Return to Transcripts main page

CNN'S AMANPOUR

Mexican President Cancels Meeting with Trump; PLO Threatens to Revoke Recognition of Israel; Remembering Mary Tyler Moore

Aired January 26, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight from New York, week one of the Trump administration and Mexico's president cancels his U.S. visit

over tensions about what wall and who's paying. President Trump hits back saying the meeting would be fruitless.

The British Prime Minister flies in to talk trade and will have to challenge Trump on torture. We break down what's being called a turbulent

and radical shift in U.S. foreign policy.

Also ahead, could peace be the casualty of Trump's controversial promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb

Erekat tells me it is a dangerous game changer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAEB EREKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: We, in the PLO, we revoke our recognition of the state of Israel, because under no circumstances shall we

recognize Israel and the United States saying East Jerusalem is the next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: We hear the other side as Israel's ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon joins us live.

And imagine a '70s feminist icon, remembering Mary Tyler Moore whose ground breaking TV show remains as relevant as ever.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

Mexico's president has cancelled his trip to the White House amid a raging diplomatic storm with President Donald Trump over his plans to build that

wall and have Mexico pay for it. It seems that President Enrique Pena Nieto's back was pushed against the wall by a storm of criticism at home

and after goading tweets from Trump, he finally said he won't come to important trade talks at the White House next week.

This is how the new president reacted at the Republican Strategy Retreat in Philadelphia moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The President of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week.

Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different route. We have

no choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So is this any way to manage a close relationship with a friendly neighbor? And who's managing anyway, because also today a major

layer of State Department bureaucrats left their jobs resigning to make way for Trump administration appointees.

British prime minister flies in to this diplomatic turbulence as the first foreign leader to meet the president as parliament back home warns her not

to give in or to gravel to Donald Trump over this fresh controversy, torture.

Theresa May will be wanting to court Trump on trade, but instead faces pressure to challenge him on what he's saying about bringing that practice

back.

David Rothkopf is a former senior trade official in the Clinton administration and he's now editor of "Foreign Policy" magazine. He says

American foreign policy has changed more in this one week than at any time since the end of World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: David Rothkopf, welcome to the program.

DAVID ROTHKOPF, EDITOR, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Pleasure to be here.

AMANPOUR: This seems to be shocking news that the president of Mexico, the next door country to the United States has canceled what was going to be a

prestige meeting with President Trump at the White House.

How do you analyze what's just happened, the significance of it? Is it a crisis?

ROTHKOPF: I don't think this is a crisis per se. I think we have preludes to crisis brewing elsewhere, but this is a self-inflicted wound. This is

an important friendship of the United States and it's turning into the first major foreign policy setback of the Trump era because it didn't have

to be this way.

What happened was that Trump provoked the Mexican president and made it impossible for him to come to the United States without losing face at home

because of his insistence on the timing of the wall project and his insistence that the Mexicans would have to pay for the wall.

AMANPOUR: So moving on because there's yet another crisis brewing and that is at the State Department. It's been announced that an entire traunch of

second level administrators and bureaucrats, people who run the building have all mass resigned and one of the former assistant secretaries of state

telling us that, you know, this is all the people who know how the building runs, how the operations run.

[14:05:00] ROTHKOPF: Well, that's right. Look, the State Department something like 60,000 people, you need bureaucrats who understand the

bureaucracy. These are not positions you can easily fill with a golf buddy or political appointment because you need to know how the building works.

And so it takes a vitally important part of the U.S. national security apparatus and it really decapitates it for the near term as it's going to

make it very hard to get it up and running in the medium term.

AMANPOUR: The White House, the national security people who are there are mostly political appointees and the advisers and things, and across the

board in all the departments, there's almost no one confirmed and no second tier named or in place.

How is governing going to happen?

ROTHKOPF: Well, so far governing is not going to happen. So far what happens is the president wakes up. He thinks of what's on his mind. He

tweets something out and he changes U.S. policy. Whether he's changing policy towards China during the transition or he's changing policy towards

Mexico that ends up blowing up a trip today. You've got real problems, you know.

Yesterday, the secretary of Defense and the CIA director were blindsided by news that the president was considering torture. You have fighting between

political appointees and former RNC officials, leaks coming out of the White House.

And most disturbingly from the point of view of experience, observers, no policy process whatsoever. Nobody is being consulted. Trump is making

decisions on his own. He's tweeting it out, he's playing to the press and consequences be dammed.

