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CONNECT THE WORLD
UN Security Council Meets over Chemical Attack in Syria; Trump White House Weighs Options on Syrian, North Korean Responses; Russian Diplomat: Western Inaction Encouraged Rebels; Jordan's King Abdullah Arrives At The White House; Bannon Removed From National Security Council; Qatar Prepares For 2022 World Cup. Aired 11a-12:30p ET
Aired April 5, 2017 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:25] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: International outrage over a suspected chemical attack in Syria. Western governments lead a push at the United
Nations while Moscow and Damascus blame the rebels. We are getting more details this hour on what may have caused such horrific injuries. A live
update from the Turkish-Syrian border is just ahead.
Also this hour, as he welcomes a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, Donald Trump's big week for diplomacy just got bigger. The details on North
Korea's missile test this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The laws have been put in place, but there have been people that have not applied the laws. We are working very hard along with
the relevant authorities to ensure that people do apply the laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It talk labor rights, preparations and progress with the man overseeing it all.
Well, hello and welcome to what is a special edition of Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in what has been a rather gusty Doha where here these
are surely the winds of change, because this tiny country has some gigantic goals from aviation to energy, the arts, diplomacy and now football.
The World Cup will roll into here in just a few years from now in 2022. This hour, we'll bring you my exclusive interview with the man in charge of
getting the tournament right. And we will look at this, the very latest report on how things are going behind the scenes. And I was the very first
person to get ahold of.
First up though this hour, we turn to Syria. The scenes of Tuesday's suspected chemical attack have been seen around the world. We want to warn
you that the images we are about to show you are extremely disturbing. Health experts believe this is the effect of a nerve agent like Sarin gas.
Activists say at least 70 people have died, 10 of those were children.
The attack has prompted global outrage and underscored the ongoing political division and
finger pointing over Syria.
The west blames Bashar al-Assad. The White House says the attack cannot be ignored. The British foreign secretary called it a war crime. On the
other side, Russia defending Syria's government. It says the chemicals belonged to Syrian rebels, and that a regime air strike hit a rebel-
operated weapons factory on the ground.
Well, the UN Security Council holding an emergency meeting. Let's get the very latest. Richard Roth is live from the United Nations. Ben Wedeman is
on the ground on the Turkish-Syrian border, and Matthew Chance joining us from Moscow.
Richard, the time has come to act collectively. The words of the French ambassador to the UN, the world, he says, is watching us. But six years
after this conflict began, what chance that the world will speak with one voice in condemning this brutal, devastating action by those involved?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN UN CORRESPONDENT: Not much chance. There is a resolution on the table while the Security Council currently is speaking
and debating what happened in that Syrian town, but Russia and probably China loom with their veto packing powers to block a proposed resolution,
which condemns the attack and also has some strong terms for the Syrian government for them to share flight logs and names of helicopter pilots who
would have been in the air during the day of this attack. Also interviews with Syrian military generals and officers to be complied with five days
after a request is made. The terms would appear to be too strong for Moscow, the main ally of Syria, in the council.
Both Russia and China, at least Russia, blocked six different resolutions over these last six years as you well know, Becky.
Now, things getting tense in the council before there is even a vote today. The UK ambassador pointedly calling out Russia and China for their vetoes
saying we knew we'd be in this place one day. What are you going to do when chemical weapons are going to be used again and now they have been.
The UK ambassador speaking out pointedly at Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:05:05] MATTHEW RYCROFT, UK AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: Let me close by asking Russia what is your plan? What is your plan to stop these horrific
senseless attacks? We had a plan. And we had had the support. And you rejected it to protect Assad. It's time now for you to stop blocking and
start helping by joining Security Council consensus.
Our draft resolution condemns this attack and calls for consequences. All 15 security council members should be able to condemn this and every use of
chemical weapons. We expect you're unanimous support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: The UK, France, Sweden, you can go on, totally exasperated by Russia and Sweden -- Russia and China's view on this affair. However, the UK's
comments riled up the Chinese ambassador who said the UK delegate should not use this august chamber, should not be tolerated, his remarks. And he
went on saying stop abusing the Security Council.
The U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and the Russian deputy ambassador will be speaking within the next hour - Becky.
ANDERSON: Matthew. So what is Russia's plan at this point? And what chance would they support this resolution?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the current form of the draft resolution in which I've had a look at, I suspect there's very
little chance of them supporting it because the resolution repeatedly refers to a chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun (ph), which is this place
where there were so many lives lost as a result of the chemical poisoning just yesterday.
The Russians dispute that version of events from the outset. They say, look, we don't believe
this was an attack by the Syrian military using chemical weapons. what we do think it was is a Syrian warplane attacked a factory that was run by the
rebels in a storage depot that was manufacturing chemical munitions, and it's the aftermath of that attack that caused so many deaths.
And so there's a basic distribute about whether or not there was a chemical weapons attack. And if there was a breach of the protocols and a use of
chemicals, an escape of chemicals, the Russians have attempted to shift the blame away from their allies, the Syrian government and -- and to the
ANDERSON: Thank you, Matthew.
To Ben, and as diplomats squabble about whether they can agree on a resolution and whether they agree on what happened, you're on the ground.
This is about people who have lost their lives and what appears to have been a devastating, devastating attack.
What -- what exactly do we know about what happened?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that these diplomats and politicians can squabble and place the blame or
whatever they want to do, but the fact of the matter is a massacre happened yesterday morning in Khan Sheikhoun (ph) inside Syria.
Now we've spoken to a variety of people who were injured in that attack. We went to a Syrian -- rather a Turkish state hospital where we spoke to
one young boy, 13-year-old Masin, who told us that at 6:30 yesterday morning he heard an air strike. He ran up to his family's roof and he saw
that one of the explosions took place just outside his grandfather's house. He ran over there. He found his grandfather slumped over. He appeared
asphyxiated. When they saw that, he ran out into the street, started screaming for help from the neighbors, but soon afterwards he started to
feel dizzy, he fainted and he woke up in the hospital here in Turkey.
His grandmother, 55-year-old old, Ayesha (ph), was also in the house. She survived. She said she that heard an explosion. She said she saw yellow
and blue. She felt dizzy. She fainted and she also woke up in a Turkish hospital.
We spoke to representatives of a Turkish relief organization, the IHH, who operates inside Syria. They say that their numbers would indicate that 105
people, many of them children, were killed in this incident, 450 people injured. Now, 30 of them have been September here to Turkey for treatment,
but several of them have died in the meantime.
In the meantime, the Turkish health minister said that the symptoms they have seen in the
victims of this attack clearly point to the use of chemical weapons, and they say they are going to provide the data they have collected to the
World Health Organization. And just two hours ago here we saw a mobile laboratory for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons
driving inside -- inside Syria clearly to get more information on this absolutely horrific incident - Becky.
