Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Two Crisis in Global Aid, Oxfam Allegations and Somalia Terror; Charity Staff Accused Of Hiring Prostitutes In Haiti; Critical Meeting On Zuma's Future; U.S. Officials Reveal Intelligence On ISIS Leader; Tillerson Kicks Off Middle East Tout In Cairo; Israel Attacks Launched On Iranian Targets In Syria; New Deatils Of Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Big Day; London Airport Closed After Discover Of WWII Bomb. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 12, 2018 - 10:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:20] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: A very warm welcome and this is "Connect the World" and I'm Becky Anderson for you in Abu Dhabi

where the time is 7:00 in the evening. This show is about often about connecting you up to the world's most vulnerable and voiceless people and

we show you pictures like there, powerful pictures, and pictures that make ordinary folk, powerful governments alike want to help. Right now we are

uncovering a sad sick irony to the horrendous reality that foreign aid, medicine and water, and the best of what people can gives can itself be

used to perpetuate the extraordinary misery that it is meant to stop.

You will recalled these images, they are burnt into our collective consciousness when in Haiti back in 2010 million of dollars poured into the

country, and aid workers jetted in after the earthquake, but some working for one of the world east biggest charity Oxfam are now facing allegations

of abusing their power, paying for sex with prostitutes, and paying with sex with people too poor and lacking the means to make money in any other

way with their country in ruins around them when these people had gone to help.

I want to bring you more on that in a moment, but for now, I want to take you to a place often too dangerous and too complex for the world to really

care about. We are going to Somalia. Let's first step back exactly 25 years to this. Blackhawk down, and 18 Americans killed. These scenes

becoming known as the battle of Mogadishu, and they were pulled in by this, millions facing starvation as awful as things are, some war lords, they

treat them as free adverts for luring in foreign aid. Almost 30 years later, the same cycle, it seems can be seen today. We only know this

because of some exclusive CNN are reporting and viewers, this is first time this reporting being seen in anywhere ever. Right now here on "Connect the

world" CNN's Sam Kiley investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The center of Somalia's humanitarian disaster. A source had already cash for the Al Shabaab

terrorists. First we need to talk to the guy now is the most about the financing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Ok fine.

KILEY: Somali national officers are takings inside of a secret prison for Al Shabaab. How many prisoners do you have in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just have eight.

KILEY: Eight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KILEY: After the few days earlier, this former Al Shabaab fighter was on the front line of his fundraising, collecting thousands of dollars, much of

it taken from trucks delivering food for refugees and to each day there is quite a little money coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KILEY: It is a cycle of exploitation that has victims at its very core. Hundreds of thousands of them. Many in receiving of money from foreign

donors. This is the refugee camp where there is a steady flow of refugees coming in here every day. It is impossible to access without and escort

from the African union and the people fleeing into here are fleeing drought in a fleeing country. Of course it is those two combinations that are so

profitable for groups like Al Shabaab and other war lords.

Fatima's family once owned thousands of goats several cows, some of them drought in conflict with Al Shabaab and force them on the road. Now she

has nothing. Now destitute, she is still a source of income for Al Shabaab. 270,000 refugees now live in Baldoa and more come every day and

this is where the terrorist group profits. Now an agent from the government, this man was an Al Shabaab tax collector for eight years, not

just bringing food for sale to refugees, pay Al Shabaab to get to Baldoa and the tax there too. Even now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, even now they have to pay a taxes. If they don't pay? (Inaudible) and killed. That is how they get the money, and when

they come here, the business people, and for example those people come to give this cash from the U.N. and they go into the market and they buy $25

U.S. for a sack of rice. So that $25 includes the taxation of Al Shabaab and the transportation and the profit of the businesspeople.

[10:05:19] KILEY: And then Al Shabaab come along once a year and tax the businessman?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tax the businessmen. Yes. Once a year.

KILEY: And on top of that. So this doesn't work, and the U.N. Is still indirectly paying tax to Al Shabaab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

KILEY: Baldoa was at the center of manmade famines that killed 300 thousands in 1992 and a quarter of a million in 2012 and one that was

headed off by aid last year. To avoid the theft of supplies the U.N. switched to directly transferring cash to refugees last year and that

shifted the responsibility for moving food to merchant, but Al Shabaab has continued to profit.