And that's why I said earlier, it's a prelude to a crisis, because this is exactly what gets you in trouble and we face challenges in the Middle East

with Russia, with China, on trade, now with our neighbors, with the Atlantic alliance and all of these things require the kind of thoughtful

process that doesn't exist yet in this administration.

AMANPOUR: Is there any ray of light that the first official meeting will be with the British prime minister? She is in the United States. She's

meeting with Donald Trump today and tomorrow. Obviously, she's expected to talk about trade, but she's going to have to talk about torture, black

sites, all of the things that have come up in interviews and tweets in the last 24 hours.

ROTHKOPF: Well, look, I think that, you know, the likelihood is that the meeting with Theresa May is going to probably go pretty well. They are

kindred spirits. Trump supported Brexit, which Theresa May is now advancing. And Trump and his administration have floated the idea of a

U.S./UK trade deal which is just what Theresa May needs given the fact that the UK is pulling out of the EU.

AMANPOUR: But what do you expect that Theresa May should do as a responsible world leader herself and you're talking about, you know, sort

of an unknown quantity in the White House. Doesn't she have to try to impose some order or some advice on the president of the United States on

behalf of the western alliance?

ROTHKOPF: You would hope that that would happen. I don't think Theresa May has shown any indication, whatsoever, to play that kind of role.

The Germans are more for picking up on that. Angela Merkel, her foreign minister the other day said that they were giving up on Trump, you know,

maturing into the presidency and that they were going to play more of a leadership role. I think you see others stepping up.

You saw the Chinese leader at Davos saying if the U.S. doesn't lead, we'll lead. They'll be a number of people out there seeking to fill the void

created by Trump's lack of knowledge, lack of leadership and lack of a government. I'm not sure Theresa May is going to be at the front of that

line.

AMANPOUR: David Rothkopf on this incredibly fast-moving day. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

ROTHKOPF: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And so much change already and with no end in sight to President Trump's far reaching executive orders. The next target is the United

Nations.

As the newly confirmed U.S. ambassador arrived today, draft orders acquired by the press show significant cuts on the way to things like the ICC and to

U.N. peacekeeping including some that specifically helps and protects Israel, which Trump has put front and center of his international agenda.

And next we get both sides of an unfolding controversy there, the home of America's embassy in Israel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:11:50] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

President Trump has put his relationship with Israel at the top of his agenda and we're talking to both sides in what's become a heated debate

over a settlement-friendly policy and a pledge to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization will revoke its recognition of Israel if that happens. Their chief negotiator tells me tonight and other

Arab states may be force to follow suit. Just one of the serious consequences beneath the blizzard of presidential directives that have

bamboozled, thrilled and generally shaken up allies, adversaries, his voters and just about anyone else in his first week as president.

And it's perhaps no more contested piece of land than the holy city of Jerusalem, which both Israel and the Palestinians claim as their capital.

If America moves its embassy there from Tel Aviv, it would be the only country in the world to do so.

In fact, it does own a piece of land in Jerusalem for that very purpose, but successive U.S. presidents have let it lie fall low because of the

certain firestorm that it would create.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is the U.S. strategic interest in moving the embassy?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I don't -- as I've noted yesterday through several press inquiries, we haven't -- there's no

decision. We're at the beginning stages of this decision-making process and his team is going to continue to consult with stake holders as we get

there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So having floated it, even the Trump administration is going softly, softly for the moment. Now we're speaking to both sides of this

argument. First to Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Saeb Erekat, welcome from Ramallah.

Can I start by asking you whether you have detected any serious move to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem?

EREKAT: No, Christiane, or what we have is what we hear in the U.S. media, what we heard in the election campaign. We have written President Trump

letters by President Mahmoud Abbas. We have sent messages, unfortunately, but did not get any response from them. But so far we have not heard any

official thing about moving the embassy and I hope that President Trump will not do it.

AMANPOUR: Right now they are saying that the new ambassador David Friedman would live and work in Jerusalem without formally saying the embassy is

going to move there. Tell me what this will mean? Whether he lives and works there under a different formation, not a formal embassy. And if they

do move the embassy, what will it mean?

EREKAT: Christiane, in 1967, the Israeli Knesset enacted a law to enact East Jerusalem. So they consider East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem as one

Jerusalem and this is a position that the whole international community including the U.S. have rejected since 1967.

Now moving the embassy, moving the ambassador means one thing, that the United States of America have accepted the annexation of East Jerusalem.

If they do this, it means this is the last nail in the coffin of the two- state solution.