[11:10:13] ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman on the border. Matthew Chance in Moscow, and Richard Roth at the UN. Thank you.
Well, U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed outrage and blames the Assad regime, but top administration officials made clear just a few days
ago that the U.S. is no longer focused on getting Assad out of power. While the world waits to see how the U.S. may respond to this chemical
attack, ordan's King Abdullah could hear about it in person. Syria expects to be high on the agenda when he visits the White House today.
Mr. Trump is in the middle of a high-stakes week of diplomacy. Tomorrow, he turns his attention to President Xi, the Chinese president and another
major international crisis, North Korea test-fired a missile on Wednesday and some believe it was sending a message just before Thursday's critical
I want to get you more now from CNN's senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny. We're also joined by our Jomana Karadsheh who is for you in Amman
Jeff, first to you, what can we tell from the White House's initial reaction to this Syria incident? Some tough words from Spicer on Monday.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Becky, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer condemned the attacks in Syria as
reprehensible. But beyond that, there's no clear sense of what the Trump administration intends to do about it, take the next steps on that.
But I ma told that we are going to hear directly from the president himself in a couple of hours time when he holds a press conference with King
Abdullah in the rose garden here. It will be the first opportunity that we have heard from the president directly here.
Now, we know that several members of his cabinet administration have said that, you know, the political reality does not exist to remove Assad or his
regime, but that does not solve the problem or give us a sense of what the Trump administration intends to do.
Now, the White House yesterday spent some time blaming the Obama administration for Mr. Obama's failure to act when that red line was,
indeed, crossed here. But this will give us a first sense of the president's own actions here.
But, Becky, we hear from President Trump a lot about how his America first agenda means that he wants to be the president for the United States. And
indeed he said yesterday not the world. That does not, though, mean the world's problems are not landing on his desk. And that's exactly what is
happening this week across the board from Syria and of course perhaps even more urgently, or as urgently North Korea.
ANDERSON: Jomana, Syria, of course, going to dominate talks with King Abdullah of Jordan, too, isn't it?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPODNENT: Definitely. It is one of the issues that Jordanian officials said is going to be on the agenda,
that is going to be discussed, and we're probably hear from King Abdullah. What we've heard from, Jordanian officials all along, that they want to see
a political solution for the crisis in Syria. Its impact has been huge on this small country that has had to deal with the influx of refugees and, of
course, the security threat to this country.
But also, Becky, one critical issue Jordanian officials say is going to be discussed is that King
Abdullah is taking a message to President Trump from the Arab leaders following that Arab leader summit that took place here last week where they
came out with a declaration, that they want to revive the Middle East peace process, and that is the message he's taking today, that the Arab leaders
are offering to revive and re-offer that Arab peace initiative of 2002 by which
Israel gets recognition, reconciliation from Arab and Muslim countries, and they get a Palestinian State in return.
So this is one of the main issues that they are hoping to get President Trump on board to try and get a comprehensive resolution, a long lasting
one, they say, for that crisis that would really help with the stability in this region. They feel it's critical.
So he is on a mission to try and get President Trump on board.
ANDERSON: Well, of course, all of this interconnected. Jomana, thank you for that.
And Jeff is in Washington for you.
Well, while President Trump says all options are on the table to rein in North Korea, he could be
facing a reality check. Ivan Watson looks at just what those options actually are.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump says he's willing to go it alone to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
But he's facing regime that he has challenged U.S. administrations on this issue for a quarter century. Experts argue he has three basic strategies
for confronting Pyongyang starting with negotiations.
[11:15:20] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would you speak to the leader of North Korea? I said, absolutely. Why not? Why not?
WATSON: Previous U.S. administrations have negotiated directly with North Korea, and in the past, Pyongyang has made some concessions in exchange for
big financial aid. But experts say Pyongyang used its existing nuclear weapons as the ultimate insurance policy, protecting North Korea from the
threat of possible military strikes.
PROF. ANDREI LANKOV, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: They are not going to give up a single nuclear weapon, a single warhead as they have already produced, and
no amount of negotiation is going to change that.
WATSON: A second option: sanctions. The U.S. already has many sanctions in place to economically isolate North Korea. But a further step might be to
punish companies that do business with North Korea, particularly those in China, North Korea's largest trading partner.
LANKOV: So, past policies have not worked actually because China is not completely participating, actually because the North Korean state is
designed in a way that basically makes the government quite oblivious to the demands of the population.
WATSON: The final option would be a military strike. Targets could include the North Korean leadership or their nuclear weapons or ballistic missile
facilities. But a former top U.S. official warned the consequences for a key U.S. ally could then be devastating.
ASH CARTER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's quite possible that they would as a consequence of that launch, an attempted invasion of South Korea. This
is a war that would have an intensity of violence associated with it that we haven't seen since the last Korean War.
WATSON: There is one possible ray of hope: neither the U.S. nor China, the two biggest superpowers in the region, want to see a nuclear-armed North
Korea. If they can work together, then perhaps they can find a way to deal with the hermit kingdom and its weapons of mass destruction.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Seoul.
ANDERSON: Well, live from Doha in Qatar this evening still to come, Russia lashes out as the world condemns a suspected chemical attack in Syria.
CNN's international diplomatic editor joins me live from London to round up what is the global reaction. That's just minutes away here on Connect the World.
And how one of the world's biggest sporting events could be overshadowed by the issue of
human rights. We speak exclusively to the head of Qatar 2022 about the rights of migrant workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN GENERAL-SECRETARY: The horrific events of yesterday demonstrate that, unfortunately, war crimes are going on in Syria, that the
international humanitarian law remains being violated frequently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Live from Doha, Qatar, you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with
the very latest on what is this top story, that horrific incident the United Nations secretary-general was talking about just there, a suspected
chemical weapons attack on a city in rebel territory in Syria. And we will be live at the UN shortly as Russia's representative gets set to speak.
The UN Security Council, of course, holding an emergency meeting right now. There is a resolution on the table drafted by the U.S., the UK and France
which demands flight logs from Syria for Tuesday, the day of the attack.
Well, the diplomatic whirlwind comes amid growing evidence that chemical weapons were used in the strike on a city in Idlib Province. The World
Health Organization says some of the victims of injuries consistent with exposure to nerve agents. That finding backed up by a team of medics for
Medecins sans Frontieres.
Well, CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson tracking global reaction to the attack and joining me now from London - Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, what you have at the moment is a meeting, as we know, in Brussels to talk. And this was, of
course, a meeting that was scheduled a long time ago to talk about helping people inside Syria. So,
we've heard a lot of, you know, helping them over the long-term of the issues of this five-year conflict whereby hundreds of thousands have been
killed, almost half the population maybe more now forced from.