Putting the owners on the private sector it help reinforce the economy rather than making the aid, you know, an alternative to the economy.

Arguably this is an incentive for Al Shabaab to concentrate people in Baldoa focus on aid delivery there and just three packs of bag?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that is probably right. And the thing is how do you mitigate and manage those kinds of problems? And I mean, what is e

alternative?

KILEY: The U.N. estimates a single Al Shabaab roadblock along the profitable Mogadishu to Baldoa route generates $5,000 a day for the

terrorist group, and the country's road have become Al Shabaab financial blood supply.

This is a bridge the (inaudible) river it marks the extent of the African Union capability to safely patrol. Down that road to buy dollar is

Somalia's hungry interior. 22,000 African troops have been fighting Al Shabaab, but they are due to pull out in two years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now they are conducting minor offensive operations. If we are not used that is going to affect the operation negatively.

KILEY: They will a vacuum that Al Shabaab can step in to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely it will leave a vacuum.

KILEY: And the vacuum will leave Al Shabaab better able to exploit the refugees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately those who are going to be targeted by military organizations to receive assistance to become attractive for those

who want to make money, and all the sorts of (inaudible) going on.

KILEY: Using the force to recapture the roads might be a solution it has been tried but the African union and the U.S. led military intervention for

nearly 30 years and still the chaos reigns.

(END VIDEO)

ANDERSON: Well, Sam knows this story inside out and from every side, military, social political and he was in Somalia when Blackhawk down

happened, and reporting for the country for decades on TV and on print. Joining me now here CNN international correspondent is here in Abu Dhabi.

Sam takes us through this journey that you had described us. This is aid from the outset of its journey through attempt by Baldoa.

KILEY: When you get back to the old days when Somalia was first invaded there was a farming of starving people and aid has to be physically driven

access to country and stolen a protection money paid to the war lords to deliver it. That is why the Americans led an invasion back in the early

1990. Fast forward to 21st century and so in order to avoid this, the united nation other but principally the United Nations has come up with a

system that they pay the victims of conflict and famine directly. They get a credit card like pick object that is charge with cash money to go to buy

straight from the merchant and sounds perfectly sensible and cut out the middle man, the bad guy, but the problem is that a bag of rice that sets of

Mogadishu and aid rice, and it doesn't have to be in the commercial sector for $18 and by the time it gets to buy the central of the famine, call for

a million more than need to be fed there it has gone through at least 20 Al Shabaab roadblocks each of which is slicing off a toll. So that the

intelligence community estimate recons that is recently fallen for example there on the mat back into Al Shabaab hands off the African Union withdrew

one roadblock there alone is said to generate about $5,000 a day, and so if you multiply by all the different roadblocks all will be estimate but

essentially the Somalia's intelligence recon that there is $3 a bag for a 25 kilo bag of rice.

[10:10?7] So that internally rice into bullets at the end of the day, because that money goes to Al Shabaab to fund their social program and also

international terrorism. And that is of course the strategic concern behind all of this.

ANDERSON: You were talking to a pretty high ranking U.N. Official in that report who admitted to you they know this is going on. Is how to mitigate

this? And what are they doing about it if they know it is coming on?

KILEY: Well, Michael Keating is an (inaudible) this, and he is the most senior man and the special representative for the secondary general and the

viceroy for there and he is working in Afghanistan before. It was him and others who are actually finally admitting this, and this is something that

had been swept under the carpet for more than two decades. That is why they brought in the cash transfer system to try to mitigate this problems,

otherwise you pay to Al Shabaab the trucking fee as well. So they were getting even more money. I think the difference is, of what is going on to

mitigate this is first of all truth telling, and we have seen that problematically in another story we are going to be looking at today with

Oxfam. If you don't tell the truth, you can't fix these things. I think at the beginning of all of these the United Nations and some of the NGO's

the aid organizations actually acknowledging that they are part of the problem and all the humanitarian mission, and those conundrum there does

intervention in a conflict are in terms of humanitarian intervention makes the situation in a long term better or worst.

