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CONNECT THE WORLD
New Details on the Amtrak Train Derailment Investigation; Israel About to Swear in New Cabinet; Could a Nuclear Defense System for Gulf Region Be in the Works? Aired 11:00-12:00p ET.
Aired May 14, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:10] Male: The crash still feels like a dream, like how could this happen?
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST OF "CONNECT THE WORLD WITH BECKY ANDERSON": Israel is about to swear in a new cabinet and it includes some very
Tonight - what is Benjamin Netanyahu's new government mean "for the future of the country"?
Also ahead - could a nuclear defense system for the Gulf region be in the works? We're live at Camp David where U.S. President Barack Obama is
hosting GCC leaders right now.
DIEGO MARADONA, RETIRED ARGENTINE FOOTBALLER, VIA INTERPRETER: Because rats can get anywhere in the world, he is the president of FIFA.
He knew how to get that position.
ANDERSON: I sit down with football legend Diego Maradona for an exclusive interview to find out who he's throwing his weight behind in the
race to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA boss.
Male Announcer: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is "Connect the World with Becky Anderson."
ANDERSON: A very good evening. It's 7 o'clock here in the UAE. What is happening right now in Israel could shape future policy there for
months, even years to come.
Now we're waiting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to formally present his new government to parliament. Now a vote could come in about
an hour. Mr. Netanhayhu barely scraped together enough seats of former coalition, you'll remember, but he has now managed to expand his cabinet -
try to broaden his support.
Mr. Netanyahu's concessions to a far right party especially the justice minister role coming under scathing criticism. "The Jerusalem
Post" quotes opposition leader Isaac Herzog as saying, "A gang of extremists has taken over the helm." Let's get you to Jerusalem for the
very latest. Oren Liebermann joining us live. (AUDIO GAP).
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of the criticism of this right wing government has focused on that new justice minister poised to be
sworn in in just a few hours. Ayelet Shaked - she's been accused of being openly racist, making openly racist comments while she's a rising star of
the right wing.
LIEBERMANN: Israel's new justice minister Ayelet Shaked is outspoken, conservative and controversial. Increasingly popular among right wing
voters, Shaked is not afraid to show disdain for the left like when she said this before the election -
AYELET SHAKED, NEW JUSTICE MINISTER FOR ISRAEL, TRANSLATED BY LIEBERMANN: This is the time for a large national camp standing against
the left and a stable national government that's not made up of many smaller parties but of two large parties - Likud and Jewish Home.
LIEBERMANN: The 39-year-old is a rising start in the right wing Jewish Home Party, one of very few women and the only secular party member.
In her two years in the Knesset she quickly climbed the ladder of Israeli politics while becoming a lightning rod for criticism. She
campaigned against African migrants entering Israel and complained Israel Army Radio is too leftist.
The outspoken Shaked made headlines in the run up to the Gaza War by defending a post on her Facebook page written by someone else that referred
to Palestinian children as, quote, "Little snakes." Shaked accused the media of twisting her words but the Facebook post has followed her ever
AHMED TIBI, MEMBER OF KNESSET, JOINT ARAB LIST: We are talking about a prominent radical and racist figure under (ph) class (ph).
LIEBERMANN: Ahmed Tibi is an Israeli Arab and Knesset member. He says there can be no hope for justice with Ayelet Shaked as justice
minister, especially since Shaked has campaigned to limit the Supreme Court's power.
TIBI: Maybe she thinks that Arabs are here enemies - even citizens of the state of Israel. But I think that she is the enemy of the high court
LIEBERMANN: Shaked has strong supports. Avraham Diskin, a professor of political science at Hebrew University says Shaked has shown she can be
a successful justice minister even without any legal experience.
AVRAHAM DISKIN, PROFESSOR, HEBREW UNIVERSITY: So she is a very capable and knowledgeable person. I'm not saying that she's perfect. But
given her strengths, I say that she is the perfect person for the job.
LIEBERMANN: Ayelet Shaked declined to speak with us. Her spokeswoman says she's not doing interviews now. She's received death threats in
recent days and the Knesset has given her extra security.
Shaked will be part of the cabinet in a bare minimum 61-seat coalition. Her government and perhaps her political future are already
LIEBERMANN: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to present his government, his cabinet and to speak in just about an hour. Becky,
it'll be a little bit after that, all the parties speak after that and then the swearing in will be tonight and this government will be off and
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann reporting for you. Thank you, Oren. We're trying to get a sense of exactly who is in charge in the African nation of
Burundi some 24 hours after an army general announced a coup had been carried out there.
