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Deadline Passes For Zimbabwe's Mugabe To Quit; German's Message To Political Parties; Argentine Submarine has Been Missing Since Wednesday; Chancellor Says He Will Steer Germany Through Crisis; Saudi Arabia Allies Call For United Front Against Iran; Toll Of War In Yemen. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 20, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I as the President of Zimbabwe and as their commander in chief --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hospital is actually overflowing quite literally with patients.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that actually your first meeting


BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: Zimbabwe's long time ruler clings to power. Yemen's children are starving with no end in sight to conflict.

Have a new look in one of the world's iconic choice. This hour we're connecting your world.

A deadline that has been and gone. A President who remains defiant and a people who grow increasingly angry. The situation in Zimbabwe can be

described in one word. Uncertain. Students are back out on the streets. They're demanding Robert Mugabe resign as President. His own Party wants

him out too. Mr. Mugabe has so far ignored the deadline set for him to go on Sunday. He seemed to indicate he was going nowhere.


ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: I, as the President of Zimbabwe, and as their commander in chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my

attention to. And do believe that has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy.


ANDERSON: Well, certainly not the speech that some had expected. Faria Sevenzo, is in Harare right now. He is following developments for you.

This was a deadline that was set by Mugabe's own Party for him to resign which certainly a Party that says it backs impeachment. The question is

when will those proceedings begin and how long will they take? He certainly hasn't gone at this point, has he?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Becky, he hasn't. He is still there. Constitutionally, he is still the President. Although in reality

not in control of the country. He has to basically -- there are constitutions people are following. One is the Osama PF party, the ruling

Party's constitution. Which says that to hand over power from Mr. Mugabe to whoever takes over has to happen during their congress, which is

happening in two or three weeks' time in December. The other one is the part about impeachment in parliament. Now, this morning the MDC Man who

tabled that motion rule, who tabled that motion of impeachment, is not -- he is now going to withdraw it on the basis they say they're going to be

dealing with internally. Of course, at the moment we know that our other team, CNN team is at the headquarters watching people arrive. And they

will be tabling all kinds of things they want to discuss at congress. There's no doubt about it. You must remember it has reached such a level

that it is not possible anymore for Robert Mugabe to be President. The question now is when that will happen, when will he go? There are other

things. You mentioned last night, he said he is not going, he is staying. Well, the army does not want to make this look like a coup. Remember all

the way back from Wednesday of last week we had all been talking about an apparent coup. The idea of a coup means it's completely unconstitutional.

He was trying to show that whatever the army, they did they did it within the confines of the Zimbabwean law. Therefore this is not a coup. They

arise to step in when the Iraq's that has set in was becoming far too apparent for the Zimbabweans and the nations as well.

ANDERSON: Farai is in Harare. Stay with CNN as we find out more, of courses, we will bring that to you, very unclear as to what happens next in

Zimbabwe at President.

German Chancellor Angela Markel says she is determined to steer her country through its latest political crisis. Talks to form a coalition government

fell apart on Saturday. She just an hour or so ago, so just about an hour ago the President came out urging the country's political parties to

reconsider their position or to the take of Germany and the rest of Europe.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (TRANSALTOR): All parties elected in the general election are obliged to serve our country for the common good. I

expect readiness to talk in order to form a government in the foreseeable future.


[10:05:03] ANDERSON: All right. That was the German President. We'll have more on that as we get it for you.

Ships and aircraft from at least seven countries are scouring the southern Atlantic for an argentine submarine. The Arsan Crown was last Wednesday

still intact. Experts say the crew have seven to ten days of oxygen left. For more, let's bring in Patrick Oppmann who is monitoring this from Cuba.

Patrick, what do we know at this point?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Argentine officials say they are tripling their efforts to try and fine the submarine before time runs out,

Becky. In the sky you have U.S. planes that have specialized equipment for finding submarines. You have ships from the United Kingdom that are using

sonar to see if it is so the bottom of the ocean, but time is running out. They know they have about two weeks of food. They estimate they could have

five to ten days' worth of oxygen, but no one really knows because that really depends on the last time they went to the surface and got more air.

So it is very concerning. The weather conditions are not cooperating, over the weekend Argentine naval officials said the thought they had some good

news, that there appeared to be some activity from the ship that they attempted to make calls using their satellite communications equipment.