ANDERSON: Right, Nic, I'm going to stop you just there. I want to get to the UN, Nic, where the Russian representative is starting to speak. Let's
VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN (through translator): We're grateful to the delegation of the United States for the opportunity
to have an open debate and to discuss honestly the very complex topic of the use of toxic substances in the context of the Syrian conflict.
Unfortunately, interest in these events is clearly an ideological thrust. It's closely interwoven with the anti-Damascus campaign which doesn't seem
to -- doesn't seem to manage -- hasn't yet reached the place it deserves on the landfill of history.
When the political process in Astana and in Geneva starts to really take shape and gain
speed, then strangely all kinds of incidents start to occur. The last example is the tragedy in Khan Sheikhoun. According to our information,
the Syrian opposition has requested the OPCW -- or rather the Syrian government has requested the OPCW to send a mission to investigate these
events and also to provide assistance.
There's no need to repeat that the the Russian Federation has always had a clear and unequivocal position: the use of chemical weapons by anyone is
absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances. Those guilty of these kinds of crimes must be health accountable.
Now, let's look at the origin of this problem. The turning point in the use of toxic chemicals in Syria and then following that weaponized chemical
agents, that turning point was the -- the establishment by the previous U.S. administration of the so-called red line. Crossing those red lines
was supposed to lead to an intervention, military intervention in the Syrian conflict. That decision served as a starting point for future
provocations by terrorists and extremist structures with the use of chemical weapons. They sought to discredit the official Damascus regime
and to give -- create a pretext for the use of military force against a sovereign state.
Back then, our western partners preferred to remain silent, including regarding the -- the request that came from Damascus in March of 2013 about
the investigating the use of Sarin by insurgents in a suburb of Aleppo, Han Alasan al-Asar (ph). We hope that this kind of attitude will not be
repeated this time.
It was this inaction that encouraged the insurgents who felt their impunity, and they committed more -- a more significant action than the
21st of August of 2013 in eastern Guta (ph) when they used Sarin. And by the way, quite coincidentally, that attack was timed to coincide with the
first visit of the expert group led by Professor Serstrom (ph).
Now, Damascus showed sufficient good faith at the time and through the efforts of Russia and the United States and the international community,
the - it was possible to achieve a successful chemical demilitarization of Syria.
Now when it became clear that the government of Assad in very complex conditions and in very
brief time frames, was able to eliminate their chemical arsenals, what we saw was reports about the so-called use in Syria of chlorine as chemical
weapons. Now, a fact-finding mission was begun by the OPCW with the support support of the government of Damascus, which was meant to react to
these kinds of incidents.
But in fact this mission never visited the sites where chlorine was used to verify this. And so poor foundation was laid in the work of the fact-
finding mission. And then of the joint investigative mechanism on the -- when investigating cases of use of chemical weapons in
Syria. In fact, reports fabricated by the Syrian opposition and NGOs supporting it about alleged use of chlorine by government forces where
these reports were taken at face value and no one sought to conduct an objective investigation.
If anyone has any doubts that the images of this so-called use of Sarin were staged in advance,
it's -- it's enough to look at the videos that were -- that were filmed by certain NGOs such as White Helmets, which were praised by everyone in this
-- in this room. And in these videos, you can see the same actors that -- that -- or so-called correspondents, and so these -- these White Helmets
seem to be closely linked to the terrorist organizations, or maybe those who fabricated these materials were the same that were exaggerating about
the humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Aleppo. While they were busy filming their warehouses with medication and food.
You know, they were getting ready for a long-term siege. Can you believe the degree of cynicism? Those are the organizations who provide video
materials for this. These video materials should serve as a basis for us to draw conclusions? The experts of the OPCW have confirmed that these
kinds of terrorist groups, such as Islamic State and al Nusra produce fully fledged weaponized chemical substances, mustard gas and Sarin, which are
regularly used in Syria and Iraq. And by the way, these kind of - the western intelligence community also agrees with these kinds of conclusions.
We have often argued our position in the Security Council regarding preliminary outcome of
investigation investigations in the framework of the gym.
Much needs to be examined. This is why we agreed to extend the mandate at the gym for another year. You need to conduct a thorough depoliticized
investigation of cases of the use of chemical weapons based on reliable and verified facts. The future work needs to be expanded geographically, its
mandate needs to be filled with a real anti-terrorist content, which is provided for by -- by a resolution on the Security Council, and we should
not be -- you know, we have good relations with Iraq and other states of the region.
People -- people believe us. People rely on us. And what we're doing to do is support Baghdad. And so you shouldn't -- and the government of Iraq,
and you should not try to sow the seeds of discord between the Russian Federation and Iraq.
We are very concerned about the fact that certain states are already manipulating the preliminary results of the work of the GIM (ph).
Baghdad and the government of Iraq, and you should not try to sow the seeds of discord between the Russian Federation and Iraq.
We are very concerned about the fact that certain states are already manipulating the preliminary results of the work of the JIM (ph). An
example of this kind of irresponsible approach was putting them to a vote on the 28th of February under a resolution under Chapter 7 of the charter.
Even while the Astana process was working very well.
So you created an absolutely artificial provocation on that day without even trying to understand what was the purpose of putting this resolution
up to a vote.
The problem of chemical terrorism remains. And if two years ago -- if the Russian and
Chinese initiative was taken seriously, including the draft resolution that we wanted to submit. Today the situation would be radically different, but
you disregarded this initiative.
Now, in responding to the question of the United Kingdom, whether Russia has a plan, yes. We have more than one plan. The first plan is to combat
terrorism. The second plan regarding your resolution.
At this stage we don't see a particular need to adopt a resolution. Earlier decisions adopted are
more than sufficient to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, but -- if some of the members of the Security Council think that a new
resolution is desirable or necessary, then it needs to look -- it needs to have a completely different form and shape. In the preambular, it should
be stated that the Security Council heard with deep regrets about reports of use of chemical
weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. And in the preamble it should be stated that this dictates the need to have a comprehensive investigation in order to
find out what happened and who is responsible.
Now the operative part of that paragraph of that resolution, in the initial part, the initial part of the operative part should condemn the use of
chemical weapons by anyone. The operative part - actually that was the preliminary, the preamble. The operative part should have one paragraph
and that is for the fact-finding mission to conduct thoroughly the reports, however, on a very important condition that the staff of the investigative
mission should be introduced to the Security Council and should be -- should reflect geographical balance.
There should also be a demand to armed groups and illegal armed groups that control the area
where the incident took place, to provide full and unimpeded safe access to the area where the incident took place and to provide all necessary
information. The main task now is to have an objective inquiry into what happened.