What we are faced with now is 3,066 housing units in settlements in the heart of the West Bank and it's supposed to be Palestinians there in East

Jerusalem. And it seems to me that we have determined Israeli government that feels that they are protected by the administration of President Trump

to go ahead with dictations, settlements and burying and destroying the two-state solution.

AMANPOUR: What will happen immediately if that embassy moves? I mean, you have talked about it being a red line, that you might be forced to withdraw

the official recognition of the state of Israel.

What will happen, you know, from the Palestinians and from the wider Arab world?

EREKAT: I'm not going to be speaking on behalf of the Arab world. I'm going to be speaking on behalf of the PLO and Palestinians. We, in the

PLO, we revoke our recognition of the state of Israel because under no circumstances shall we recognize Israel and the United states saying East

Jerusalem is annexed.

[14:15:00] Number two, the agreement signed with Israel will be dead because Netanyahu decided to kill it. So he will be responsible for being

the salaries of teachers, doctors, garbage collection in the West Bank, entire Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

The authority cannot be sustained; it will be destroyed because he's destroying it. Number three, we'll go to the U.N. general assembly to ask

for the suspension of Israel membership until it abides by international law and rule of law and security council resolutions and plus, we will as I

told you, Palestinians at that moment with no two state solution, no possibility for a Palestinian state, they will demand equal rights, equal

citizenships with Israel. This apartheid regime must end and we will be, you know, trying to accommodate our self and our state reality that was

created by the dictation and settlements of Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you a blunt question that's being raised right now. America has tried to be an honest broker, but it is really and always has

been much closer to Israel than to the Palestinians. Do you not think this is a final moment of clarity that a new American president comes in. He's

made it very clear that it's an Israel first policy as far as he's concerned and that the chips will fall where they may and you might just be

forced to get the best you can out of a future deal?

EREKAT: You know, Christiane, I devoted all my life to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis. And my job and life was devoted to save

lives of Israelis and Palestinians. And I really could care less if someone is pro-Palestine or pro-Israel.

The world is divided as far as I'm concern between those who are pro-peace and those who are against peace. Those elements in Israel and United

States were trying to destroy the two-state solution are doing the biggest mistakes, strategic mistakes of their lives. And I'm not saying that they

are not a state that's not allied to Israel. We know this. I'm not saying that our state is are not the same interest. We know this.

But at the same time, look, Christiane, I'm living my worst case scenario. I've been living under Israeli occupation for the last 50 years. And we

have given peace a chance. We have organized Israel's right to exist on (INAUDIBLE) lines.

We have done negotiations. We denounce violence. And at the same time, if Mr. Netanyahu and those who support him in the United States want to

dictate a solution, they can't because I heard President Trump saying that he made so many deals and he has to be fair. I agree with him. No peace

can be reached. No agreement can be reached without fairness. But if he doesn't want to impose solution on Netanyahu, why would he impose solutions

on me?

So the whole thing between Palestinians and Israelis is based on one word, F-A-I-R. Failure to achieve fairness would mean, you know, God help

Palestinians and Israelis for decades to come.

And the last thing I want to say, Christiane, let's say that Netanyahu succeeds in destroying the two-state solution, can he walk me through the

day after. What are we going to do with me? Walk me through the day after.

AMANPOUR: Saeb Erekat, thank you for joining us from Ramallah.

EREKAT: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And now we turn to Israel's ambassador to the United States, Danny Danon joining me from just across town here in Manhattan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: So, welcome to the program.

You heard what Saeb Erekat has said and he said that he's detected no serious move in the direction of getting the embassy to Jerusalem from the

Trump administration.

What do you know about that? Have you heard differently?

DANNY DANON, ISRAEL'S AMBASSADOR: Well, we asked President Trump during the campaign and we welcome the decision to speak about moving the embassy

to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, period. It is the capital of the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years and I heard Mr.

Erekat threatening Israel, threatening the U.S. and ask myself, if he's the chief negotiator, why he's not talking about coming back and negotiating

with Israel.

He's busy negotiating with Hamas terrorist organization and instead of negotiating with Israel. So I would recommend Mr. Erekat stop with

threatening Israel, stop with threatening the U.S. and we would respect if the U.S. will decide to move its embassy, we will welcome it and I think it

will be an important step not only for Israel, but also for the U.S.

AMANPOUR: There's a few things that we need to pick up there, but first and foremost, to the specific question, do you believe it is going to move?

Have you had any indication from the administration that that is what they are planning?

DANON: I heard President Trump during the campaign.

AMANPOUR: OK.

DANON: I met President Trump in the past and I believe that what he stated, he believed it and we believe it will happen. And Prime Minister

Netanyahu will come to Washington, Christiane, in a few weeks and I'm sure this issue will be part of the negotiation and the talks with the President

Trump.