[11:05:08] CNN's Robyn Kriel is watching what is this tense situation from nearby Kenya joining us now. Do we know what is going on and quote,
who is "running" the country at this point?
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we have no idea, Becky. When you speak to one faction it sounds as if everything is under control. I spoke
to the government spokesperson for President Nkurunziza, the two-term president for ten years leading Burundi who was seeking his controversial
third term. And according to him, everything was very stable, there was still sporadic gunfire but none within the city of Bujumbura that the
airport was back under government control, that loyalist troops to the government and to the president had overthrown those coup plotters. He
also said yesterday when we asked him about this coup that it was a complete joke.
However, when you hear from people on the ground, they're reporting gunfire from within the city and indeed from the state broadcaster itself -
lasting for hours, semi-automatic weapons, grenades being thrown and incredible tension on the streets.
ANDERSON: We hear there are rival gangs effectively fighting each other on the streets. Is it clear even who is allied with whom at this
point and what the demands are?
KRIEL: Well yes, what initially - what initially happened, Becky, is that there two - there was sort of two main factions - the opposition,
people opposing Pierre Nkurunziza, the current president's bid for a third term - and presidential loyalists, people who believe that he had every
right to contest a third term despite the fact that the constitution says a sitting president can only be in charge for two terms - a total of ten
They were initially protesting against police - they were clashing with police. They were clashing police almost every day. About 20 people
were killed in total when police were firing live ammunition. Government says five policemen were killed as well.
Then that sort of spiraled into even more person and bloody attacks. Youth members from opposition groups and presidential loyalist groups
started to attack each other, stoning, beating, burning one another. It got really quite nasty on the streets.
But all that time, the army was really seen as a buffer between protesters and loyalists - people against the president and for the
president. The army was apolitical, sympathetic to both sides and seen as almost a peacemaker between those sides.
Then yesterday at noon a general former spy chief of the military announcing that there was a coup, that he was throwing the president out.
And ever since then it's become really, really confusing as to exactly what the situation is on the ground in Burundi.
ANDERSON: Robyn reporting for you out of Kenya this evening. Well we shift now to what is (inaudible) train wreck in the U.S. city of
Philadelphia. Investigators are now focused on the speed of the train as it entered a curve. Initial data shows the train was traveling at more
than twice the speed limit when it crashed. More on that in a moment.
We're just hearing that several people are still reported to be missing. One facility treating the victims says some of the injured
passengers had ties to Spain, to India, Belgium and to other countries.
Now a hospital's chief medical officer described how many who were hurt sustained their injuries.
DR. HERBERT CUSHING, TAMPA UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: The injuries that were sustained by most folks because they had things fall on them and those
things included other people. So there was a very common story I heard. I would ask people to - those who were awake - what happened to you? And
they said, oh, somebody fell on me. And it's not just sort of falling on them - people were hurled violently against each other.
And there was some luggage flying around. And then some of the injuries were people being thrown against seats and, you know, the sides of
the train compartments when it flipped over.
ANDERSON: Well that's what happened or certainly the reports of what happened. For why? Let's get more on the investigation. CNN's Erin
McLaughlin joining us now from Philadelphia. What do we know at this point?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Becky. Well the man who could provide vital clues to the answer - to the question - as to why the train
was traveling at more than twice the speed limit - well he's saying he simply doesn't remember what happened.
His lawyer Robert Goggin gave an interview to ABC's "Good Morning America." He says that he suffered a head injury in the crash. Take a
ROBERT GOGGIN, ATTORNEY FOR BRANDON BOSTIAN: I believe as a result of the concussion, he has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events.
I'm told that his memory is likely to return as the concussion symptoms subside.
[11:10:08] GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC CHIEF NEWS ANCHOR: But he spent six hours with the police. What did he tell them?
GOGGIN: Everything that he knew - cooperated fully.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what does he know? What is the last thing he remembers?
GOGGIN: He remembers coming into the curve, he remembers attempting to reduce speed, thereafter he was knocked out, thrown around just like all
the other passengers in that train.
MCLAUGHLIN: Goggin says his client, 32-year-old Brandon Bostian, provided blood samples to the authorities as well as his cell phone.
Understand that authorities are now applying for a search warrant to be able to look at his phone records.
They're exploring the possibility that Bostian may have been on the phone and distracted at the time of the crash. Robyn. Sorry - Becky.
Erin, thank you. That's all right - don't worry, it's been a long day I'm sure. Thank you. There's been another train derailment I'm afraid in
the U.S. state of Pennsylvania this accident occurred in Pittsburg in the west of the state. And you see live pictures. Several freight cars
jumping the track in a residential area.