Up to now, all falsified reports about this incident have come from the -- the earlier mention
While Helmets or the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in London. These two sources have been discredited long ago. And to take at face
value their reports and base important decisions on them is not professional and not serious.
At the same time, we note the contradictory character of the reports about the incident. The White Helmets are getting all mixed up in their reports.
Their versions keep changing. They speak of bombings, either from helicopters or aircraft. They state - they mention the use of chlorine or
Sarin. They -- they are changing figures about the number of victims in the video and photo materials that have been released in the social media.
We see representatives of White Helmets taking these videos or photos and they are acting very
unprofessionally. Also, the fact that the behavior of these representatives of White Helmets in extreme circumstances, their behavior
is very -- is very relaxed which brings one to question the plausibility of these materials.
All of this clearly has a provocative character, is meant to provoke, and all of this, unfortunately, has been reflected in -- in the resolution, in
paragraph two of the preamble part, for example, expresses the horror of what happened as though this was an established fact.
Paragraph three of the operative part states that we need to define whether -- establish whether this -- whether this event took place. I mean, have
you even checked -- have you even checked what you wrote?
In other words, this draft -- this draft was prepared in a hasty way and not thoroughly at all. Sso to approve, adopted a text like that would be -
- would not be very serious for the Security Council.
Now as for the alleged incident that has taken place on territory that has been controlled since 2014 by terrorists from al Nusra, well, it's true
that 11:30 to 12:30 local time on the 4th of April, the Syrian aviation conducted an air strike in the eastern edge of Khan Sheikhoun on a large
warehouse of ammunition and military equipment. On the territory of that warehouse there was a facility to produce -- to produce ammunition with the
use of toxic weapons.
Those were supposed -- that ammunition was supposed to be used in Iraq and in Aleppo. Their use was confirmed last year by Russian military experts.
The symptoms of those affected in Khan Sheikhoun were the same as those people who were
affected last year in Aleppo when all of the information regarding the use of those chemical substances was collected and forwarded to the OPCW where
they continue to be examined.
What is clear to us is that chemical terrorism is increasing, and it needs to be countered as decisively as possible. Unfortunately, all our attempts
over the past three years to get the Security Council to react to -- to react to the crimes of terrorists who are using chemical weapons more and
more frequently have not led to success due to the opposition of western colleagues.
It is quite typical that they are -- that they were completely indifferent to the recent actions of terrorism in Mosul, And that fact was confirmed
by such reputable and impartial international organizations as the Red Cross.
I have to draw your attention to the statement of the Secretary-General of the UN. He called for a thorough inquiry into what really happened in Khan
Sheikhoun. We fully support this kind of position, and this investigation needs to be comprehensive and objective, and we should put an end to -- to
the very poor practice of long distance investigations based on information that even the fact finding mission uses that often is taken from the
Internet or from neighboring countries.
Information and reports and evidence that is questionable and is very difficult to prove anybody to -- any investigative body including the fact-
finding mission, must actually visit, must go and visit the place where the site where the incident occurred using the broad range of
methodologies including taking samples, including using -- use medical and legal experts.
The need for this kind of approach was mentioned in the fourth and fifth reports of the JIM (ph), by the way, paragraph 49 and 11 of those reports
specifically mentioned that.
The team of investigators -- once again, I stress, needs to be -- needs to be truly international in character in accordance with the principles of
broad geographic representation. In its current form, the fact finding mission in character in accordance with the principles of broad geographic
representation. In its current form the fact-finding mission does not correspond to this founding principle at all. The conclusions of this
fact-finding mission cannot be called impartial.
Another thing I wanted to say, once again -- once again it's completely irresponsible in and the statement was completely responsible and lacking
in respect, that is, the statement and completely irresponsible and lacking in respect, that is a statement by the United Kingdom, by the ambassador of
the United Kingdom. It's explained by the fact that you're not doing anything about this situation. You're not -- you are doing one thing. You
are submitting drafts in the Security Council that only provoke - also another thing you do you're putting unilateral pressure on the joint
investigative mechanism without even hiding this, without trying to conceal this, and trying to pressure to produce facts that you need.
And Mr. Rycroft, you beyond diplomatic - beyond the norms of diplomatic standards, your statements about China and Russia are unacceptable. This
should not be repeated. We won't accept it. We won't hear it. We won't listen to it. You should account for - answer for what Great Britain is
doing in contributing to resolving this situation in Syria.
Do you carry any kind of responsibility? Do you have a sense of responsibility? No, you don't.
Everything is geared, everything is guided by the -- the need to change regime, regime change. Even this obsession with regime change is what
hinders the work of the Security Council.
You, in fact, are trying to have the Security Council give cover -- cover of legitimacy to your illegitimate plans and -- and you should not try to
introduce discord between us and the people of Syria or people of Iraq and other nations of the Middle East. I thought that the diplomatic service of
the United Kingdom had long ago left and abandoned these kind of tactics.
So once again I repeat that without truly uniting our efforts through collective action we will not resolve the problem of the Syrian conflict or
the problem of terrorism. Thank you very much.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: OK. Thank you to the representative of the Russian Federation.
I shall now makes a statement in my capacity as the representative of the United States. It was interesting to hear of the talk from my Russian
colleague about the independent investigations and the importance of them because this entire Security Council decided on what the
joint investigative mechanism would be and decided what it would do, and it was actually voted on unanimously. And the joint mechanism came back and
said that the Syrian government committed chemical weapons acts against their own people three different times. But somehow now we don't
like what the joint investigative mechanism does.
Having said that, I will say in the life of the United Nations, there are times when we are
compelled to do more than just talk. There are times we are compelled to take collective action. This Security Council thinks of itself as a
defender of peace, security and human rights. We will not deserve that description if we do not rise to action today.
Yesterday morning we awoke to pictures, to children, foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents. We
saw rows of lifeless bodies, some still in diapers, some with visible scars of a chemical weapons attack. Look at those pictures.
We cannot close our eyes to those pictures. We cannot close our minds of the responsibility to act. We don't yet know everything about yesterday's
attack, but there are many things we do know. We know that yesterday's attack bears all the hallmarks of the Assad regime's use of chemical
weapons. We know that Assad had used these weapons against the Syrian people before. That was confirmed by this council's own independent team
We know that yesterday's attack was a new low, even for the barbaric Assad regime. Evidence reported from the scene indicates that Assad is now using
even more lethal chemical agents than he did before. The gas that fell out of the sky yesterday was more deadly, leaving men, women, the elderly
and children gasping for their very last breath, and as first responders, doctors and nurses rushed to help the victims, a second round of bombs
rained down. They died in the same slow, horrendous manner as the civilians they were trying to save.
