


NAWAR BULBUL, ACTOR/DIRECTOR (through translator): We started on a journey to bring Shakespeare to the refugees, and I don't know where our journey will end. More than 100 kids took part in the performance. Most stood in the chorus, while a few kids at a time would go into the middle to play a small scene.

We wanted to play from the dream that all children around the world have, and let them enact it. All kids dream of being the hero, the knight, the queen, or the princess. The play was a way to realize a small part of their dreams. We treated it like a fairytale that they could bring to life, using their own imagination, their own dreams, their own desires.

The production, the decorations, the scenery, and the costumes were all made from the waste and trash of Zaatari Camp. The children themselves designed and made everything.

For this one day, we took the children out of the state of war and put them on a stage. They got to be artistic, to think about their characters, and about how they'll design their crowns, and how they'll perform, and how they can be their very best on that day.


ANDERSON: "I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed. Or are you?" William Shakespeare for you. The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. Let's get Willie tonight,, have your say.

You can tweet me @BeckyCNN, come on, have your favorite quotes from Mr. Shakespeare. Instagram is Becky CNN, of course, Twitter @BeckyCNN.

I am Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. I hope you enjoyed the show, after all, it is yours. Join the global conversation with us. For the time being, thank you for watching. From Abu Dhabi, it is a very good evening. Your headlines, though, follow.