ANDERSON: That is a question that we have asked ourselves doing these stories for years and years. Sam Kiley, let us bring in up to our viewers.

On the left here Baldoa and on the right Baldoa, the same place in Somalia almost 30 years apart seems a similar people scattered hungry and scared.

You were just there, and you were there three decades ago so you run this on this timeline as it were just how historic are the issues that we are

seeing here. An issue as what showing just the latest iteration is a fundamental problem outside of what is in Somalia but in the other places

around the world. Certainly in the continent.

KILEY: Yes, I mean, what we saw back in 1991-92 was the farming of the starving people by warlords and the media going in and making the bleeding

heart documentaries and news reports, people like me and you aid organizations reacting to this kind little of ladies and (inaudible) of

hearts of Europe donating, all good. Except then when it was a cycle so bad that the international community militarily intervened. It has gotten

more sophisticated, but what I saw in Baldoa was the same thing just a little bit more polished.

There are still a quarter a million people there. They are not quite starving yet and they have endured a drought that is just survivable in a

more sufficient with the delivery of foreign aid, but still effectively being fund. Al Shabaab in that town of Baldoa which is officially not

inside their control taxed every single merchant and not only to Al Shabaab gain from the road tolls, but then actually get an annual (inaudible) they

call it from the merchant. So it is has repurpose, but nothing has can changed. And by the way, the warlords who are also involved in this who

are involved in an Al Shabaab, and they are profiting and so it is not just the warlords who are profiting. What is the solution? Military

intervention, and the only way to control this is to intervene and take control back of the roads for the 22,000 Africa soldiers have been unable

to do that.

ANDERSON: And stick with me, because I want to bring up another story checked earlier on, and that is the story of Oxfam, and we are talking

about exploitation here. Oxfam, with one of the world's largest charities working in countless disaster zones across the world. If you are watching

CNN, you have heard of them and their budget is well over half a billion each year and based in Britain where the country's government who donates

millions of dollars a year to them having to confront the organization over allegations of sexual misconduct. CNN's Erin McLaughlin sets out the

details for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eight years ago Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake and hundreds of thousands of people killed and more

than a million displaced. Aid workers flocked to the ravaged nation and those who came to help are now accused of abuse. The "Times" newspaper in

London obtain access to a confidential Oxfam report, the product from its own internal investigation.

[10:15:04] According to the Times the report revealed seven Oxfam employee's stage orgies with prostitutes and that minors may had been among

those sexually exploited. At the center of the investigation Oxfam country director here talking to CNN in 2010 about this challenges of working

earthquake ravage Haiti.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to make a choice, between trying to save lives of thousands of people and putting my staff at risk.

MCLAUGHLIN: CNN have not contacted him directly, or spoken to him. And his employees have been fired or allowed to resign, and now Oxfam is

accused of covering up their misconduct. The British and the Haitian authorities were not notified of the wrongdoing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course it is a cover-up and unfortunate to mention that the cover-up went all of the way to the top.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oxfam has apologized but denied any cover-up. A statement said that accusations that underage girls may have been involved were not

proven.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are working on the culture, and a culture of the zero tolerance of sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse and

taking time, but we will step up.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oxfam relies on the public goodwill, relies on donations, and people visiting charity shops that you see behind me, and it relies on the

government funding. Each year Oxfam receive $42 million of taxpayer money, and now all of that could be in jeopardy. Now, British authority say they

are considering cutting Oxfam government funding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does not matter a whistle-blowing hotline or good safeguards in place, but if the moral leadership at the top of the

organizations is not there, then we cannot have you as a partner.

MCLAUGHLIN: And now Haiti's ambassador to the U.K. tells CNN that criminal charges are being considered for those employees implicated in the Oxfam

investigation. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO)

ANDERSON: Well Erin is with us, and she is back in the bureau and she is going to bring us and she has got some breaking news on this story, and

what have you got? We have heard from the organization now, and what they have they specifically said?