We all also know this, just a few weeks ago this council attempted to hold Assad accountable for suffocating his own people to death with toxic
chemicals. Russia stood in the way of this accountability. They made an unconscionable choice. They chose to close their eyes to the barbarity.
They defied the conscience of the world. Russia cannot escape responsibility for this. In fact, if Russia had been fulfilling its
responsibility, there would not even any chemical weapons left for the Syrian regime to use.
There is one more thing we know. We know that if nothing is done, these attacks will continue.
Assad has no incentive to stop using chemical weapons as long as Russia continues to protect
his regime from consequences. I implore my colleagues to take a hard look at their words in this council. We regularly repeat tired talking points
in support of a peace process that is regularly undermined by the Assad regime.
Time and time again Russia uses the same false narrative to deflect attention from their
allies in Damascus. Time and time again, without any factual basis, Russia attempts to place blame on others.
There is an obvious truth here that must be spoken. The truth is that Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace. The illegitimate Syrian
government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities against his people for more than six years. Assad has made it
clear that he doesn't want to take part in a meaningful political process. Iran has
reinforced Assad's military, and Russia has shielded Assad from UN sanctions.
If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to have, we need to see them use it. We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts. How
many more children have to die before Russia cares? The United States sees yesterday's attack as a disgrace at the highest level, an assurance that
humanity means nothing to the Syrian government.
The question members of this council must ask themselves is this: if we are not able to enforce resolutions preventing the use of chemical weapons,
what does that say for our chances of ending the broader conflict in Syria? What does that say of our ability to bring relief to the Syrian people? If
we are not able to enforce resolutions preventing the use of chemical weapons, what does that say about our effectiveness in this institution?
If we are not prepared to act, then this council will keep meeting month after month to express outrage at the continuing use of chemical weapons,
and it will not end. We will see more conflict in Syria. We will see more conflict in Syria. We will see more pictures that we can never unsee.
I began my remarks by saying that in the life of the United Nations there are times when we are
compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: when the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times
in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action. For the sake of the victims I hope the rest of the council is finally willing to do the same. The world needs to see the use of chemical
weapons and the fact that they will not be tolerated.
I will now resume my function as the president of the council and I now give the floor to the
representative of the Syrian Arab Republic.
BASHAR JAAFARI, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO UN (through translator): Madam president, some members of the council today made statements that proved
even further, unequivocally that my country Syria is victim of two aggressions simultaneously.
First, an attack by permanent members of this council. The second is a proxy attack by armed terrorist groups in Syria that are operating by
instructions of these member states, permanent member states. They both seem to have an appetite for falsification and fabrication by permanent
members of this council.
These are practices for more than ten years in this council. It started with a lie against Iraq when it comes to weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq. First, we categorically reject false claims and accusations on the use of the Syrian Arab army of toxic chemicals against Syrian civilians in
It's been confirmed that the Syrian Arab army does not have form or type of chemical weapon.
We have never used them. And we will never use them.
My government has a principled and firm position that rejects the crime of use of chemical weapons and any -- and any forms of weapons of mass
destruction by any party regardless of where, when and what circumstance and justification. This is a crime against humanity and unethical and
unjustifiable and these are firm principles.
We use them to join the OPCW -- the OPCW. We honored all our obligations under the convention because we believe that the Middle East should be a
WMD-free zone. We have shown full responsibility and transparency in the framework of the agreement between
my country, the OPCW.
Baseless politicized accusations were leveled against my country, Syria, and its allies in our war
against terror. This was the case since day one as the media have reported information that is provided by terrorist groups that are designated by the
council especially in Khan Sheikhoun. This affirms that certain parties inside this council with Turkey and other countries, will continue their
politicized and dangerous practices that blackmail my government and its allies and seeks
to tarnish the reputation in our war against terror, and thee seek to obstruct the talks in Geneva and to end all prospects of a political
solution of the crisis, even if this is at the expense of children and women who are innocent victims of the terrorism that threatens Syria and
the whole world today.
This includes the role of the governments of some countries that are now forming a choir to
accuse Syria without justification so that they would send the dossier of chemical weapons of Syria to square one to serve of clear political
objectives. This seems to thwart the openness seen here which is starting to take shape recently.
The head of the delegation of my country in the Geneva talks did express to Mr. Mistura on the 31st of March, 2017, that Syria is concerned about
reports that speak of the possession of armed terrorist groups in the rural areas of Damascus, Idlib and Hemaat (ph) offer chemical toxic materials so
that they would be used as weapons against civilians.
He went against fabrication of evidence and falsification and any accusation against my country, as was the case before.
I would like to remind this council that my government has sent more than 90 letters, the most recent of which was a few days ago, to the council and
the 1540 committee and the high repesentative of disarm affairs (ph) and the JIM (ph) and the OPCW. All these letters included documented
information on the possession of armed terrorist groups, namely Daesh and ISIS, of toxic chemicals that they have possessed through the Turkish
territories in particular.
We condemn - and we find it very strange - that there is - that this coincides with the holding of international meetings on Syria.
Or when there are talks between the Syrian parties and Astana, it coincides with these incidents against civilians.
This is a line with a continued chief political exploitation of some member states of this
council as the yews (ph) fabricated reports by the media linked to the intelligence bodies of some
countries and they do not use reason or logic or way to establish the facts. They do not think even for a
minute about who is the real beneficiary of using toxic chemicals against innocent civilians.
The answer is clear. The main beneficiary is the same regimes that have targeted Syria for more than six years. They try now to salvage and rescue
the armed groups and the alliance of armed groups so that they would undermine the political process in Geneva and Astana.
The scenario against my country Syria in the council is the only explanation of the statements by the president of the council in the month
of March as he declared that he will stand against any draft resolution tabled by the Russian Federation or China on opening the dossier of the
possession of armed terrorist groups of chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq.
It's quite paradoxical that France has called for this meeting. They have fabricated, by instructions of the former minister of foreign affairs,
(inaudible), the incident of the use of toxic chemicals in eastern Guda (ph) in August 2015. This is documented in the
book by the two French journalists, (inaudible).
France is politically, legally and ethically responsible with its accomplices in the illegal international coalition for shelling civilians
and the destruction of infrastructure. I would like to remind you of the barbaric massacre by French warplanes against 200 civilians in Tokhan al-
Cobra (ph) village in Aleppo in July 2016. and the recent air strikes of the international in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor that has lead to - that has
claimed the lives of civilians, scores of civilians.
It destroyed bridges, and the infrastructure and the (inaudible) bridge.
And in conclusion my government categorically refuses falsification and fabrication of accusations. It nonetheless reaffirms that itwill continue
to honor its obligations when it joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and in our war against terror that would not
stop, we will relentlessly combat terror regardless of all chief expectation of the innocent blood in Syria. Thank you.