A local station reporting seven cars are overturned - all of them believed to be empty. There are no reports thankfully of casualties in
this accident. And word yet on the cause. We'll bring you updates as soon as they are available to us of course as you would expect.
Welcome tonight. You're watching "Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson. It is 11 minutes past 7 here in the UAE.
A former U.N. prosecutor ended the legal fray in Libya. We'll talk with Luis Moreno Ocampo about why he is getting involved in the turmoil
First up though how worries about Iran are seeping into Washington's key relations with key allies. We're live from Camp David in a moment.
ANDERSON: A prince at the Pentagon. This is Saudi Arabia's defense minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman arriving to meet U.S. defense secretary
Ash Carter on Wednesday. He is representing the kingdom as Gulf cooperation talks with Mr. Obama are about Iran's nuclear program and
Middle East stability.
This is CNN and "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. In just a moment we'll take you live to Camp David where Prince
Mohammad bin Salman and other GCC representatives will be holding talks with U.S. President Barack Obama all day.
But first to some news coming to us from the Gulf region. And a U.S. official tells CNN five Iranian boats have fired shots across the bow of a
vessel in international waters off the coast of the UAE - the United Arab Emirates - where we are.
[11:15:01] The UAE has sent three Coast Guard boats out to the Singapore flagged cargo ship. CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr
following that story for us and joining us live. Getting very little information on that this end, what can you tell us?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, even as at Gulf some of it's going on here in Washington. Just a few miles from where
you are a lot of drama on the high seas.
It was about six or seven hours ago. The Singapore (clears throat) - pardon me - flagged vessel was approached by five Iranian gunboats.
They fired on it according to U.S. officials trying to disable the cargo vessel, get it to go into Iranian waters. Instead, the vessel
turned, went into UAE waters and the Iranians kept firing at it. Several rounds hitting the ship before the UAE sent out some of its own Coast Guard
This is the latest incident from the Iranians believed to be Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy ships in several weeks.
There's a lot of concern in the Persian Gulf right now about what the Iranians are up to, why they keep challenging shipping. They have a
variety of reasons - they've had contract disputes with - they say - with some of the ships, they've had financial disputes they say.
But look, you know, this is the economic lifeline of that region, so there's a lot of concern about this instability. Becky.
ANDERSON: Barbara Starr with the very latest on that. Meantime away from this region and back in the States, an update on President Obama's
meetings with crucial allies from this region. Mr. Obama just left Washington for Camp David. The presidential retreat is in Maryland of
course where he will host the summit.
Today he and representatives from six Gulf nations will discuss security issues as well as U.S. efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program who
so far will not be at the table. Of course it's gotten as much attention as the summit itself and that's a story that we've been following for you
all of this week.
Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is live for us now at Camp David. And while the talk at the beginning of the week was, you know, is
King Solomon of Saudi Arabia who was obviously extended an invitation as were other leaders of this region. Are they snubbing President Obama in
sending their youngsters with the security and defense portfolios effectively?
I think the story's really moving on now to what will be discussed and what the takeout might be for Washington and the GCC. Is it any clearer at
this point where these two sides stand?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, you're right. There was a bit of drama earlier this week when it was discovered
by the White House that King Solomon of Saudi Arabia was not coming. He sent instead the Crown Prince and the Deputy Crown Prince.
There was also a small bit of drama about the King of Bahrain who will also not be here. He instead is going to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in
Great Britain. So I think the White House is smarting from that somewhat. Only two of the six Gulf States are going to be represented by monarchs
here -- the Emirs of Kuwait and Qatar.
But at the same time I think a lot of that has been pushed aside and they are getting down to business and I think that the chief concern that
is going to be discussed here at the summit is Iran's nuclear program and these negotiations that are going on to constrain that program.
And at this point, there is still some serious doubts among these Gulf State leaders as to whether or not these negotiations are going to
adequately address Iran's nuclear program. That of course has sparked talk in the region of whether or not these Gulf State leaders will pursue their
own nuclear programs so I'm sure that'll come up as well.
But also, Becky, these Gulf State leaders they want some sort of cooperative defense agreement - something akin to NATO where if they're
attacked the United States will come in and defend them.
The U.S. is not going to go that far and so, you know, where can they find some middle ground in all of this? That'll be of course up to these
leaders to talk about during the day.
But they got the conversations started yesterday in the Oval Office when the President was sitting down with the Crown Prince and you could
start to hear the President trying to make this plea to the Saudis that remember the history that these two nations have together and have some
faith in the leadership of the United States.
Here's what the President had to say.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: As all of you are aware, the United States and Saudi Arabia have an extraordinary friendship and relationship
that dates back to Franklin Roosevelt and King Faisal and we are continuing to build that relationship during a very challenging time.