MCLAUGHLIN: That is right, Becky, Oxfam has just announced the resignation of its deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence. She is resigning, because

she says that the workers that are accused of sexual misconduct in Haiti had concerns over those workers had been raised when some of them were in

chad. Let me just read you this statement that she has just issued. She said over the last few days, we have become aware that concerns were raised

about the behavior of staff in chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon. It is now clear that these allegations involving the

use of prostitutes and which related to behavior of both the country Director and members of his team in chad were raised before he moved to

Haiti. As program Director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility, I am desperately sorry for the

harm and the distress this has caused to Oxfam's supporters and the wider development sector and most of all the vulnerable people who trusted us.

This is the latest resignation tied to this scandal? Becky.

ANDERSON: Erin McLaughlin is in London for you viewers. Still to come tonight, South Africa's ruling Party is trying to break the deadlock over

Jacob Zuma's political future once and for all. We are live in Pretoria right after this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:21:35] ANDERSON: You are watching CNN and in is "Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back it is 21 minutes past 7:00 in the

UAE where we are based. Today would be critical for South Africa's political future, the African national congressional Party has been meeting

in the west of President Jacob Zuma who has been clinging to power and corruption charges despite the efforts of the senior officials to force his

resignation. ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa says that the country needs closure and a new beginning, but CNN David McKenzie is live tonight for you

Pretoria. A lot of speculation about what is exactly happening behind closed doors, what are you hearing David?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we are hearing and what we know is that this national executive meeting behind me in this hotel here in

Pretoria is an urgent one and the stakes could not be higher. The ANC, the ruling Party here appears to be trying to push the President of the country

out, Jacob Zuma. They would like to be celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela birth, but they are unable to do that because of the corruption

scandals that Jacob Zuma has faced. It has been more than a week that they have tried to push him out, but it has been more than a week and if they do

decide, he should be compelled to resign, but anything is possible with this President, Becky.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, were he to resign, what happens next?

MCKENZIE: If he resigns then Ramaphosa will be name acting President. The opposition party here are already circling on this matter, they said they

want parliament to be dissolved and calling for the no confidence vote even sooner than towards the end of February, and they say that South Africa

should not be held hostage by one man, and man that is wildly disliked by ordinary south Africans because of the scandals surrounding him, but as

they are meeting in the building behind me, will the ANC close ranks against Jacob Zuma and will he head the call if they ask him to go. Becky?

ANDERSON: David McKenzie is in Pretoria for you, and an important story. David, thank you for that.

Well, the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are in full swing, but it seems that the diplomacy between North and South Korea is stealing much of the

spotlight. Now the U.S. vice president says that he may be open to talks with Pyongyang, and that is according to the Washington Post, because North

Korea remains skeptical and says that Mike Pence's visit to the Olympics was a missed opportunity. So what about the games? Well, that diplomacy

was on full display today in the unified Korean women's hockey team match against Sweden, but united they fell. The joint team suffered a crushing

defeat losing 8-0, and CNN's Will Ripley joins me from Pyeongchang. And this team had no time to get the act together, and it takes more than 20

days to get a decent team together for any of this events, but it was the message, wasn't it, in this united women's hockey team that was important,

and that gets to the heart of what these Olympics have been sort of shrouded by as they have kicked off. It is all about diplomacy and where

are we at with that?

[10:25:16] WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, first, let me tell you about the women's hockey team, and these women trained for

years for the Olympics and told a few weeks before that they would have brand-new players coming in and they would have to learn how to play

together, and they have not scored a single goal yet. Some people said that the women's hockey team was being used as political pawn, because the

decision was made at the inter-Korean talks earlier in the year that they would essentially play together, and the players were not inform and that

is what some people feel that the Olympics is all about and about politics and North and South Korea deciding to warm relation, and obviously a

significant breakthrough. Kim Jong-un sent his younger sister Kim Jong-un here with a diplomatic mission to invite President Moon Jae-in to visit