HALEY: I acknowledge the statement of the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic. There are no more speakers on the list of speakers. So
this meeting is adjourned.
[12:00:20] ANDERSON: Well, you've just been listening to an emergency session at the United Nations Security Council. The representatives from
Russia, United States, and Syria speaking there about that suspected chemical attack in a rebel-held province, Idlib. We've got assets for you
all over these which had (INAUDIBLE) from the United Nations. And let's start with you. We have never had any ties with former chemical weapon,
and we've never used them said Syria's representative to the U.N., who Richard followed at Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador and current chair
who's not just not mincing her words about Syria and its allies, Russia and Iran, but also using graphic photos to illustrate the horror of Tuesday's
attack. A new low she says for the barbaric Assad regime. Your thoughts on what you heard?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: All right. Well, let's look at this. We certainly, over the six years of the Syrian
conflict, have seen the major differences, still present between the U.S., U.K. and France. On one side, China and Russia and the others. I think
the big focus will be on what Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador said towards the end of her remarks. Yes, there's been a lot of tough talk, blunt talk
by her, she calls herself the "Transparency Queen". And there's been talk and rhetoric from Washington on various issues. Nikki Haley, the U.S.
Ambassador, talking about Syria and the failure of the Security Council to agree diplomatically on what to do said, "Sometimes when the United Nations
consistently fails to act, quote, 'there are times in the life of a state when we are compelled to take our own action.'"
Sounds like military talk, but anything is still open on the table. We will try to press for exactly what she meant. There is a limit to how much
tough talk you can use without saying anything and doing anything, but we also saw that with President Obama and red lines. Very sharp differences
in the Security Council. Russia and China versus the U.K. ambassador blistering comments. And what it all comes down to, this horrible attack
occurred, Nikki Haley stood and back -- using her background as a politician and certainly someone who knows how to get attention, stood up,
graphic photos, saying "look at these lifeless bodies", rows and rows and pictures of these children. And the Russian -- deputy Russian sat there
fuming, also accusing the United States and others of trumping up all of these allegations, and that it's terrorists who are responsible, rebels who
want Assad out. Becky, there's certainly is a lot to talk about on Syria and this meeting.
ANDERSON: There is, and to your point, let me just repeat exactly what it was that Nikki Haley said at the end of her speech. She closed with this,
"When the U.N. consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states when we are compelled to take our own
actions." You rightly pointed to that. And as you say, Richard, it is important that we continue to try and get from Nikki Haley, exactly what
she meant from that because it certainly sounded like a threat.
Stand by, I want to get to Matthew Chance. Matthew, we heard from the Russian representative who said the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable
under any circumstances, but he said he sees no particular need to adopt a resolution. If the council thinks it's desirable, he said it needs to have
a completely different form and shape. What did you make of what he said?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I mean, this was the deputy Russian ambassador, essentially recanting what
the Russian position is on this. And from the very early hours of this morning, local time here in Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry put out an
entirely different version of events to that that's been accepted and that that's been talked about and commented on over the previous 24 hours. That
they said that the chemicals that caused this huge loss of life were the result of a chemical weapons factory that was being run by the rebels in
Southern Idlib, being bombed by Syrian warplanes. It wasn't a Syrian chemical weapons attack at all. They were shifting responsibility to the
rebels in Syria for this.
They said that chemical terrorism, what the ambassador said, deputy ambassador. "Chemical terrorism is something that increasingly needs to be
addressed, but our attempts have not been a success due to the indifference of our western colleagues. The west has an obsession with regime change,"
he says, and that is what's hindering the Security Council. So, he was blaming, you know, the western powers for what's taking place in Syria.
[12:05:16] ANDERSON: And the response from Nikki Haley, "Assad, Russia and Iran," she said, "have no interest in peace. This is a disgrace." How
will her words go down in Moscow?
CHANCE: I think -- I think they'll go down pretty badly, actually. Because, I think what we're seeing here are some of the toughest words
we've heard from a member of the Trump administration, and Nikki Haley, of course, is appointed by Trump - is appointed by Trump to be the United
Nations representative of the United States. And these were scathing comments she had for Russia. She said of the - of the alleged chemical
attack, that it bore all the hallmarks of Assad's use of chemical weapons. "Russia, she said, cannot escape responsibility for this. How many more
children have to die before Russia cares?" You know, there was almost more anger directed against Russia than there was against the Syrians by the
U.S. representative. And so, I think that will be taken note of, and I think what we're hearing and what we're seeing are the nails in the coffin
of the reset in the relationship between Moscow and Washington being hammered in one by one, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Your reporters, folks, in New York at the U.N., and in Moscow, thank you, chaps.
Syria's war has raged on for more than six years, and sadly, this is not the first time that we have seen the use of chemical weapons. Back in
August of 2012, former U.S. President Barack Obama declared a red line on Syria's chemical weapons. But reports of their use continued. In early
2013, the government and rebels traded accusations over a gas attack in Northern Syria. The deadliest was in the rebel-held suburb of Ghouta on
August the 21st, 2013.
The United Nations said it collected clear and convincing evidence that Syria used sarin gas against civilians. Damascus denying it. But the U.N.
Security Council ordered Syria to destroy its chemical stockpile. In June, 2014, the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons says it has
removed the last of the Syrian government's chemical weapons. Well, Tuesday's attack as some wondering if Bashar al-Assad and his allies are
testing their new U.S. administration, just as he did with President Obama's red line way back.
Ibrahim Fraihat is an international conflict resolution professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. And he joins me now. Before we talk
about whether this is a test, just tell me, do you think this chemical attack will change the situation in Syria?
IBRAHIM FRAIHAT, DOHA INSTITUTE FOR GRADUATE STUDIES INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFESSOR: Sadly speaking, I don't think so. I think we have
seen more horrible attacks happen in the past, in 2003. And the International Community was unable to do anything. The institution that we
have the framework of the institution, the international community, is working as an out-dated security council, is unable to respond to the
international conflicts that happening in world, mainly Syria these days. So, it's -- there is a paralysis in the Security Council. These
resolutions that we are seeing today, they're not going to yield any results.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating (INAUDIBLE) because it was the Russian representative who actually was admonishing the west for not taking any
action in the past. Alluding to the red lines that Obama had set should chemical weapons be used, and then stepping back from the breach when, in
fact, there was evidence that they had been used in the past. What did you make of the U.S. representative, Nikki Haley, who happens to be the
coordinating chair at present, who closed her remarks by saying "If the United Nations consistently fails to act, then it will be up to individual
states to take their own action"? We will as an organization, drill down on what it is from her that she meant but what do you think? What do you
read into that?