That turned out not to be the case. The phone company last night that operates the telecommunications equipment on board the submarine said that

it has not been used since it disappeared last Wednesday. For the family members of the missing crew, it must be a very, very long wait as we turn

to day five and still no sign of this missing submarine.

ANDERSON: The very latest on that story from Patrick monitoring the situation there from Cuba. I wanted to get you more and the German

chancellor Angela Merkel who says she is determined to steer her country through its latest political crisis. Talks to form a coalition government

fell apart Sunday. As I said, she met with the German President first thing Monday morning. CNN Atika Shubert joining us from Berlin. Atika,

Angela Merkel has been at the helm 12 years. Just how big a job does she have now? And what are Germany's options?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She has -- she is in big political dilemma right now and perhaps one of the most weakest and most vulnerable

points she is been in for quite some time. I mean basically it was always going to be difficult for her to try and keep this coalition together. I

mean you had greens on one side and opposing them the free Democrats, he FTP, which is far more conservative, so it was always going to be tough,

but I think it is pretty clear she was pretty surprised and other people who were part of this were also surprised that the FTP walked out in the

way that they did. The sticking point seems to haven't, been the issue of immigration. And Merkel also mentioned that when she said how she

regretted the way that the coalition talks fell apart. There's been a lot of speculation as to whether this means that there will be a new election.

For the moment, however, as we heard from the President earlier, he is basically said listen, get your act together and get back to the

negotiating table, I will personal mediate these talks, but there is responsibility by all the parties to do their best to form a government as

quickly as possible.

ANDERSON: Atika, if she can't form a government and just how big a deal is that? It want some context here for the wider European story. This is,

after all, the engine of growth for the E.U.

SHUBERT: Absolutely. This is a big deal. This has never happened before in Germany's post World War II history. It's an unprecedented politic

event. It seriously weakens Merkel's leadership. What it means is that any grand plans for E.U. reform, for example, French President Emmanuel

Macron may have are going to have to wait afar as Germany is concerned. Germany needs to get its house in order before it can contemplate getting

into the grand visions that Macron may be seeing at the moment. Of course it complicates anything having to do with Brexit.

That doesn't mean, however, that everything stops. Merkel remains the chancellor. She is firmly in control of the government. Who anybody

looking for some big moves happening across the E.U. are probably going to be slowed down while Germany takes a little bit longer to form either a

coalition government, possibly, although this is a remote possible that she chooses to lead a minority government or we could even see new else

sometime early next year.

[10:10:02] ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right. Atika Shubert on the story.

Out of Berlin for you today, a busy, busy hour for you. Saudi Arabia and it Arab allies are calling for a united front to counter Iranian influence

after an emergency meeting in Cairo. It also taking aim at Hezbollah accusing it of supporting terrorism. Hezbollah of course part of Lebanon's

government. The country in deep political crisis after the shocked resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. His mysterious two week stay in

Saudi Arabia deepened concerns for Lebanon's stability and raised fears the country may become a battleground and the rivalry between Riyadh on the one

hand and Tehran on the other. CNN Ben Wedeman is joining us live. Mr. Hariri says he will explain his abrupt resignation when he returns to

Beirut this week. Do we know when that is at this point and what is his likely reception?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point we understand that outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri is going to Egypt

tomorrow and he said he will be back in Beirut for the celebrations of Lebanon's Independence Day which is a Wednesday. So precisely when or from

where he is coming, we don't know. But certainly many people are assuming at this point that he will be here on Wednesday. By Wednesday. Now, as

far as his reception, that is going to be interesting. You know, he left Saudi Arabia on Saturday after two weeks there under to many Lebanese from

the man on the top, the President, to the man on the street, mysterious circumstances.

He left Saturday, Saudi Arabia to Paris, and even though in the opinion of many Lebanese he is a freer man, he still has yet to explain the

circumstances of his resignation and his two week stay in Saudi Arabia. He is made it clear that he will explain his stay there as soon as he gets

back. It's a bit odd that he is in Paris. He can certainly say something. But until now he is said nothing.

Now, when he gets back, it's assumed he is going to submit his resignation officially. Because until now, the President of Lebanon says he will not

accept it as long as Hariri is out of the country. Now, will he submit the resignation or he might simply withdraw it and carry on. Now, it's

questionable that the Saudis who are very closely aligned with Saad Hariri will be particularly happy about that, but at this point, as fact of the

matter is we don't know what he is going to do when he gets back.

