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Countering Russian Aggression; Four Rabbis Killed in Synagogue Attack; Imagine a World
Aired November 18, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: what does Putin want? Alarm bells are ringing in the Baltics and beyond.
Lithuania's foreign minister joins me live on what it will take to deter further aggression.
Also ahead, tensions arising yet again in the Middle East. A bloody synagogue attack in Jerusalem as the 11th hour nuclear talks begin between
Iran and world powers, Israel's intelligence minister will join me live.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
President Putin may have gotten the cold shoulder over Ukraine at the G20 summit and stormed out early with the unprecedented military flotilla
that followed him to Australia. But what's happening now should probably be sending cold tremors through Europe and the NATO alliance, a catalog of
dangerous cat-and-mouse brinkmanship between what are, after all, the world's most powerful nuclear nations.
Germany's foreign minister ended a trip to Moscow today, saying there is no grounds for any hope yet in resolving the Ukraine crisis.
But why not, given that Putin himself signed a cease-fire with the Ukrainian president in Minsk two months ago?
What does he want now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): NATO reports that Putin's men and military materiel are crossing into Eastern Ukraine again, which these pictures
appear to show while President Poroshenko warns they are ready in case of all-out war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So how did this happen?
Sanctions have punished the Russian economy but clearly they have not deterred these military moves. NATO says that it's already intercepted
three times more Russian aircraft this year than it did in 2012 and 2013 combined.
And Putin's latest war games seem directed at the Baltic States, which are, of course, NATO members, the alliance must defend them from any
So is the West doing what it takes to convince Putin not to make a dangerous miscalculation there?
The Baltic countries, to remind ourselves, are Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania's foreign minister is Linas Linkevicius. He joins me
now from the capital, Vilnius.
Foreign Minister, thank you so much for joining me.
LINAS LINKEVICIUS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about some of these near-misses and skirting around what's acceptable in your region by Russia, whether by air, by sea or
LINKEVICIUS: You know, it's not only in our region. It's everywhere in the world and everyone counts that they were some attempts to violate
airspace or to get closer to our borders during this year, the more than during last decade altogether.
So this is really not very much as a confidence building.
AMANPOUR: So does it worry you? I mean, let's face it, as we come on air, there are reports that NATO jets based in Lithuania had to scramble to
intercept a Russian fighter jet that was flying close to Baltic airspace.
LINKEVICIUS: Yes, they scrambled -- the reacting as often as it is necessary. And you know, most often the Russians are not violating any
rules or so they can fly in the neutral -- over the neutral waters. They can fly, so to see by the border. But look, really I would compare with a
car moving along the highway without lights, you know, 200 mph speeds. And this something like that.
So moving along the road. But this is really very dangerous. It's not just so to say increasing tension, but also quite a threat to
civilization, I would say.
AMANPOUR: Well, indeed. And one other of these points remind us that there was a near-miss between a civilian passenger jet and a Russian
surveillance flight several months ago. And only speedy action by the crew prevented a terrible midair collision.
So what do you think, then, is President Putin's game here?
LINKEVICIUS: You know, very difficult to predict, because whatever is happening now, it's really irrational. It's going to be stalemate.
They're ruining own economy, first of all, damaging their relations with neighbors, which is -- leaves to be said it's really difficult to predict.
But we have to stay united. We must keep the pressure. It's the only way we can influence and to make it really on time, not too late, not too
little, not to mislead targets. It's really the only way to keep pressure and on the other hand, we have to help Ukranian government because they
are facing outside. They're facing aggression from the outside. It's not civil war as one can try to present. No, it's really something coming from
outside and it will not stop, not help them to see -- to say water, this is really, well, big trouble. And so far we cannot see any improvements.
AMANPOUR: Well, indeed, nor can the German minister, who was in Moscow today. I mean, both Moscow and Germany basically said, hey, you
know, there's no hope for any resolution of the Ukraine crisis now.
