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Partial Syrian Cease-Fire Set; G20 Summit; Battle against ISIS. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2017 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome. Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta from the CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. president Donald Trump is back in Washington after meeting with other leaders of the world's most powerful nations at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. He has dispatched his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the U.S., Russia and Jordan are awaiting the start of a new cease-fire for parts of Syria. It's set to get underway in three hours in the southwestern region of the country.

Mr. Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, worked out the cease-fire during their meeting at the G20.

CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has more on what Mr. Putin is saying about that meeting.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: On that contentious issue of what was it that was said between President Trump and President Putin, President Putin, in his press conference, said that he thinks that President Trump accepted his answer. But he said you would have to actually ask him.

But what was fascinating was the importance that President Putin put in the cease-fire that he said the United States gives support for in the southwest part of Syria. He seemed to think this was a big deal, that it had was overlooked.

But he also had another headline in his press conference there that he feels that the United States is taking a much more pragmatic approach in Syria to the point of being willing to pool resources -- that's what he said, "pool resources" in Syria.

That perhaps stronger language than we heard from Secretary of State Tillerson when he was describing how the meeting had gone between the two presidents on Saturday. But for Putin's point of view, clearly feeling in the driving seat on

Syria, clearly feeling that he now has buy-in, at least from the United States, from President Trump, who he said, by the way, was a different person behind closed doors than what you may see in public.

But it was left to Angela Merkel here to really sort of sum up what was achieved at the G20 in the final communique on trade. She was very clear that it was a fight against protectionism and a fight against unfair trade.

Now that is something that she has conceived in advance of this summit, as the United States really being against free trade and more for protectionism. So this leaves the United States something as an outlier on that; on globalization, too, she's been very clear.

She feels that the United States on globalization is sort of out of step, that it would rather see winners and losers, that it's OK for the bosses to profit. But she's always talked about a win-win situation.

So on globalization, she was clear, they've agreed that everyone should benefit from globalization.

On steel, a big concern going into this summit that, on steel, there could be tariffs or quotas imposed by the United States. This could lead to a trade war, a global trade war. And that seems to have been headed off.

There's going to be a commission that will look at the global steel trade. That will report in November. So that issue seems to be headed off.

But she had the biggest criticism for President Trump and the United States on the issue of climate change. She said it was deplorable that the United States appears to be pulling out of the Paris climate change accord. That was her strongest language.

So at the end of the G20, it leaves Angela Merkel very much a sort of a central figure here and the United States' President Trump, for the first time in many, many years, looking as something of an outlier, not agreeing with so many of the other nations on some of the big issues -- trade and climate change -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Hamburg, Germany.


VANIER: As I mentioned earlier, the U.S. secretary of state is on his way to Kiev, Ukraine, now. It's Rex Tillerson's first official visit to Ukraine. He's expected to meet with President Petro Poroshenko very soon. The State Department says Tillerson intends to reaffirm America's commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ivan Watson is in Moscow.

Ivan, the U.S. president is sending his top diplomat to Ukraine less than 48 hours after meeting the Russian president.

Do you read anything into that?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It may very well be to reassure the Ukranian government, which has been at war with Russian-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine for years now, a conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

And, of course, also Russia in 2014 invaded occupied and annexed the Ukrainian Peninsula of Crimea, which triggered a whole round of sanctions involving the U.S. punishing Russia as well as the European Union.

So you have essentially two enemies, the Russian and Ukrainian governments, the Ukrainians very concerned, of course, that they could be left out in the dark or sold down the river, as the U.S. tries to develop stronger --


WATSON: -- ties with Russia.

Now Rex Tillerson is traveling. He'll be meeting face-to-face with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko.

One of the announcements that came out of the bilateral meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin was that the U.S. was appointing a special envoy to deal with mediating and negotiating around the Ukrainian conflict.

And that is Kurt Volker, who is a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. And from what I understand, Mr. Volker will be accompanying Secretary Tillerson to Kiev to essentially be introduced to the Ukrainian president and the Ukrainian government as part of this latest diplomatic venture.

And from Kiev, Secretary Tillerson will move on to Turkey and then Kuwait -- Cyril.

VANIER: Ivan, let's backtrack a little bit if you will to the Trump- Putin meeting on Friday evening. You know, it was a much anticipated meeting, the clash of titans, diplomatically speaking.

Now that it's happened and they had apparently a good moment; the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, saying that there was good chemistry between the two men.

Where does that leave the U.S.-Russia relationship?

WATSON: Well, it certainly seems to have moved forward or perhaps warmed a bit, compared to where it was just a few days ago, when had you senior Kremlin officials saying that the relations between the two the governments were at zero.

The Russians are delighted with the results of this, delighted with the fact that these two presidents met face-to-face, the first bilateral face-to-face meeting between a Russian and a U.S. president in nearly two years.