The reception could be a little touchy, because even though many Lebanese supported him while he was in Saudi Arabia, as a symbol of a Lebanese

leader under difficult circumstances, his standing as a politician, as a leader, has been damaged, because of all the questions about why he

resigned. Did he resign as a result of Saudi pressure? Was he under house arrests so many people say? One more little bit of information, Becky that

at the top of this hour the secretary general of Hezbollah will be speaking. No doubt he'll have something interesting to add to this very

big conversation. Becky.

ANDERSON: Complex one. All right. Ben Wedeman is in Beirut for you. The proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran having devastating consequences in

Yemen. Tonight we're going to show you the horrific human toll of that conflict. Just ahead, a hospital visit that will quite frankly break your



[10:16:55] ANDERSON: It is a quarter past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi in the UAE from our Middle East programming hub. You're watching CNN. This is

"Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson. If you are just joining us, you are very welcome. It's simply hard to imagine that estimated 130

children are dying every day from starvation and disease in Yemen. Who knows how many will take their last breaths during this very show. From

easily preventable causes. An aid group say things could only get worse. If the Saudi led blockade of Yemen continues. Tonight the World marks

International children's day, we remember the United Nations declaration that all children have inherent right to life, to education and play and

the right to health services. In Yemen, the reality is tragically different. We have an exclusive report now from Iona Craig and we warn you

that the images you will see are very disturbing.


IONA CRAIG, INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE JOURNALIST: It's very easy obviously to impact of the war when you are traveling through areas that have been

conflicted affected, where there's a lot of destruction, whether it has been air strikes, but it's the impact on the wider civilian population that

you often don't really get to see. This 9-year-old boy in the hospital and as you see from the footage, he is suffering from severe acute


Obviously it was very shocking to see a young boy in a state like that. He is skeletally thin. And he was lifeless just lying there while the doctors

were trying to administer glucose to him. His female family members were with him and they've been unable to bring him into the hospital any sooner,

because of the cost of getting help to the hospital. There are many children like him. The hospital is actually overflowing quite literally

with patients. The hospital normally before the war was taking in 700 patient or treating 700 patients a day and now they're treating around

2,500 patients a day. You can see that so clearly in the hospital. It has like a bus station. You walked in there and it's, elbow to elbow. People

just barring through the corridors trying to get access to medical care.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): We are overwhelmed by the number of patients and medical solutions and the increase of diesel prices and the

increase of the exchange rate of the dollar. We have five generators operating 24 hours a day and there's not enough to operate the central air

conditioning system. We are suffering from the rooms that need air conditioning 24 hours.


CRAIG: In that particular hospital that staff haven't been paid for more than a year. The government salaries haven't been paid. So effectively

they're working as volunteers. When I was walking around the hospital with the Director, people in the corridors, staff was stopping him, begging for

money essentially. And he wasn't able to give them anything. The hospital is struggling just over -- just to operate. And the Director of the

hospital said to me, you know, if this continues on this sort of level, for the next six months, they don't know if they'll be able to stay open for

six months' time, if the hospital will even still open.


[10:20:42] ANDERSON: George Khoury is the head of office, OCHA in Yemen, he joins me now by skype. Let's drill down this. How complicit are

countries who are part of all support, the ongoing Saudi led coalition campaign on Yemen in this?

GEORGE KHOURY, HEAD, OCHA IN YEMEN: Well, thank you. The blockade was imposed on Yemen without any kind of notification to the United Nations or

to the agencies here. So the country's leading the coalition, you know, have direct responsibility, have direct responsibility on what's going on

right now in Yemen. Like you mentioned in your report, every day, 130 children die every day in Yemen. Or if you put it otherwise, every ten

minutes a child dies in Yemen of preventable disease and of starvation. That was the situation before the blockade was imposed on Yemen. The

situation since then, since the blockade, has deteriorated sharply and as you can imagine women and children are among the most vulnerable groups


At risk not only because of the conflict and the conduct of hostilities, but also because of the malnutrition like you mentioned in your report and

because of disease. We have 400,000 children, by the way, who are severely malnourished like the child you featured in your report. These children,

they depend for their survivals on therapeutic feeding and is supplies that we provide to these people. So we cannot afford any break in our supply

pipelines, in our humanitarian supply pipelines.