North Korea at some point later this year, and invitation that he has accepted in principle, obviously there are a lot of hurdles to work out to

get to that point, and this really put the United States and the Vice President in a box here. Because Vice President Pence came here with the

father of Otto Warmbier, who died six days after being released in North Korea custody. He met with the North Korean defectors who blasted the

regime repeatedly fiercely in his public comments and then he called public for South Korea to completely disengage with the north after the Olympics

and engage in maximum pressure. South Korea turns around to accept the North Korea delegation offer for diplomacy, and a lot of criticism levied

at the Vice President that he did not attempt to shake hands with the North Korean, and he sat during the entrance of the unified team in the

ceremonies at something that one of my diplomatic sources called undignified, but what Mike Pence is saying to the Washington Post is that

the U.S. will support talks if, and only if there is no money exchanged under the table, and South Korea promises to continue the campaign of

maximum pressure unless North Korea agrees to denuclearize.

ANDERSON: And Will, a week ago we would not have been surprised by Mike Pence's behavior. Is there a risk here that, and have a charge against the

mainstream media coming out of for example the White House and supporters of Donald Trump that there is a sort of sea change that the media is being

swept along by what may just be a sort of the blip on the road as it were in this sort of the coming together between the North and the South

Koreans. The risk being that this is a media who are just so the argument goes determined to dump on Mr. Trump. What do you think of that?

RIPLEY: Well, in some ways, you have to feel that the United States was put in a very difficult position here, because Vice President Pence

probably had a list of instructions and things that he could not do and probably standing for the unified team was on that list, shaking hands with

the North Koreans was on that list and yet he is blasted by people saying that the United States instead of acting like a big brother, they took the

low road degrading the position of the United States as a super power and then Vice President Pence saying that we do support the engagement as long

as our United States policy of maximum pressures is also applied here, and this is what Kim Jong-un want, to do. He sent his younger and telegenic

smiling sister Kim Yo-jong, you know even CNN has been criticize for some glowing headline about how she won people over here in Pyeongchang, and

that was precisely her mission and you saw the images of her at the hockey game with the South Korean President and at the various events shaking

hands, and so this is a diplomatic win for the Kim Jong-un and the United States left sideline at the moment.

ANDERSON: Missed opportunity is what Pyongyang is calling it. This is not going to be the end of it though thank you. Just ahead, Russia urging calm

in the Middle East. And this is as we are seeing a sharp escalation in hostilities and we are live in the region for the very latest as only this

show knows how.

[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: With ISIS all but defeated a more complex battlefield is emerging in Syria. Lingering hostilities between Israel,

Iran and Syria have been sharply escalated these past few years. Let me walk you through that.

On Saturday, Israel downed what it said was an Iranian drone that had penetrated its air space and Israeli forces then stuck back targeting what

it called the command and control center in Syria from where Iran launched the drone.

And Israeli F-16 returning from that mission was brought down over northern Israel after coming under heavy Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Russia, now

calling for calm. Moscow says it is continuing its effort to prevent this from getting worse.

All of this comes as CNN gets new information on the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a lot to unpick here. Ben Wedeman is in Beirut for the

very latest from the region.

I want to start though with Nick Paton Walsh who has exclusive reporting on al-Baghdadi is doing now from London to you. Nick, first, what have you

learned?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, U.S. officials say that in May of last year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded by an air strike who fight

on this but the injuries were adequate that he was out of commission so to speak, not in his normal daily role as head of the terror group for about

four to five months and that was the particular key part of ISIS' loss of the territory.

You used to call it caliphate in a particular time being noose was so to speak, tightening around Raqqa, their former capital, but also in Mosul.

They were slowly losing much of the west of the city, and the Old City was slowly being closed and those were the key time entirely.

U.S. officials in question I spoke to are highly confident about the information they have received, because they say it is coming from ISIS

detainees and refugees as a well, so human intelligence extensively.

The things they don't fully know is exactly when the strike occurred, so that means they can't retaliate with the U.S. air strikes during that

period of time. And also, too, with the are Russian claim made in June that in roughly the same month of May, the Russians claimed they had in

fact killed or injured Baghdadi.