ACOSTA: Now any minute now the President will be going into a working session with these Gulf State leaders and then later on this afternoon
he'll make a statement with one of those leaders. We haven't been told who that will be.
[11:20:04] And then at the end at the end of the day the President will have a press conference here at Camp David where he'll take a lot of
questions about these and other issues that are happening here at home as well. Becky.
ANDERSON: All right. Well let's take a look at some of the issues that we believe will be discussed. There has been a big increase, Jim, of
course as you know in spending on arms in this the Gulf region - not necessarily in response to the negotiations that are going on in Iran, but
that would be part and parcel of what's going on.
There's also the wider roiling conflicts of course that Saudi Arabia and the UAE together imported more than all of Western Europe combined last
I want of you is to take a look at who's benefiting most then from the region's `shopping spree.' The U.S. remains the largest arms exporter to
the region - selling $8.4 billion worth in 2014 according to IHS' global defense trade report, a distant second is the U.K. with around about $2
billion in sales.
Russia sends $1 and 1/2 billion in defense equipment to the region while France trails fourth. Its exports were worth $1.3 billion in 2014.
Jim, I'm going to come back to France because there's a very interesting story developing on that front. But firstly, what systems and
technology in particular are the Gulf States interested in? And who is jostling to deliver them at this point?
ACOSTA: Well at this point one of the key topics that they're going to be talking about here and it's something that we reported on as this
summit was getting close was this idea of a common missile defense system for the Gulf States region.
Some of these states have their own missile defense capabilities but what the United States wants to do along with these partners is develop
sort of what they call interoperability which means that potentially you might have a common missile defense system that could thwart and Iranian
missile attack potentially and that any of these states could, ideally speaking, initiate that sort of response if that defensive response is
Now, you know, that - a lot of that - has to be worked out but that is sort of one of the carrots that is being dangled out there for these Gulf
States to sort of allay their fears about the Iran nuclear program.
Of course the question is going to come up, Becky, why do you need a ballistic missile defense system for the entire Gulf State region if these
P5+1 nuclear talks are going to result in containing Iran's nuclear program to the point where it'll just be a peaceful program and there's won't be
any concerns about nukes and missiles flying over the heads of these Gulf State nations.
And so, you know, that is the hardware that really is the big topic of conversation here but of course - yes - as you mentioned there, there's a
long history of these states buying a lot of hardware from U.S. defense manufacturers and my sense of it from listening to officials here is that
that spigot is not going to be turned off by any measure.
ANDERSON: Well that's - alludes to my next point because I wonder about that. One country, Jim, that's making the most of Gulf unease with
the U.S. - and let's be quite frank - there is unease, at least with the Obama administration if not on a kind of wider scale with the U.S. over
this Iran deal - is France.
Now Paris has just signed a $7 billion selling 24 French fighter jets and missiles to Qatar. The deal also includes the training of pilots,
technicians and intelligence officers speaking in Doha earlier this month. The French President - you may remember this Jim - Francois Hollande -
said, "If we are present here in Qatar and the region, it is because France is considered a reliable country which a partner country can give their
At the moment the U.S. is the biggest arms partner of these states. But there is clearly some mistrust and some - a sense of broken promises by
the Obama administration to these Gulf countries. And as I say I'm not sure it goes wider than to sort of the U.S. administration across the board
or whether it's more specific to Obama.
But how worried should Washington be do you think about Gulf States turning to other Western suppliers?
ACOSTA: I think that's a very interesting question, Becky, and I think it reflects this deep unease that exists in the region about Iran's
maneuvers right now. Keep in mind it's not just this nuclear program that these Gulf States are worried about. They're worried about what's
happening with Syria and Bashar al Assad. You know, why hasn't the United States not taken him out?
Just this week the White House has acknowledged that, yes, international inspectors have discovered potential traces of sarin gas
being used in that civil war and so here we go once again, the red line has been crossed - potentially been crossed - this is a red line the President
drew years ago saying that he would punish Bashar al Assad if that red line was crossed and these Gulf State leaders are wondering well why hasn't
Washington gone after Assad?
[11:25:07] And that gets on a very complicated discussion. But putting that aside, you also have the situation in Yemen -- Iran's backing
of the Houthi rebels there. That also irks the Saudis of course and the rest of these Gulf State leaders and so I think it's no surprise that these
nations are going outside of the United States market to try to see what they could buy on the global stage from places like France.
So I don't think that's surprising. You know, I'm not sure that will come up at - during - these talks they have a huge agenda. I didn't even
mention ISIS which is also a big worry and the President has said that these extremists inside of these Gulf State countries are as much of a -
should be as much of a concern to them as Iran. That did not go over well with these Gulf State leaders.