As we speak, because of the blockade we have 29 ship, 29 vessel with half million tons of humanitarian supplies that are waiting in seaports and

cannot reach humans. We cannot reach the seaport. We cannot get our humanitarian supplies. The country is running out of fuel, running out of

food, and you can imagine without fuel there is no electricity, there is no cleaning water. So the situation is literally deteriorating by the day,

because of the blockade.

ANDERSON: The Saudis and those involved in the coalition say there is a reason for this blockade. They are trying to prevent the import of weapons

and they refer to the ballistic missile fired at Riyadh just a week or so ago. What are they telling you specifically as a humanitarian organization

about how they will help to ensure that you can get this aid on the move? What are they doing to help?

KHOURY: Well, right now there is a blockade. We cannot access the country humanitarian shipments, staff, aid workers cannot access the country. The

United Nations last year has established a verification mechanism. It's called the United Nations verification and inspection mechanism. That is

the mechanism that inspects vessels, before commercial vessels before they come to Yemen. This is the functioning mechanism. If there are any

concerns, it has to be discussed within that context. The humanitarian aid does not carry any sort of supplies and cargo other than food, other than

medicine that we bring to these people, so there is absolutely no reason for blocking the humanitarian cargo from coming to the country. As I

mentioned earlier there are millions of people --

ANDERSON: Sorry. I'm just -- for our viewer's sake, and I hear your frustration, and I've listened to the frustration of so many humanitarian

organizations of late. Can you explain why you think it is that this mechanism, this facility has broken down, that this humanitarian

catastrophe is also failing to inspire a satisfactory response from the rest of the world?

[10:25:15] KHOURY: That is the question for the media. Here in Yemen this is the largest humanitarian crisis globally. We have the largest food and

security crisis globally. Every month seven million people depend on their daily survival on the food that we provide them. So the question is why is

it not getting that? That is a question mostly for media, for countries. As humanitarian organizations, we are doing our level best on a daily basis

and extremely conflicts and extremely dangerous situations and sometimes to reach the people in need and to keep them. Of course, we're saying

humanitarian organizations, we save lives. We are not the solution for the problem. There has to be a political solution for the problem.

ANDERSON: We do not need reminding of the consequences of this campaign. We see them in the reports. The world is aware. They see these terrible,

terrible images, three rounds of U.N. sponsored peace talks have collapsed and the fighting and casualties as you say have just gotten worse. From

your perspective, what do you want to see happen next?

KHOURY: The first of all, you know from where is stand right now, the first thing that we want to see is the immediate left of this blockade. We

need humanitarian supplies and cargo to come into the country, because we're heading towards a major, major catastrophe if we will not get our

supplies. Any -- we cannot afford any shortages and we cannot afford any break in our supply pipelines. That is the first thing that we want to

see, of course. Second thing, we want the parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under the international humanitarian law. The

coalition has an obligation under the IHN to allow access and to facilitate access of humanitarian agencies to the people in need. Third, both parties

to the conflict, they have also to respect their obligations under the international humanitarian law. They have an obligation to protect the

civilians and steer the civilians from the war. So we call on them to respect all these obligations.

ANDERSON: With that we leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. Millions of people in desperate need of aid in Yemen. To find

out how you can help, use We will be right back.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the consequences of Brexit are about to get a little more real in the next few hour. Two major E.U. agencies that

cover banking and medicine are leaving London ahead of Britain's withdrawal from Europe in March of 2019.

A range of other countries are bidding to host these organizations. But it comes as the Michel Barnier, the E.U.'s Brexit negotiator sounded off

another warning over Britain's access to what is known as the coveted backing passport.

Let's get you to London, a city that really didn't want to go through what it's hearing today. Diana Magnay is there. Explain, Diana, what the

significance and consequences of what we are hearing today are.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll start with Michel Barnier's comments who made it very clear that there can be no exception for

financial services access to the single market.

He said if you want out of the single market, that means for everything, financial service included which means that you will lose your pass porting

rights. Now that has very serious implications for Britain's financial services industry.

And you can be sure that the CEOs of the major banks are going to be taking that very seriously. Another major industry in this country is the pharma

industry who today will be watching what comes out of Brussels in the terms of the relocation of these agencies.