That was dismissed by these Americans as unlikely, but still all of the same, it puts into kind of focus here, a picture of a man certainly on the

run who is substantially injured and he did emerge in September with an audio message to sort of ratify to the world the existence that continued.

[10:35:00] But still now, they believe their best hunch is that Baghdadi is the al-Jazeera area known as sort of the part between Syria and Iraq along

the border there and vast expansive desert, widely populated, but where all over the focus now of the anti-ISIS fighters.

The U.S. providing air path will assist the Syrian-Kurds, but still the clearest indication we have that exactly what confirmation the Americans

have had in the past about Baghdadi.

ANDERSON: And, Ben wedeman is also on the story for you. Ben, what do you make of what we have just heard and it significance?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well certainly, this has been going on a longtime, the search for Baghdadi, and there are frequently claims that he

was wounded, and he was almost caught and until it actually happens until he is some forum captured, they are killed.

We will go on and speculate and hear from the American and other officials making these claims, but frankly, until we have a body in front of us, we

don't know. Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, I've got you, Ben. I want to get a wider context on the region and we are just being reporting on the sort of state of affairs over

the weekend with regard to the ratcheting up of the Israeli and Iranian tension -- Iranian tension being its influence in Syria and what has been

going on there with these downing of the drone and the F-16 helicopter.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in the region at present. Perhaps coincidentally, you know,

who knows with these trips and what happens off of the back of them, he is not though heading to Israel, what is behind this trip then to the Middle

East?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think that he is going to be trying to go and address a variety of problems everywhere he goes. He is going to Egypt where of

course, there is something of a bromance between President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi and President Trump.

But at the same time, Egypt is preparing for the elections in which all the viable candidates have either been detained or intimidated.

He is going to Jordan where of course, the Jordanians are very unhappy about President Trump's decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the

capital of Israel in Jordan.

And really throughout the Arab world, there is the growing impression at the U.S. administration, this one is wildly in favor of Israel, and it is

significant at today the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is off to Moscow to look for the Russians because they have all but given up on the

United States.

Tillerson is going to be passing briefly through Beirut where he will probably urge the Lebanese government to distance itself from Hezbollah.

But Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and many of the Lebanese, Christians as well as Muslims credit Hezbollah with having stopped ISIS

from getting a foothold in this country.

He's also going to Kuwait where he will participate in a conference on the reconstruction of Iraq but apparently the Americans aren't going to be

contributing adding money to it.

And insignificantly, he is not going to Israel, now what is interesting is that in the Israeli media, there are reports that the United -- that rather

Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister spoke with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, while just after the Israeli place was shot down by the

Syrians.

And apparently, Putin convinced Netanyahu not to take anymore dramatic action than those 12 strikes on Syrian and Iranian positions, within Syria,

sparking one comment by an Israeli newspaper that it shows that this event shows that who is the real boss in the Middle East. It's not the United

States anymore. It's Vladimir Putin. Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, another layer to what is as we off the time, complex and complicated story. Ben, thank you. Let's take a step

back. We have been considering these hostilities that have been the taking place in the skies above the Golan Heights over the past 24 hours, 36

hours. Let me get you with Ian Lee's report now, he filed this from that disputed region. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Military hardware litters the Golan Heights, deadly reminders of Israel's last two wars with Syria. In 1967, it was

captured by Israeli forces. Ever since, the international community has regarded this high plateau between Syria, Israel and Lebanon as Israel-

occupied territory.

[10:40:08] War erupted once again in 1973. Thousands of Syrians and hundreds of Israelis died amid the barbed wire. This area has always held

strategic importance.

In ancient times, it was the crossroads of the Via Maris from the Mediterranean and the Kings Highway from the Red Sea, both going to

Damascus. Nowadays those roads are gone, but it still holds that importance, with Lebanon visible to my right and Syria to my left.

These days, it is the cameras doing the shooting here, the nature, the history in proximity to danger draws thousands of tourists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And where you see the trees in the far distance there, these trees there, they are in Syria.

LEE: The U.N. monitors tasked to keep the peace have also become part of the attraction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language).

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California...

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: A jolt from the past struck the Golan last Saturday. Israel and Syria engaged in their most significant clashes in decades.