FRAIHAT: Well, in order to understand this, actually we have to understand it in its context. And so, we have to read the U.S. position as a whole.
Nikki Haley, the same person was making statements on March 31st, that removing the Assad regime is not a priority for the Trump administration.
This has emboldened the Assad regime to take such actions and to behave the way that it's behaving. Now, we are seeing, yes, a completely different
position from what we understand or what we can read of her statement at the Security Council, alluding -
[12:10:17] ANDERSON: Is this confused, or is this - is this bargaining? Is this negotiation? Or, is this - or is this something that none of us
have read, that cloaking one position as it were, would reveal a completely different one? Does that make sense? You know what I'm saying, don't you?
FRAIHAT: There is - there is absolutely an entire confusion over the whole process. Yesterday, President Trump was blaming Obama for the red lines,
and this doesn't -- this doesn't say anything. Does that mean that he has green lines for - because there -- I mean, we have seen only the blame
game, we haven't seen anything that's coming from Trump himself. Now, this position, yes, it's alluding for some sort of an action, potentially. But,
we don't know yet because other statements do not support it.
ANDERSON: Because when we heard from the U.S., we heard from Russia, and we heard from Syria itself. We heard earlier from the British and from the
French. What we haven't heard from, other stakeholders. This is such a complicated and convoluted multi-layered conflict. Not least with
stakeholders like those from here, counterbacking the rebellion. Certainly in the early days, if not still.
FRAIHAT: Absolutely. You are absolutely right, Becky. And this actually adds huge pressure on the stakeholders supporting the Syrian revolution,
mainly as you said, I mean, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. And this is a test of credibility, it's not about only the financial support that they
give to their position, but now it's a test of their relationship with the U.S. administration. To what extent that diplomatically they're able to
impact the Trump administration position over this, and seriously support the (INAUDIBLE) position.
But there are other stakeholders, like Iran, for example, that are part of this as well. This adds a huge pressure differently on Iran because it
raises the issue of complicity of Iran with the Assad regime. Because let's keep in mind that Iran was a victim of the chemical weapons back in
the 80s, in the war with Saddam Hussein. And now, we are seeing that Iran is moved to the other part of the process, to the other end of the process,
which makes it complicit if this proves to be the Assad regime (INAUDIBLE)
ANDERSON: And you provide some excellent context to what as we have described is such a complicated and multi-layered conflict. But we do know
that it is killing people and it is killing people in the most ghastly fashion. Thank you.
FRAIHAT: Yes. Thank you.
ANDERSON: We certainly heard outright condemnation from the Qataris, and indeed, from the Turks earlier on today.
Well, Jordan's King Abdullah has just arrived at the White House. He and the U.S. President Donald Trump expected to discuss the suspected chemical
attack in Syria, as well as the war against ISIS. Mr. Trump and the Jordanian leader are also expected to talk about Arab efforts to renew
peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The two leaders will have a news conference in about an hour's time at the White House.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
ANDERSON: Well, a lot of foreign policy issues facing the Trump administration, and now the plot thickens. Breaking news just in to CNN,
U.S. President Donald Trump's Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council. Bannon's role there was
controversial from the start. He was an executive with a right-wing media outlet before taking a job as one of Mr. Trump's top advisers.
I want to get you more on the details of what is an enormous shake-up from CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, is this a big
surprise? And just talk to us about the significance, if you will.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Becky, I think it is a big -- it is a significant move here. I mean, what we remember in the
first weekend of the Trump administration when Steve Bannon was quietly made a member of what's called the principals committee of the National
Security Council, really giving him a seat directly along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of
Defense and others here, and that, you know, was a controversial decision, to say the very least, having your top political strategist, right at the
table of these, you know, decisions being made.
[12:14:53] So, this is now a return to a more traditional structure, if you will, here. And it is certainly showing the rising influence and the
empowerment of General H.R. McMaster, who is the National Security Adviser here now, who the President has given some significant latitude and leeway
to pick his own advisers to be on the National Security Council here. And it is, indeed, a diminishing role at least in the foreign policy sphere for
Steven Bannon. I mean, he still is the chief strategist of this White House, he's still is in charge of domestic legislative things and he has a
very powerful imprint on the administration.
But by removing him from, you know, the formal listing of principals on the National Security Council, as all of these global threats are facing this
President, is indeed significant. And it is yet another sign that this administration, which has had more controversy than accomplishment, is
really taking some steps, at least, to reboot. The influence of Jared Kushner, the powerful son-in-law, Ivanka Trump, others are certainly rising
as we're seeing today. The influence of Steve Bannon, at least in this foreign policy area, certainly diminished.
ANDERSON: And it seems reverting to some more traditional assets, to inform the decision-making, not least those of the Department of Defense
and others. What, though, of -- what seems to be, such a diminished role for the -- for state and for the Secretary of State?
ZELENY: Sure. I mean, the Secretary of State, that's a little bit of a slightly separate question here. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has
certainly not been the most visible, the most powerful or influential Secretary of State by any stretch of the imagination. So, I'm not sure if
this will empower him more, I kind of think it may not. But removing Steve Bannon from this, certainly, I want to say, a recognition, I believe, that
you know, the Trump administration thought they could come in and do things, you know, sort of a different way. Different ways don't always
work in this respect. So again, Steve Bannon staying in the White House, is still the chief strategist, but his portfolio has been trimmed back a
bit - trimmed back a bit, and you know, it's coming at a -- you know, at a very critical time here, as the President will be meeting at this -- at
this moment he's meeting with the King of Jordan. And of course, talking about Syria and every other challenge, every other crises, really, on every
continent of this world. Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes. Including that of the Middle East peace process, the stalled Middle East peace process. Jeff, appreciate it.
Viewers, we're live from Doha in Qatar, in what has been a very, very busy news cycle. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up, it was the announcement that energized this small gulf nation, Qatar. But as the country pulls out all the stops ahead of the World Cup
in 2022, what price does migrant workers pay? I put that question and many others to the man helping the country get ready for it. All of that is
ANNOUNCER: Breaking News.
ANDERSON: King of Jordan's King Abdullah and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke briefly moments ago. Plenty of monarchs arrive at the White House.
Let's hear what was said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: These are very troubled times in the Middle East, and we see what happened just recently, yesterday in
Syria, horrible things, unspeakable. But, I want to thank you, both, very much for being at the White House, and we're going to have some very
interesting discussions. OK. Thank you very much. OK. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: King Abdullah at the White House with President Trump. They're clearly well-informed. And their discussions, it will, I'm sure, be at the
top of the agenda, alongside that of the stalled Middle East peace process. A very, very busy week in Washington, a very busy day for international
Live from Qatar, we are in the City of Doha tonight. You're watching CNN. And this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
[12:20:04] At the top of the show, we told you just how involved Qatar is around the world. And the most important eyes in this country will be
watching all of this unfold right now along with you and me, because this country has been sending cash and guns to groups that backs in Syria all
against President Assad. And that's why it's so important that we are following this story for you from Doha tonight.