AMANPOUR: OK. So now to what you just said about what you thought you heard from Saeb Erekat. I didn't actually hear any threats. I didn't hear

any threats of violence or anything like that. What I heard was a desperate plea to treat all sides fairly and to get back to the negotiating

table.

[14:20:00] And to that question, walk me through the next day if there is no more two-state solution, if this all blows up and you can see both --

you know, you can see the U.S. and Israel right now walking back from the two-state solution, can you walk us through the alternative to the two-

state solution?

DANON: Christiane, I beg to differ with you. Mr. Erekat did say a few minutes ago that the Palestinian will not recognize the state of Israel,

that they will come to the U.N., they will come here and ask the U.N. to reject Israel. So maybe he did it nicely and politely, but that is a

threat, which we do not play according to threats and I would recommend the U.S. also not to follow those threats.

And we are saying to Erekat and Abu Mazen enough with the games. Enough with coming to the U.N. Enough with the media games. Come back to the

negotiating table and negotiate with Israel.

We did it in the past with Egypt, with Jordan. If the Palestinian really wants to promote peace, they should stop the incitement and stop

encouraging terrorism. Mr. Erekat himself, they are paying terrorist to kill Israelis, with the money, by the way, that the U.S. government is

giving to the PLO. So I think we should stop with the games and come back to the negotiating table.

AMANPOUR: Can I just try to get to the heart of the substance. You've seen, you know the threat to move the embassy could by all accounts create

disturbance, political disturbance.

If that happens, and if these settlements continue and you saw your own government approve hundreds and thousands of new homes both in the West

Bank and in East Jerusalem, if this continues and it is against what U.S. and international national policy holds to be true right now, if that all

happens and the one state solution becomes the only possibility, in other words, no more two-state solution and either a non-Democratic or a non-

Jewish Israel.

Again, walk us through what you see to be the future if there is no two- state solution, Ambassador Danon?

DANON: Well, I think nobody says that coming from the Israeli government. We say very clearly that we want to negotiate. And it is another threat.

Saying that if we will not take action now, if we will not give the Palestinians everything they want now without negotiating, there would be a

one state solution, it is another threat and we are not buying into it.

We say very clearly, let's sit down, let's negotiate in Ramallah, in Tel Aviv or even in Washington, but we will talk and we will negotiate. Coming

and saying if the palestinians will not receive everything they want without even negotiating with the Israelis for us, we don't play that way.

AMANPOUR: It does appear that President Trump is very, very aligned with Israel's position, and I mean, the Israeli government, the current right-

wing Israeli government of which you are a part.

How can you have a negotiation and can the United States still be an honest broker? And I guess the big question is, if the U.S. -- you know, aligns

with what you hope, is that really the act of a friend? Is that something that will protect Israel?

DANON: I think you cannot blame the U.S. for everything. The problem is with the Palestinian, not with the U.S. when Prime Minister Menachem Begin

was elected in 1977. He was considered to be a right-wing, even a radical some would say and he was able to achieve peace with Egyptians, but you

need a viable partner among the Palestinians and then, yes, the U.S. can help us and we welcome the involvement not only of the U.S. but other

international players, even some of the moderate Arab countries, but you need the Palestinians to be on board and unfortunately they prefer to go to

France, to come to the U.N. but not to sit down and negotiate with us.

AMANPOUR: We're out of time. Ambassador Danny Danon, thank you very much and we'll keep following this issue.

DANON: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: And next, we imagine a world without the magic of Mary Tyler Moore. We remember her liberating legacy -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a woman who could turn the world on with her smile and change it with her performance.

Actress and Producer Mary Tyler Moore has died, aged 80 and she left this world in the company of her loved ones. She led to superstardom in her

first TV role as a unconventional housewife to Dick Van Dyke, but it was her own "Mary Tyler Moore Show" that made her a legend, playing a single

woman driven to succeed in her character as a TV news producer.

As women's lib took to the streets in the 1970s, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" took to the air waves with ground breaking themes like equal pay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: I would like to know why the last associate producer before me made $50 a week more than I do.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, because he was a man.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: And as we know, that's an issue that's still not resolved today. What would journalist Mary Tyler Moore have made of today's challenges

ahead. She was an icon to icons and media mogul Oprah Winfrey was overwhelmed with emotion when she surprised her on her chat show. Moore

built on her success with dramatic roles and her own production company. She leaves behind her husband and a legacy of empowerment.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK

END