Syrian air defenses brought down an Israeli jet fighter, on a retaliation mission after an Iranian drone, launched from Syria, was shot down over

Israel. But even that couldn't dissuade tourists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel safe. I believe the Israeli army is going to take care of jus here. I live in Israel. I live in Jerusalem now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not what I expected. And I'm glad it -- we have U.N. people here and it seems very safe so...

LEE: A sense of security Israel hopes remains. A day later, and tensions seem to have eased, no one here, perhaps, desperate for a fight but all are

aware of the possible dangers that the ghosts of the past catch up to the present. Ian Lee, CNN, in the Golan Heights.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDRSON: All right. We have done a lot of reporting on the region but specifically on the story of the Israeli-Iranian sort of collision as it

were over this weekend. David Keyes is the spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is with us from our Jerusalem bureau.

What is the Israeli government's response to the ratcheting up of the hostilities over the weekend and when Russia says it continued its efforts

to prevent this from getting worse? What exactly are they doing and what are they telling your prime minister to do?

DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, nobody the situation to escalate, and most of all, at least of all Israel of

course. But Israel's response was very serious and very important.

We told the world that we will not allow Iran to establish its foothold in Syria, and we will not allow Syria and Lebanon to become proxies of the

Iranian regime so that their horrific attempt to try to destroy Israel, to try to include extremism on this entire region if it comes directly to

Israel's doorstep.

This is an outrageous provocation by the Iranian regime. It's one in the long list. Iran, of course, doesn't just threaten Israel, it threatens the

whole world. It's blown up civilians on six continents, it's hanging gay people in its own country and it's funding Hamas and Hezbollah.

It's openly declaring its aims to destroy Israel. And the Israeli response was simple and clear, we will not allow this to happen.

ANDERSON: Does Moscow support you on that? I mean when you say we will not allow this to happen, what is your potential response, and do you have

Moscow's support?

KEYES: Well the prime minister has had many good conversions with the Russian president on this issue, and there is coordination between the

military.

What I mean is that we won't allow the changing weapons to make its way from Iran through Syria into Lebanon to shoot at Israeli mothers and

fathers, and children. We will not allow Iran to establish our front in Syria to try to turn his entire region into a place of war.

Everywhere that Iran is found in this region, we find death and destruction and you don't just have to ask Israel, you can ask any of our neighbors,

Iranian attempts to divert any semblance of freedom in this region, Iranian attempts to quash democracy, Iranian threats to annihilate Israel.

And scribing their missiles with Israel will be annihilated, this is a very clear Iranian intension and it is high time that the world takes this

seriously, rather than the nonsense touted by Iran's foreign minister who pretends to be moderate.

There is nothing particularly moderate about calling for the annihilation of a member state of the United Nations. There is nothing particularly

moderate about executing students in the streets. There is nothing particularly moderate at funding terror all throughout the world and that

is the goal of the Iranian regime.

ANDERSON: David, would it be a convenient week for Rex Tillerson to visit Israel?

[10:45:04] KEYES: Well, of course we would welcome the secretary of state here, and the prime minister have said many good conversations with

President Trump on this matter and many others.

And of course, our American allies were always welcome in this region, and that is an American decision, whether to come here this week or not.

ANDERSON: And President Trump says that he is not sure that Israel and the Palestinian are looking to make peace with each other, that is according to

the Israeli newspaper, Israeli army adds that the issue with the Israeli settlements in the west bank complicates matters. And both sides will need

to make, and I quote, hard compromises to reach a peace deal.

We have just learned last hour that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been discussing annexation of west back settlements with the Americans for

some time. What have the conversations been like, and when does Netanyahu plan to move forward on annexation?

KEYES: Well, I don't know that any concrete proposal that has been discussed. The Americans, of course, they are aware of many proposals that

have come for time to time but our position on this is very simple.

It is the fact that you need someone to negotiate with in order to have peace. That is why the prime minister has called so many, hundreds of

times to meet President Abbas anywhere, anytime for peace.