So they've got a lot to talk about - not just the military hardware of course.
ANDERSON: Busy day at Camp David. Jim, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.
ANDERSON: Camp David talks will be going on all day and we will be following them here on CNN. You can also find out more by going to the
website cnn.com as you know. You'll find analysis and background to the summit. Why Gulf States are worried, why the U.S. wants to reassure them
and what it all means for global security - cnn.com.
You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. Coming up, Diego Maradona on why he is calling for transparency
in FIFA. In a little more I sit down exclusively with the football legend. Hear what he has to say.
[11:31:48] ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World," I'm Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour on CNN. In just about a half
hour's time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to present his new government to Parliament for a vote of confidence.
He won approval from lawmakers yesterday to expand his cabinet, effectively allowing him to broaden his support by including more parties
and ministerial posts.
More gunfire has been heard in Burundi's capital amidst conflicting reports of a coup attempt. Residents tell CNN it is not clear what's going
on or who is in charge. But the president has dismissed an army general's announcement of a coup and is urging citizens not to panic.
Officials say 67 bodies have now been recovered from a burned out shoe factory in the Philippines. Planned (ph) recovery efforts are still
underway there. The fire as you can see engulfed the factory in the suburb of Manila on Wednesday. At least 72 people killed. It's thought the
flames began when sparks from welding ignited nearby chemicals.
And U.S. President Barack Obama has set off for Camp David where he will hold talks with Arab leaders and their representatives. The Gulf
Cooperation Council -- the GCC -- is expected to cover security in the region and try and resolve differences over nuclear negotiations with rival
in this region Iran.
A new element being added to the turmoil in Libya. The United Nations has been trying to get rival parties there to agree on a unity government
but the talks remain deadlocked.
Now, wealthy Libyan businessmen and a group of tribal elders are adding their voices to the chaos in Libya.
They say they want to gather evidence of war crimes in the country. And its new group called Justice First has enlisted Luis Moreno-Ocampo to
help them. You may remember the name. He was the first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
He joins us now live from CNN in New York. Now as far as I understand it, Luis, what we have here is an effort to tackle what is the absence of
justice in Libya as lawlessness as we see leaves crimes unpunished and threatens future peace. I wonder what sort of teeth this group has because
there is a sense from critics certainly that this could be vigilantism in anything but name (ph).
LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: On the contrary. I feel the idea is that tribal leaders we met in
Cairo following the vision of Hassa al-Damarki (ph) was inviting them to come and they created an organization to work together. And for them that
is important for two reasons.
It's a way to change the deadlock that you mentioned in the negotiation because they agreed to have a negotiation but they feel the
terrorists had to be out of the negotiation. And in some way collecting evidence about that and showing the meaning of that to the U.N. will be
important to move ahead the negotiation.
But also that is important because it's not for them - they have a duty to retaliate. They say some of them kill my sons. What I could do?
[11:30:03] So without justice in Libya will be more retaliation and more blood. That's why I believe this initiative to help the tribal
leaders to work together and to collect evidence and to present it through the proper channels, will make a change in Libya.
ANDERSON: Anything that makes a change in Libya, sir, is clearly something that people are enthusiastic about. Your critics say that you
focus far too much on prosecuting African leaders during your tenure as ICC chief prosecutor and that you're results, to put it generously, were mixed.
I'm looking for, you know, some sense of how your experience will help going forward. Let's quickly remind our viewers of some of your biggest
indictments. So Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir - never brought to trial unfortunately, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi - you returned that case to Libya. He
hasn't been brought to trial, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta - brought to trials, charges dropped, tomilees (ph) warlord Thomas Lubanga convicted of
using child soldiers.
I wonder whether that was the structure within which you were working - the ICC and its -- problems that it may have in getting indictments or
whether - and what experience you can bring to the table here to make this new group work more efficiently because obviously the ITC's still working
to try and progress issues on the ground in Libya itself.
MORENO-OCAMPO: OK, as the chief prosecutor my challenge - our challenge - was how to reach the victims, how to reach the local
communities. That's why for me now the privilege is to be with them - help them. Not just to do justice because when I was the chief prosecutor I got
another power but I was limited, one mission.
Here I can help the tribal leaders to reach the different areas of international organizations. Yes, they can explain better their position
to the U.N. mediator, to the security council. They say unity - there's a human right area on U.N. They can present that information to them to move
the negotiations but excluding the criminals.
And of course I would not have been in the ITC you know my role, I'm no longer prosecutor but I will help the local judges and local prosecutor
to present good cases in their own courts. And they can move the things.