Well, if you've ever visited Doha, you'll know it's constantly looking forward from business to culture. (INAUDIBLE) is on a nonstop mission, it
seems, to make its capital a truly global one. But great progress often comes at a great price, especially regarding Qatar's most ambitious goal,
the World Cup. Human rights groups have long criticized the rights of migrant construction workers here. The International Labor Organization is
now giving Doha until November to implement reforms or face an investigation. Well, even this new independent report ordered by Qatar
itself thinks there is more to do. Although, it generally praised progress so far. Well, I spoke to Hassan Al Thawadi who is tasked with delivering
the 2020 World Cup here. He exclusively described to me the issue that simply unavoidable here in Doha.
HASSAN AL THAWADI, QATAR 2022 SUPREME COMMITTEE SECRETARY GENERAL: Unfortunately, people have the impression that football for us is a glitzy
project, it's an indulgence more than anything else, but it's far from that. This is an evolution that started from the 1940s all the way to the
current day. It's actually the football association was established before even we gained our official independence in 1971. It's a social movement,
football is a social movement. And for us, it was a very, very big social movement. It kind of became part of our community.
ANDERSON: A community ecstatic when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
THAWADI: The place was filled, filled with people living in Qatar, Qataris, expats, everybody, who are just waiting in anticipation of what
the result was. And now, when -- I still get goose bumps when I see (INAUDIBLE) because that's the essence. That's it. You see that is --
that is -- that is what it meant for us. That is ultimately what it meant to us. That is the spirit that we want to capture, and what this sport
wants to capture.
ANDERSON: And now, the country is in preparation mode, as it gets set to host the beautiful game's most important event. And it starts with where
all the action will take place.
THAWADI: It's a stadium that looks like a tent. In fact, that's exactly what it is. It represents more importantly also the culture of
ANDERSON: And with the plans in place, we set out to see the progress.
We are in one of the eight stadiums, going back from 12 originally that will host the World Cup tournament of 2022. Talk to me about the progress
THAWADI: The people has still not agreed on the final number and we're in discussions with them to finalize the final number of stadiums that will
fit the operating model of Qatar 2022. But we're moving ahead with eight stadiums, and in case, the discussions go on, there might be an extra
stadium to be developed.
ANDERSON: This one albeit is already well underway. It will seat 60,000 fans on game day. To build this 200,000 square-meter stadium,
approximately 3,000 workers are on site. And it's questions over the welfare of construction workers on Qatar's stadium sites that has dogged
this mega event since the country clinched the bid. Human rights groups say they have seen improvements, but insist reforms have not gone far
enough. I put these concerns squarely to the man in charge.
THAWADI: Change has to be made. No country is perfect. Least of all, of course, the State of Qatar. The State of Qatar as well recognizes that
progress needs to be made. And progress needs to be made in a way where it's sustainable and permanent. It's not done just to appease the critics,
and then when the spotlight moves away, things -- because they're not sustainable, go back to what they were and then nobody would care. Our
intention, in terms of progress and development, is something that we have done as a result of our beliefs, our values, our principles that we have.
ANDERSON: So, you can see there have been instances of exploitation and that there continues to be opportunities for contractors to exploit their
labor force unless more is done.
[12:24:52] THAWADI: What I can say is this, and this is not exclusive to the State of Qatar, and from what we've seen worldwide, there's been
exploitation that occurs in relation to workers. And in terms of Qatar, the laws have been put in place, but there have been people that have not
applied the laws.
ANDERSON: How will you secure fans, footballers and FIFA officials, alike?
THAWADI: Obviously, the security of the fans and the security of the tournament is of the utmost importance for us. And the security committee
itself has looked at and partnered up with international organizations, not least of which is Interpol. Communicating with international law
enforcement organizations, for databases and identifying potential threats.
ANDERSON: What help do you need from others? I know -- I know there's been some reach-out to the Brits, for example.
THAWADI: Well, I was - I was just about to say that.
THAWADI: Well, for example, we've -- last week, we signed two Memorandum of Understanding agreements with security forces within England and within
the United Kingdom. I believe the United Kingdom has a - has a police force related to football, specifically to football, and we're looking at
developing something similar to that as well. And again, benefitting from the experience that England had from London 2012.
ANDERSON: What of the fans, Hassan, alcohol is a part and parcel of the game of football, and watching football in many parts of the world. You
are on record saying that you don't want to see alcohol being sold at the stadium like this. Is it going to happen?
THAWADI: In relation to alcohol, we've always said it, there will be no alcohol in public places, but there will be alcohol in certain areas
provided, in certain limited areas provided. In relation to the stadium, this is a discussion that we're still undergoing with FIFA.
ANDERSON: Talk to me about the challenges off the pitch. You talked to me about the tangible benefits going forward of what is this megaevent in the
future. Let's talk about on the pitch. What will success look like for Qatar in to 2022?
THAWADI: Personally, I think getting out of the group stages and potentially even qualifying beyond the round of '16 will be a - will be a
great success, of course. You know, many host nations -- there are host nations that have crashed for the first time out of the group stages, there
are host nations that have -- that nobody expected much out of them, and yet qualified all the way to the - to the quarterfinals. Success varies.
ANDERSON: You're a football fan, correct?
THAWADI: I am a football fan, yes.
ANDERSON: Are you any good as a player?
THAWADI: Well, seeing as we're going to be very honest, I'd like to think - well, let me then be a, you know, qualified to just two different ways.
My personal opinion -- my personal opinion, I was a very talented player. The professional opinion of everybody around me was -- I was a mediocre
player. Let's just leave it at mediocre at that.
ANDERSON: When you deliver this World Cup in 2022, and there's no doubt you will, correct?
THAWADI: No doubt whatsoever.
ANDERSON: When you deliver this, and you've been working this project for something like 12 to 14 years of your life, that is a huge personal and
THAWADI: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our involvement in the World Cup is not limited to football. It's not limited to construction.
We believe that this will be a benchmark when it comes to looking at hosting major events and not just World Cups. For the very first time, the
Middle East, that unfortunately today has been represented throughout the world in a very negative way, in a way that showcases violence more than
anything else, when on the other hand, the Middle East is a rich area, it's a rich region, both in terms of culture and in terms of hospitality, in
terms of sense of humor. We have a great sense of humor that people unfortunately don't get to experience.
ANDERSON: Hassan Al Thawadi speaking to me here in Qatar. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD live from Doha in Qatar this hour.
Thank you for watching.