When the prime minister with the United Nations, he invited President Abbas to the Knesset to speak. Of course President Abbas said no to that

generous offer, he said no to every opportunity and that remains the reason peace unfortunately cannot progress.

President Abbas is too busy plundering $350,000 million worth to terrorist every year, too busy naming the schools, those streets after mass murders

and it is high time with the Palestinian leadership, accept Israel's out script chance for peace, instead of continuing to insight of the younger

generations towards hatred.

ANDERSON: David, is annexation is what the prime minister wants -- to annex part of the west bank or is this prime minister swept along by his

right wing coalition members?

KEYES: The prime minister want is peace with our Palestinian neighbors but it takes two to tango, and as long as the Palestinian leadership continues

even to meet with Israel's prime minister, let along discuss all the serious and difficult issue that will require compromised, then it's very

hard to move hard to move this process forward.

ANDERSON: Right.

KEYES: But it remains our hope that at some point in time, the Palestinian leadership will reconsider their obstinacy, will reconsider their

hereditists, will reconsider their duding of murderers, their lobbying and stealing, killers and instead will meet Israel's prime minister at the

negotiating table.

ANDERSON: OK. We are expecting you in the next few says that police have handed their investigation of the prime minister over to the attorney

general.

Now I understand there are last-minute legal machinations over this but it's become common practice for the Israeli police to issue recommendations

at moments like this. Is the prime minister confident right now that this will all just go away or does he have concerns?

KEYES: Israel is a nation of laws and the prime minister is fully confident and nothing will come of these investigations. And not every

police recommendation ends in what you think it ends in.

So I recommend that everyone let this legal process play out and the prime minister is fully confident and nothing will come like this.

ANDERSON: David Keyes in the Jerusalem bureau for you, where it is 5:48 in the evening. And it's 7:48 here in Abu Dhabi. Thank you, David. This is

Connect the World. Coming up, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are just six months from saying, I do, and we are finding out more about their big day,

and that is next.

[10:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back. And if you are just joining us, you are more than welcome but for those of you who have been with us throughout this past

hour and it has been a busy one, welcome back.

Upon given the circumstance, and the pageantry, we are just a little over three months from Britain's royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan

Markle, and we are getting on ideas, so how about they will play out.

For example, well wishes, so I would get a chance to see the happy couple in a horse-drawn carriage ride. And royal wedding planner is sharing some

of the other details. CNN's Max Foster has his ear to the ground and brings us this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're starting to get a better sense then of the shape of the royal wedding day. The service will start at noon in

St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The couple will say their vows in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the most senior official in the Church of England.

This isn't a state occasion because Prince Harry isn't in the direct line for the throne. But it is a big national occasion, which is why it is

being presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Now approximately an hour later, after the couple are wed, they will leave the castle in a carriage and they will process through Windsor in a

carriage procession. The palace said in a statement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are hugely grateful for the many good wishes they received

since announcing their engagement.

They are very much looking forward to the day and to be able to share their celebrations with the public. Huge crowds are expected to see them in the

carriage procession.

Once they get back into the castle, they'll join the congregation for a reception in the grand St. George's hall, which is usually used for state

banquets.

And in the evening there will be a more private affair, hosted by Prince Charles for the couple's close friends and family. We're heading towards

May the 19th and we're getting a better sense of how the day will look. Max Foster, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Max is in London and I'm in Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World, and a little bit of time left for you. We have a very a short break

but do joins us after that because it is not every day that entire airport is force to close because of a relic from yet World War II. We're going to

tell you about a very unusual bomb threat after this.

[10:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, your Parting Shots tonight, a bomb threat of the most unusual sort has grounded planes at London's city airport. The airport

today remains closed after a World War II bombs discovered by construction workers in the near river, and all flights canceled, at least until

tomorrow, creating quite a headache for travelers.

So authorities are working to carefully remove what was this unexploded ordnance which weighs 500 kilograms. Amazing stuff. I'm Becky Anderson,

and you're watching Connect the World, thank you for watching.

From the team working with me here and those around the world, it is a very good evening, and CNN of course, continuing after this break.

International Desk with Robyn Curnow. Stay with us.

END