As you said it, the banking authority which is quite smaller about 180 jobs involved with that and then the European medicine agency which has about

900 staff. And there are 16 cities in Europe in the running to take on the EMA, eight for the EBA.

And when you think about it, it's not just 1,000 jobs that are going to be lost from London but it's also everything associated with for example the

European Medicines Agency. So there is 36,000 visitors -- experts who come every year to the EMA to advise the staff there. They need to be housed.

They need a place where there is appropriate transport, et cetera, et cetera, so that the whole thing can keep functioning. The EMA said to me

today, you know, if we have the facilities for our staff to move and for these experts in a particular city, then we can continue to function.

But then it begs the question will the U.K. have an appropriate medical regulatory authority in place on Brexit day so that big pharma continues to

operate here or are you going to see pharmaceutical companies start to relocate?

You are going to research, scientists, all kind of move out of Britain if the regulatory framework here is unclear. And that's just for the

regulatory framework around medicines. There's going to be these kind of questions involved in so many other different areas that are bound with

Brexit. Becky.

ANDERSON: In the meantime, what is Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, offering in terms of what is known as this divorce settlement at


MAGNAY: Well, there is a sense that we're going to hear moreover the course of this week about the divorce bill. There are reported sort of 40

billion pounds, some being bandied around.

[10:35:00] She at the moment is having to kind of go to and forth between the pro E.U. side of her cabinet and Philip Hammond in the likes and then

more Brexiteer side, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis.

But what is being reported is that the Brexiteers are more accommodating of a higher bill because of course that is what the E.U. wants to see and soon

so that the talks in this October -- sorry, December European council meeting can actually move on to the next phase.

But it appears as though more money is certainly being discussed there, the cabinet meeting tomorrow. And David Davis hinted that we would get a

larger sum posited, you know, in the next few days. The question is of course for Theresa May, she wants a little bit of money still to negotiate

with on the trade terms and that is the problem for her anyway.

ANDERSON: The chill winds of Brexit over what looks like a very chilly London today. Thank you, Diana. Diana Magnay in the house for you on the

very latest on those talks. Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, celebrating world children's day. We talked to the minds of the future about how they'd like the adults of this world to change their ways.

And there's something -- some kids here in the Middle East might be excited about these Children's Day. A Barbie who wears a hijab. Meet the woman

who inspired her later this hour. Stay with us. .


ANDERSON: All right, it's about 20 to 8:00 here in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. You're with me, Becky Anderson, on Connect the World.

Earlier in this show we brought you powerful and disturbing images from the war in Yemen, a war that's left countless kids struggling for the survival.


[10:40:00] UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: It's the impact on the civilian population that you often don't really get to see. Absolutely, this 9-year-old boy in

his day the hospital and as you can see from the footage he's suffering from severe acute malnutrition.


ANDERSON: Images like those are one many aid workers are using today, World Children's Day, to remind all of us of the dire situation in Yemen.

The head of the Norwegian refugee council tweeted this.

A senseless military blockade threatens the lives of 50,000 children in Yemen by starvation and disease before end 2017. I want to bring in my

colleague, Nima Elbagir.

She's seen the impact of conflict of children in more war zones than, Nima, you would care to count. In your experience, just how do these brutal

episodes shape children?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's a combination. There's the impact on the child themselves and there's the impact on the

community. There is something I think incredibly tragic about a child who is never allowed to experience true innocence.

There's something incredible about listening to children draw and mimic the sound of helicopter gun ships, the sounds of airplanes dropping bombs and

describing how bedtime is being tucked in, in the cellar under their children's house.

But in addition to that, it also does something to the broader community when they come up against the stark realization that their children don't

matter, that their children's future to the world don't matter t matter.

And it becomes a recruiting ground for extremist thoughts. So when you think about it, it isn't just purely about our humanity and our -- you know

our civilizational ideals to help these children.

It is also about the word that we ourselves want to inhabit. There is so much data on the recruitment of extremist groups and the spread of

extremist ideologies in places where children grow up without a future.

And you see that in Mogadishu, you have seen that in Afghanistan and the worry is that we will see that in Yemen, Becky. So this isn't just about

the children or their families. It is also about the world that we want to live in.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Nima, thank you for that. Watching our show tonight, there will be many who might say that we are -- we grown ups are

making quite a mess of the world and it's time to get some ideas from the new generation.