And also the tribal leaders could invent solution for the lower level perpetrators because there were many crimes in Libya and they can use the
traditions of Libya to solve some of the problems. The leaders could seek justice, the lower level could be a different solution.
So I feel I can help them to present their views better in the international community. I also show them better how to use the different
channel they have to make peace in Libya. That's important But peace will be with justice - that's what they say - without justice, no peace in
ANDERSON: Listen, we cover Libya a lot in this show and so it's been a delight having you on and we'll have you back as the work sort of begins
and progresses and we'll check in with you and see how things are going. Because as I say, you know, clearly anything that helps Libya at this point
ought to be a story that we cover and that is good news for the country - one hopes so.
Luis, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
MORENO-OCAMPO: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Now football is supposed to be free from politics but that is not always easy in this part of the world. A recent proposal by
Palestine's football association seeks to have Israel banned from international competition. The Palestinians say Israel limits their
activities. Israel says it's for security reasons.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter met with the F.A. presidents from both entities on Sunday. Well now that's the only - not the only thing on Mr.
Blatter's mind because he is gunning for another term as FIFA president. Not everyone is convinced but election is May the 29th. Ahead of that, I
sat down with football legend Diego Maradona to find out why he thinks it is time for Blatter to step down.
DIEGO MARADONA, RETIRED ARGENTINE FOOTBALLER, VIA INTERPRETER: Blatter should have gone long time ago. He's damaging football. He
doesn't understand. First of all, he doesn't understand the game and you need to understand that.
Second, you need to understand the players - what they need and want. And there is something even more important that he doesn't get - that is
the people, the people who watch the game. We are talking about the most beautiful and fascinate sport in the world. And it's been managed by
someone who is as cold-hearted as a freezer.
[11:35:12] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST OF "CONNECT THE WORLD WITH BECKY ANDERSON": You must have met him a number of times. What's he like?
MARADONA,VIA INTERPRETER: He invite me a couple of times to get into the FIFA family. But I told him I already have a family. It was a mafia
masquerading as FIFA. But the thing is because rats can get anywhere in the world, he is the president of FIFA. He knew how to get that position.
ANDERSON: Diego, then why not support the bid of Luis Figo for example? He was a former footballer like yourself.
MARADONA,VIA INTERPRETER: Well, it is because I'm running against Figo.
MARADONA,VIA INTERPRETER: That is why I cannot support him.
MARADONA,VIA INTERPRETER: Because I want, along with Prince Ali to, take the helm of the FIFA organization. I say this very seriously. I want
transparency, I want to understand what the people want, I want people to know what's going on. I want to end corruption in FIFA.
[11:45:03] I want to improve football everywhere in the world. That is why I want to get to FIFA. I'm not challenging Blatter - Blatter means
nothing to me. For me, Blatter should be an insurance salesman - he'd be good at that.
But managing football - no. Figo has a real chance and I like what he's proposing. He was a footballer and he understand the same way I do.
But the thing is, I am better than Figo.
ANDERSON: Do you think you stand a realistic chance of unseating Sepp Blatter?
MARADONA,VIA INTERPRETER: It is difficult. There is a lot of corruption inside FIFA. But the hope is that Blatter's friends can see
that in all these years - since 1998 - he hasn't done anything good for football. The kids in Africa for example. I was talking to Samuel Eto'o
and he told me that they are playing on the same old pitch where he used to play when he was seven years old.
So after all the workups, what's happened to all the money that was collected? There is no transparency. That is where we need to direct our
efforts. We need to target the kids - the young players. We need to work for football to be seen all around the world.
ANDERSON: Diego Maradona who has officially thrown his support behind Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan who is running for
president of FIFA against Blatter on May the 29th. Stay tuned, CNN will cover that of course in the week ahead so you will (inaudible) news on
You've been watching "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching. CNN continues of course after the
(CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST)
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The Middle East and North Africa, a market of nearly 300 million consumers and
a destination in its own right. But with Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya - caught in the crossfire of violence and unrest - what is the impact on more
This week on "Marketplace Middle East," how do countries who do not have unrest avoid being tarnished by the same brush of
countries that do?
Inside the region's largest travel fair, the culture of the Middle East is on display. The mood is upbeat and countries
flash money on stands to show their wares. But brand Middle East is under threat outside the region. A handful of countries in conflict is making
life difficult for tourism ministers.
MICHEL FAROUN, MINISTER OF TOURISM, LEBANON: Unfortunately what's happening and now - not only in Syria and Iraq and
Libya and Yemen - it's absolutely negative and destroying some of the positive effects we have seen.