And what we believe and what I'm going to ask you about is you must say or you must believe that these sanctions have punished the Russian
economy. But they don't seem to have deterred any further moves.
So what will deter further moves into Ukraine or a dangerous miscalculation over the Baltics?
LINKEVICIUS: No, Baltics in different situation. You mentioned yourself we are lucky enough and we made the right decisions 10 years ago,
joining NATO and European Union. But our people are uncertainly. And they're looking around what's happening, especially when leaders of Russia
are making statements, having nothing to do with what's going on the ground.
And even denying being party to the conflict, what I'm talking now. So very difficult to discuss these issues, to negotiate when you are
denying what is obvious and sometimes really some lies are spread and this is dangerous.
You know, we are well aware hearing about littering of oceans and organizing world summits, less do we hear about littering of minds. It's
not less dangerous.
AMANPOUR: The littering of minds. That's a very interesting way to put it. And you said that you were very lucky you made the right decision.
You joined NATO. Everybody knows that if anything happens to you, NATO will come to your rescue, come to your defense.
But that's the problem, isn't it? Because we're talking about a nuclear armed alliance and a nuclear Russia and your own reports are saying
that these aggressive moves towards the Baltic States could be risky at best, catastrophic at worst.
Do you worry that there's a miscalculation potentially by Russia?
LINKEVICIUS: Yes, we do, definitely. But again, coming back to your previous question, what could be done, again, since we're not sending
troops, we -- it's not discussed, by the way, Ukrainians are also not asking for that -- let's help them politically and militarily, financially
and on the other hand, also let's keep pressure because it's also not always happening, let's admit. We're reacting sometime, in our view, a bit
And even now, after the so-called elections in the beginning of November, situation sharply deteriorated. We all noticed not just
withdrawal arms from the border, but also they are still in Ukrainian territory. And we really reacting, in my view, a bit too slowly and
sometimes really sometimes missing even target because we have lists of these so-called targeted persons, applying sanctions to them. But more
than half from them having nothing to do with decision-making process in Russia.
We really acting not enough, in my view.
AMANPOUR: Right. So one of your colleagues, your Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsky, has suggested that perhaps move 10,000
NATO forces into Poland as a message.
Do you agree with that?
The NATO secretary general you'll all be meeting with him in Lithuania on Friday. Do you think that would be a good deterrent?
LINKEVICIUS: No, I'm not talking how big troops would be in Poland, but I know that there were very good decisions reached in Wales at NATO
summit, reassurance measures and very good guidance were given to also tasking the military authorities.
So I believe that that will be done. What was decided must be implemented. And secretary general, who is going to visit Baltic States --
and you're right, we will meet on Friday -- he mentioned not once that keyword now is implementation. I really 100 percent agree. Implementation
of what was decided in Newport, in Wales.
AMANPOUR: You know, there are even more worrying developments and I must say it sends my blood cold when I hear NATO say that Russia has moved
equipment into Crimea that could potentially carry nuclear warheads or nuclear weaponry.
When I hear reported, for instance, in the "Financial Times" the Russian president, of course, Vladimir Putin, has indeed told an audience
at home that outsiders should not, quote, "mess with us," because, quote, "Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."
I mean, this kind of muscle flexing, is that -- is that a message he wants to get out?
Or is that something that as crazy as it sounds, could suddenly become put on the table?
LINKEVICIUS: Let's assume that this idea to just, as you say, to -- muscle flexing but also to show that power, danger, threat and believe that
we will be split, that somebody will think that let's retreat, let's be more flexible, one can say, and then maybe the situation will come back to
But you know, there were numerous -- none of the engagement strategies has had -- worked so far. None of them. There were 100 and plus so to
see efforts to engage Russia, to talk, to be nice, as one can say. And relying that other side will do the same, I'm afraid that this is not the
case. And we really are not calling for some aggressive, so to say, stance or some dialogue. No, let's be just consistent. Let's just make clear our
messages. Let's so to implement what we decided to implement and that would be something, at least, for the beginning, because we will try to
retreat, to be flexible, other side will take it as encouragement, I would say, as a weakness, even, as the call to proceed with the policy, which is
really not along the lines we would like to see.