Well that is the idea behind World Children's Day today, highlighting the potential millions of kids around the world, the grinding problems that so

many are living with. And so many of the issues that stop kids living up to their potential.

Earlier I spoke to Isabela Moner who is a 16-year-old Peruvian-American actress and activist, and Basel Al Rashdan who is a 12-year-old refugee

from Syria who now lives in Canada. I began by asking Basel what adults could be doing better. Here's his advice to all of us.


BASEL AL RASHDAN, SYRIAN REFUGEE: Do listen to their children to understand them, like to be fair and give them their rights and if they

listen to them, like, in the future, these children would be awesome and they would -- they would be really good people.

ANDERSON: Isabela, you are a passionate activist for kids. I know you have been to Peru recently with UNICEF. When you listen to Basel, what do

you hope both his and your message will be today?

ISABELA MONER, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: Look, I just -- I am so glad I have the pleasure and the opportunity to talk to, Basel, and just hear what he

has to say. And he's obviously -- he obviously knows what he's talking about and he's obviously been through a lot.

And that just reminds me why I'm here speaking on behalf of all the kids who are here just for a chance for the people, the great leaders of the

politicians, the decision makers so that they can hear what we have to say.

Because I believe we've all gone through something and we all need to be heard. Eventually, you know, we need to have freedom to be able to be

heard. We need a freedom to be able to make decisions for ourselves. We need a freedom to speak.

ANDERSON: And, Basel, you have got world leaders listening to you today. Tell us a little bit more about Syria. What do you want these grown-ups to

do and say today for kids like you?

AL RASHDAN: I want Syria to get back to how it was, to get back safe. Like, get back to how it was. Like, everything gets back. Like, I'm

missing my friends I school.

[10:45:00] And I just want it to be safe and fair rights between everyone.

ANDERSON: Isabela, when you listen to, Basel's story, it breaks your heart, doesn't it? What good do you think a day like International

Children's Day should do, can do?

MONER: I think it can make your children feel important, it can make them feel like the world does care about them even though I'm sure in your

situation you wondered where your heroes were, you wondered where the people who -- you wondered if people like in the U.S., where they are

worried about WiFi could see your situation and if they would help you.

And you probably felt neglected for a second there. And this is an opportunity to do the opposite of that. This is an opportunity to show the

kids that the world isn't such a scary place and that it is willing to comfort them and accept them, and you know, give them a voice. Make them

feel loved. And have them grow up. Like you said -- you said earlier to be great, great people.

ANDERSON: What do you want to be when you grow up, Basel?

AL RASHDAN: I want to be an electronic engineer.

ANDERSON: Excellent. Excellent. And you want to do that in Syria, right?

AL RASHDAN: For sure. I want like to make smart technologies that can help people.

MONER: You want to -- you want to bring Syria up with you, right?


MONER: You want to make them -- make them prosper. That's what I'm trying to do to my hometown.

ANDERSON: Excellent. Well guys, thank you so much for joining us today. We know this will make a difference.


ANDERSON: Fantastic. Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World. Coming up, they say the pen is mightier than the sword, don't they?

Well, there's an exception to that rule when you are an Olympic fencing champion, as inspiring as our next guest. We meet the woman helping to

give Barbie an incredible makeover.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back, it's just before 10 to 8:00 in Abu Dhabi. She's a

woman idolized across the planet. She has had around 130 careers ranging from astronaut to presidential candidate.

She is, of course, Barbie. The doll some would consider to be the very embodiment of American culture. And despite everything on her impressive

resume, Barbie is breaking barriers it seems once again. This time taking inspiration from an American who dresses a little differently to Barbies

that we have seen in the past.


IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD, OLYMPIC FENCING CHAMPION: My name is Ibtihaj Muhammad this summer I will become the first woman to represent in U.S. while haring

a hijab.

[10:50:00] When I heard that there had never been a Muslim woman on the U.S. team who wore the hijab, that is when I made this conscious decision

to go for 2016.

I knew that I had it in me to qualify for an Olympic team and I wanted to hopefully be that change that other minorities could see that, you know,

with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.