Male: After hitting a record 2.1 million visitors in 2010, Lebanon was just coming out of a four-year slump which saw
visitors drop to about 1.3 million last year. First it was the Arab Spring, then ongoing conflict in Syria next door and now renewed fighting
in Yemen which may take the steam out of the 20 percent gain in the first quarter.
It's a worry shared on the floor of the Arabian Travel Market. Perception of region-wide chaos can trump reality.
Male 2: People just want to feel secure.
DEFTERIOS: TripAdvisor's Justin Reid tells me this is where social media sites and online marketing come into play. Tourists
can share their own perceptions of a destination and whether it was safe or not.
JUSTIN REID, HEAD OF DESTINATIONS, TRIPADVISOR: Rely on the wisdom of the crowd. Rely on what actual travelers, what
actual visitors of the country are saying.
They're the ones who can really tell the story through their eyes and through their experiences.
DEFTERIOS: Reid cited Jordan as faring well on TripAdvisor feedback. But being part of the coalition in the fight against
ISIS has hit tourism revenues, down nearly 12 percent in the first quarter.
NAYEF H. AL-FAYEZ, MINISTER OF TOURISM AND ANTIQUITIES, JORDAN: This had I think a negative impact on terms of people
fearing to come to Jordan thinking that everything is happening within the borders of Jordan. Not understanding that Jordan is safe actually and
still business as usual.
DEFTERIOS: Albeit slower with Syria at its doorstep. Jordan's minister sharing his thoughts on the challenge for
today. The reality is that Jordan shares a border with Syria and Iraq, also Saudi Arabia which has challenges of course in the South with Yemen.
But what does this mean for Jordanians on the ground who are so dependent on the hospitality sector to survive? Jomana Karadsheh has their story.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER: It's an iconic image of Jordan that draws tourists from around the world. It may look
like there are many visitors in Petra, one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. But the numbers are nowhere near what Jordan wants to see at
its main tourist attraction.
This is the main tourist parking area and officials here tell us prior to the Arab uprisings of 2011, this would always be
packed. Right now in the middle of what is tourist peak season, this is what it looks like.
Tourism has taken another hit in the past year with the rise of ISIS in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Despite Jordan's
stability, there are less tourists here.
In the first quarter of this year, the number of Petra visitors dropped by 50 percent compared to the same period last year.
Almost everyone in this local community of 33,000 relies on tourism for a living and things have been tough. Ten out of 38
hotels and hostels have been forced to close in the past year. Khaled Al- Nawafleh, hotel owner and the head of Petra's Hotel Association says occupancy rates have dropped by more than 70 percent since turmoil hit the
region in 2011.
KHALED AL-NAWAFLEH, PETRA HOTEL OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INTERPRETED BY KARADSHEH: We're operating on the hope that things will
change. We feel that if we shut down we'll lose customers he says so we've reduced stuff, cut down on electricity costs and have closed off floors
that are not being used.
KARADSHEH: Here at this little stretch of tourist restaurants, it's a similar story. Mohammad Zubaidi has managed this
establishment for 18 years. In recent months he's had to lay off half of his 14 employees. He says this is the worst business has ever been.
MOHAMMAD ZUBAIDI, RESTAURANT MANAGER, INTERPRETED BY KARADESHEH: Most tourists restaurants are operating on a loss because
our business depends on foreign tourists. He says restaurants can barely cover their expenses with the number of tourists now.
KARADSHEH: Local authority head Hamad Den Oafle (ph) describes this year's high season as a dead season. Like many others,
he says the instability in the region is to blame for the drop in tourism. And Oafle (ph) believes the high cost of flights and hotels is also a
[11:50:02] The Jordanian government has passed a number of measures this month to try and make Jordan a more affordable
destination and also cut operational costs for businesses in Petra. While the country tries to lure back visitors from traditional markets like
Europe, in the short term it's eying the potential closer to home.
MOHAMMED ABBAS AL-NAWAFLEH, CHIEF COMMISSIONER, PETRA DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM AUTHORITY, VIA INTERPRETER: There is a
promotional campaign servicing Arabs and foreigners in Gulf countries because they live in this region and know very well that Jordan is a safe
KARADSHEH: For the longer term Al-Nawafleh has more ambitious plans that he says would bring the Petra region to life -
giving tourists more to see and do as well as opening up the market for foreign investors. Officials hope these initiatives to revive tourism will
start to pay off soon - something that will be put to test with the next tourist season in September.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN Petra, Jordan.
DEFTERIOS: Five years of record oil revenues have put the Middle East and North Africa squarely on the radar for global
hospitality brands. But today that's being countered by a lot of uncertainty. Let's bring in Amir Daftari who has been speaking to the
Hilton Worldwide about how they're managing, shall we say, change today.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: It's interesting because they still see a lot of opportunity here in the region.