So this is really a difference in the thinking and we are learning by doing definitely and some of us, we are called maybe Russophobic, but we
are not. Who would like to have better relations than neighbors? Of course we would like to have. So trade partner, economic partner, but we
believe that these relations should be based on values and principles, not just on the interests and I'm sorry, but interests are slowly disappearing
from our vocabulary, which is a big, big mistake. It's time to get back to the source.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight.
And as the kindling grows in the tinderbox between Russia and the West, the other most volatile place in the world, the Middle East, just got
a lot more volatile. Killings in a Jerusalem synagogue and talks on Iran's nuclear future. I'll speak to Israel's defense and security minister --
when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
In the worst violence for six years in Jerusalem, four rabbis were killed today in a vicious attack on a synagogue by two Palestinian men
wielding knives and axes. Israeli police shot them dead and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, quote, "We will respond with a heavy hand." And
he has just ordered the homes of the terrorists to be demolished.
This violence comes at a key time for the region as major world powers and Iran resume talks on trying to reach a permanent deal limiting Iran's
nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. The Israeli government opposes any such deal and I'm now joined live from Jerusalem by Yuval
Steinitz, who is their intelligence minister.
Mr. Steinitz, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
YUVAL STEINITZ, ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE MINISTER: Good evening.
AMANPOUR: Let me first ask you about this horrible attack that took place in Jerusalem today. The prime minister made his statement; he's
obviously condemned. It's being condemned around the world.
He also blamed Abu Mazen, or the president of the Palestinian Authority, who himself has condemned it.
Why is that?
STEINITZ: Well, it's very clear that those two Palestinian terrorists were inspired maybe by ISIS who are now using knives to kill people, but
motivated and incited by Abu Mazen. It was Abu Mazen, two months ago, called all devoted Palestinian Muslims to defend al-Aqsa Mosque by all
means against who? Against the Jews who contaminate the mosque. And everybody know that it's the Palestinian president is calling Palestinian
Muslims to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque by all means, this would lead to riots and bloodshed and terrorist attacks as we saw since he made this
declaration in the last few weeks.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about, given the heated nature of what happened and the back-and-forth now between parties that are meant to have
been sitting around a table to try achieve peace, I mean, you're talking about Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas.
President Obama today has released a statement saying that at this sensitive moment, it's all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian
leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence and seek a path forward towards peace.
So you believe that that's at all possible?
Or are we going to see another spate of major violence?
STEINITZ: I hope not. But let's be very clear. You know, you have the cause and the effect. And the Palestinian Authority, not speaking
about Hamas, speaking about Abu Mazen and Abu Mazen media, government controlled TV, government controlled education system. The main messages
in the Palestinian media, government media and education system in the West Bank is that Israel should be eliminated from the map and Jews should be
exterminated or get out of the Middle East.
So the Palestinian media and the Abu Mazen -- I'm not speaking about Hamas -- I'm speaking about the so-called moderate Palestinian president,
is inciting against Israel and against the Jews on the daily base and this is the cause and what we saw today unfortunately is a horrible effect of
such horrible incitement, especially in the last 10 months, Abu Mazen began to ride the Islamic jihadist trend and to use it to try to use it in order
to incite Muslim Palestinians against Jews and unfortunately today we saw with some success.
AMANPOUR: You are the minister of intelligence. So you have a lot of information at your disposal. As you know, this horrible attack has come
amidst heightened tensions over the last several days and weeks, and particularly with the notion that there might be a different resolution
about what happens on the Haram al-Sharif, the Dome of the Rock.