ANDERSON: Well, it takes years, often decades of training and determination to even get on the Olympic stage as we all know, but to

achieve that while doing something that risks singling you out, putting you in line for criticism or even condemnation just because of your beliefs is

nothing short of ground breaking.

And so it is little wonder that Mattel, chose Ibtihaj Muhammad as their inspiration for their latest Barbie. The doll goes on sale in 2018, part

of the company's pitch to broaden its global appeal.

And, Ibtihaj, is in Los Angeles for us now. You once said you wanted to be the change you wish to see yourself in the world. Just explain a little

more, what you meant by that and does the fact that Mattel have come up with this new Barbie doll, do that for you?

MUHAMMAD: Yes. Growing up I felt a lack of representation, not just on the fencing strip but also, you know, in the toy aisles as a kid. Barbie

was a really big part of my childhood. I spent a lot of time playing with dolls and spending time, you know, using my imagination with my sisters.

We played with dolls for endless hours. And my mom made a conscious effort to purchase dolls of color so my sisters and I would see ourselves

represented even in doll play.

And to have this opportunity to be part of this year's Barbie program is, you know, come true for me, especially because Barbie was such a big part

of my childhood growing up.

ANDERSON: As was an awful lot of effort that must have got into you becoming an Olympic fencer. Just walk us through just some of that effort

that you made.

MUHAMMAD: Well, I started fencing relatively late. I entered the International World Circuit at the age of 23 where most of my teammates got

that experience on the cadet and junior level.

So it was essentially like this impossible feat to qualify for team USA and I made it happen with hard work and perseverance. I wanted to see team USA

in a different way of what traditionally people had seen it.

There had never been a woman of color on the women's savior team and certainly never a Muslim woman on the United States Olympic team. And it

was just something that I had my eyes set on since 2012. I just kind of put my head down and worked hard over four years and thank God I was able

to make that dream come true.

ANDERSON: Absolutely and we applaud you for that. And on International Children's Day, it's fantastic to have you on as you talk about you as a

youngster and the efforts you put in and the barriers that you broke and the hurdles that you got over. If you were writing to your 12-year-old

self today, on this international women's day, what would you say?

MUHAMMAD: You know, so much of my success I attribute to believing in myself and really never setting any barriers for myself. And I think it's

really important for children to know that today and for us to acknowledge that of children, no matter where they're from, their skin color, their

race, their religion, their gender, their sexual preference.

But they are deserving and they have a right that each of us should have and I'm excited for World Children's Day because it's an opportunity for

each of us to acknowledge those rights of children and to continue to keep them a part of the conversation and to help aid those who are living in,

you know, underserved communities.

ANDERSON: Ibtihaj, let me ask you this. How does it feel being a leading woman, a black athlete in today's America with all the divisiveness that we

see around issues, such as the NFL anthem protest for example?

MUHAMMAD: Well, one thing that I, as an athlete, have always decided that I would stand for is for equal opportunity for everyone, for equality both

on the field and off the field and when I look at some of the athletes who are decided to take a stand against social injustice.

[10:55:00] It reminds me of our predecessor, especially as athletes, like Muhammad Ali, for example who really I would say like jeopardized so much,

not just of his own health and his own wealth and his own freedom.

And he didn't do it for himself but he did it for each of us, for athletes like myself to have a voice, to have the opportunity to even stand for such

a profound and prolific team like team USA.

So I think that the foundation was laid long ago and where essentially following in the footsteps of great athletes and we hope to promote the

same social change, and the same social justice in the way that athletes like Muhammad Ali was able to do.

ANDERSON: You're an inspiration. Thank you.

MUHAMMAD: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

ANDERSON: To you viewers finally just before we go tonight, you may remember our exclusive report from last week, disturbing news and images of

migrants being put up for sale at a slave auction in Libya.

Well, that report has drawn strong reaction from around the world. Over the weekend cries of no slavery rang out on the streets of Paris as

hundreds marched on the Libyan Embassy to demand action following that report.

Well, now the United Nations secretary general has just weighed in the past few minutes. Here's what Antonio Guterres had to say.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: I am horrified at news reports and video footage showing African migrants in Libya reportedly

being sold as slaves. I abhor these appalling acts and call upon all competent authorities to investigation these activities without delay and

to bring the perpetrators to justice.


ANDERSON: Antonio Guterres for you. I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. From the team here and those working with us around the world,

it is a very good evening.