However, they need to be flexible, they need to be nimble. Because if they invest in a project - let's say Irbil or Kurdistan for example - there's
violence, there's unrest. They need to be able to hit the pause button and just freeze that asset for the time being. They don't fill out all
together, they just freeze them and wait for a more opportune time.
Here's more of what the president of the Middle East and Africa for Hilton Worldwide had to tell me.
DAFTARI: He's considered one of the most powerful men in regional hospitality.
At the moment we have 50 operating and we're up - we're building 62. Right now in the Middle East we checked out Egypt.
DAFTARI: As president of Hilton World Wide, Middle East and Africa Division, Rudi Jagersbacher knows a thing or two about the
travel and tourism industry.
I met with him at one of his newest hotels - the Conrad. Now this is a one in many of the hotels - you have one in many of
the hotels that are here in Dubai. Do you think that demand is still there?
RUDI JAGERSBACHER, PRESIDENT MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, HILTON WORLDWIDE: Oh yes.
DAFTARI: Or is the market starting to saturate? How do you see it?
JAGERSBACHER: Oh yes. No, I think there's definitely room for further development but I look at the city like
circles. So if you have the Dereal (ph) Airport circle, and you have the Sheikh Zayed circle, and then you go up to the marina. So there are
opportunities on both of this part.
DAFTARI: The opportunity may be there but with so much volatility in the region, how does a company like Hilton mitigate its
JAGERSBACHER: Where we're operating actually we feel very little of that. I think we see bigger effects when you look at
the volatility in terms of your currencies like the ruble going down or the euro effect. There we see drastic changes.
[11:55:06] But you know, the markets generally compensate each other and we're seeing a growth year on year often the
region of the best progress above 5 percent which actually is very strong considering all factors.
DAFTARI: There are some travelers - especially I'm talking about from the U.S. maybe or from Europe - who glue the Middle East
as one, so that if there's violence in one part, they're saying there's violence across the region.
How do you dispel that reputation and distinguish yourself?
JAGERSBACHER: I think as a hotel company, we work obviously with all the tourism offices across the regions. There is
definitely a doubt when you are far away that you see the Middle East as a very small hub and may not understand the differential between the
But the great thing about tourism just generally is that you don't rely on any particular market and therefore much more mature
market from the Europe point of view will obviously compensate. It's a long-term educational process.
DEFTERIOS: There has been boatloads of uncertainty for the last four years since the Arab Spring, something our guest knows a
lot about. He's the secretary general of the U.N. World Tourism Organization or WTO.
Taleb Rifai, you and I have had this conversation for the last four years - how to deal with uncertainty. How do these
countries try to position themselves with what's going on around the region?
TALEB RIFAI, SECRETARY GENERAL, U.N. WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: It's amazing, isn't it I mean, one would think that talking
about tourism in such an environment in the Middle East is a bit out of touch with reality, but it isn't.
The fact is that in 2014, we had 4.2 percent growth in the Middle East in tourism.
DEFTERIOS: This (inaudible) was going on then, right?
RIFAI: Two more million added to the 48 million to make it up to about 50 million international visitors coming to the Middle
Now, how and why is that happening? First of all, there is definitely an established tradition at least in some destinations
in the Middle East - it doesn't go away. You know, look at Egypt as an example. Egypt has experienced so many challenges in the last four or five
DEFTERIOS: But they didn't sit idle - they've been actually discounting in the market, right?
RIFAI: Right -
DEFTERIOS: Really aggressive on the advertise -
RIFAI: -- they take a dip, they just stand up again and fight back and they come back. Because there a roots, there are
traditions. Tunis is the same thing. The Gulf States are experiencing a boom actually in tourism. The emirates - Ajman, Qatar, Bahrain - they're
It seems like just like everything else in the Middle East -- people learn how to live with it. Three weeks ago I was in
Tunisia - I was with over 100,000 people walking in the streets marching in solidarity with Tunisia after the Bardo attack.
And you could feel that the people are saying, `You know what? These forces of darkness are trying to tell people don't travel
to Tunis. But we are going to continue to invite people to come.' And I saw amongst the crowds many people that say, `It's precisely what we should
do - keep traveling.' It's the only way you can defeat these forces.
DEFTERIOS: A defiant call to world travelers in this period of uncertainty. For more about the program or to see our
stories again, you can check out our Facebook page and let us know your thoughts on the show.
And that's it for this edition of "CNN Marketplace Middle East."
(END CNN MARKETPLACE)