Do you think that authorities will change the current status and allow anybody other than Muslims to pray there as they have over the last many
STEINITZ: See, this is a very good question because it just another example of the --
STEINITZ: Prime Minister Netanyahu made it very clear -- and it was clear from the outset -- that we are not changing the status quo. The
status quo is there for now four or five decades. Nobody spoke. The prime minister was clearly saying that there is going to be no changes in status
and still the Palestinian president called his people to defend al-Aqsa Mosque against the Jews and in the Palestinian media there were reports
about the Jewish government digging under the mosque, trying to destroy the mosque, trying to change the status quo, trying to replace the mosque. All
this is false propaganda with one aim: to incite against Jews, to incite against Israel and to cause riots and terrorist attacks against Jews. And
then to say I didn't mean it, I condemn it, I'm against violence, but I call all devoted Muslims to defend the mosques against the Jews.
AMANPOUR: Minister, can we --
STEINITZ: You know, this is double speech.
AMANPOUR: -- in the last remaining minutes, I want to move onto something else that gets your blood boiling as well, and that is the deal
that's being tried to be worked out between Iran and the world powers over a permanent nuclear agreement. And I know the government doesn't like it
doesn't trust it and I want to know from you whether you think such a thing is going to happen and what will the government do?
Prime Minister Netanyahu said they will not abide by any deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear state.
STEINITZ: Yes, this is very clear. We are not against a diplomatic solution unless -- I mean on the conditions that it would be comprehensive,
satisfactory solution. Iran shouldn't remain a threshold nuclear state. This will be extremely dangerous, not just for us, but to the future of
global security. And unfortunately, although the P5+1 made several moves towards the Iranians and several concessions, the Iranians still insist not
to give away all or most of the (INAUDIBLE) uranium enrichment. They still insist to preserve the nuclear capabilities and let me quote President
Obama, which I appreciate very much.
He said that no deal is better than bad deal. Unfortunately, what is now on the table is not a good deal but a choice between a bad deal and no
deal with the hopes that in the future, the pressure on Iran will force the Iranian to make significant concessions and to agree to a much better deal
in the near future.
AMANPOUR: I wish we had more time, Minister Yuval Steinitz. Thank you very much indeed for joining me tonight.
STEINITZ: Good evening.
AMANPOUR: And coming up next, in defense of the humble toilet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It keeps you from getting sick. It keeps you safe. It keeps your environment clean. But did you know that one-third of
humanity, 2.5 billion people worldwide, lack access to basic sanitation?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: They take hundreds of different forms, but whether latrine, lavatory or loo, most just take them for granted. But imagine a world
without toilets, trying to flush away death and disease. World Toilet Day -- I kid you not -- is next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where toilet taboo is a matter of life and death. For children, of course, it's something to
snigger at; for the rest of us, well, we'd rather not discuss it.
But for a third of the world, that's a luxury they just can't afford: 2.5 billion people struggle to find proper sanitation and 1 billion of them
are forced to squat in the open. Wednesday is World Toilet Day -- seriously. It's an opportunity for the United Nations and others to break
the silence and emphasize the importance of toilets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And how could they not? Vulnerable populations are taking stock, like these women in Delhi, holding toilet boils, marking a three-day
international toilet festival. And they are particularly vulnerable. Females are often forced to walk alone into the darkness of the night just
to relieve themselves and at the same time expose themselves to assault.
Just a single gram of human feces can contain 10 million viruses. Every single minute a child dies from diarrhea caused by unclean water or
lack of access to a toilet. The issue is most stark in India, where half the population -- that is nearly 600 million people -- defecate in the
open. Think about it. And the deadly bacteria seeping into the supply of water.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to build, quote, "toilets before temples." And UNICEF India is trying to get the country's
youngest on board with this song.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Now you get the message and, of course, it's a message vital for life and death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Although maybe not quite as elegant as the French Dadaesque Marcel Duchamp, who one century ago put a urinal in a museum and called it
art. Now we must call it a lifesaver.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always watch our show at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you
for watching and goodbye from London.