Vladimir Putin was asked about this during a long press conference, at which he was very comfortable and quite happy, almost giddy, it seemed at times, in Hamburg.

And he was asked about his observations of the U.S. president. And that came with a real winner of a quote here. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): TV Trump is very different from the real president. He's absolutely specific, absolutely adequate in his perception of the dialogue partner. He analyzes things quickly, replies to the raised questions or new elements in the conversation.

So I think if our future relations will unfold the same way as our meeting yesterday, there is every reason to believe that we can restore, at least partially, the level of cooperation we need.


WATSON: The thorniest issue here is, of course, allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, colluded with the Trump campaign. Putin denied this. There's some controversy about whether or not President Trump accepted his denial.

And President Trump is returning to Washington, where he faces a number of investigations about this very issue -- Cyril.

VANIER: Ivan Watson, reporting live from Moscow, thank you very much.

And a cease-fire in Southwest Syria is set to begin in just a few hours. The truce was finalized by U.S. president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of that G20 summit.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says the two countries promised to ensure that all groups comply with the cease-fire.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Amman, Jordan.

Jomana, there have been so many cease-fires before in Syria; few of them have actually held for really any significant period of time.

What are the chances of success for this one?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that are remains to be seen. This cease-fire is the result of months of work behind the scenes and negotiations between the Russians, the Americans and the Jordanians, each of these parties using their influence over different groups that are involved in the fighting in Southern Syria to reach this agreement to create a deescalation zone in Southwestern Syria that begins with this cease-fire that is meant to go into effect in about three hours from now.

So, you know, there are still key issues, like the enforcement mechanism and the monitoring of this cease-fire, that still need to be ironed out. And we've heard from U.S. officials saying that they will be working on this in the weeks ahead, of course, a monitoring force on the ground.

It's very important that this monitoring force is viewed as a mutual party by all those involved. Of course, it's a very complicated battle zone in Southern Syria with so many different groups involved there, so many different groups, different interests. And, you know, a lot could go wrong there.

So we have to wait and see how different this is to previous cease- fires -- Cyril.

VANIER: What could this one mean for the wider Syrian conflict going forward?

Could it be a sign of things to come?

KARADSHEH: Well, as you know, Cyril, it's such a complex battlefield, Syria. What could work in the southern part of the country doesn't necessarily mean it could work in other parts of --


KARADSHEH: -- the country. So, yes, there has been this work going on to try and create these different deescalation zones, keeping in mind that, yes, this agreement was reached. We know it's the United States, the Russians and the Jordanians who are really involved in it.

But don't forget there's also an ongoing process in Kazakhstan, in Astana, the capital, where you've had the Russians, the Turks and Iran really heading this process there, to try and create different deescalation zones with Jordan and the United States, just observers in the process.

So I think the idea of deescalation zones is something everyone agrees is a way forward.

But very important, when it comes to Southern Syria, Cyril, I think what is key here has been Jordan and also Israel's security, not just from extremist groups that are gaining a foothold in that part of the country but also increased Iranian influence, with Iranian proxies and Iranian-backed militias in that part of the country.

VANIER: All right. Thank you very much. Jomana Karadsheh, reporting live on that situation from Amman, Jordan.

Let's cross the border now and go to Iraq and see what's going on there. The authorities say that final victory is imminent against ISIS in Mosul. Some Iraqi soldiers have begun celebrating.

Mosul has been under ISIS control for three years and the terror group says its fighters are pledging to fight to the death. ISIS is using human shields in the perimeter that it still controls.

And this is the effect. This video from the Iraqi police shows three houses that ISIS blew up. Soldiers rescued at least 30 civilians from under the rubble, including, as you see, children and a newborn.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been tracking the final stages of this fight in Mosul from Northern Syria.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: We've been hearing this for weeks now, where it does appear, according to statements from the Iraqi army, that they feel increasingly confident they're getting to the very final stage of a final stage of kicking ISIS out of the old city of Mosul, the last population center of size they really control in Iraq.

Now it's been torturous going for Iraqi special forces, moving through that dense rabbit warren of alleyways that is the old city of Mosul, much of it reduced to rubble, their progress slowed by ISIS booby traps, snipers; nameless, numberless human shields being used there, civilians trapped in the midst of ISIS.


VANIER: And that brutal offensive has been going on since last October.

In a surprise move now, Venezuela's most prominent dissident was moved from a military prison to house arrest. Crowds in Caracas cheered as Leopoldo Lopez, who has spent 3.5 years in custody, returned home. You see him there.

International pressure seems to have played a big part in that decision. Venezuela is in the midst of economic and political turmoil under the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro.

In recognizing the partial freedom of Lopez, Mr. Maduro called for peace and rectification.

All right. That's it from us, at least for now. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is next. Stay with CNN.