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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Mike Pence: U.S. And Turkey Agree to Ceasefire in Northern Syria; U.S. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland Cites Trump Directed Him to Work with Giuliani; White House Announces Next Year's G7 Summit will Be Hosted at Trump Florida Resort; The Trump administration says a ceasefire has been agreed in Northern Syria; White House Admits to Quid Pro Quo With Ukraine; New Brexit Deal Agreed, Faces Westminster Resistance. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 17, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: CNN Breaking News. Good evening to you. We are in Brussels and we'll get to all the
stories from here on Brexit in a moment.
But we'll begin with the breaking news from Turkey. The Trump administration says a ceasefire has been agreed in Northern Syria.
Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement after he and the Secretary of State held talks with the Turkish President Erdogan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, the United States in Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria. Turkish side will pause
Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG Forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations under Operation
Peace Spring will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, all of this comes only days after Donald Trump began a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops in Northern Syria that we know about. And it's a
move that was seen as giving a green light to President Erdogan to send his forces across the border in an operation against the Kurds, one where
there's already been serious loss of life.
Jomana Karadsheh joins me now from the Turkish capital. This was unexpected. Where was this deal done?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the big question. I mean, look, Richard, it took hours today, these closed door
meetings that took place unexpectedly around for more than four hours.
You had a one-on-one with Vice President Mike Pence and President Erdogan, then you had their delegations meeting and that was not expected that it
would go on for so long.
Now, we have to wait and see how this actually translates on the ground. You've got both sides at this point, the Trump administration and the
Turkish government claiming a win when it comes to these negotiations. Turkey has gotten at least now, at least in principle, basically what they
have been asking for, for a long time, this safe zone or at least the promise of it at this point.
And the Trump administration, President Trump who has come under fire for as you mentioned earlier, what many view in the United States as
essentially giving the green light for this operation. He got his ceasefire out of this.
QUEST: Okay, but just let's go through this ceasefire. What are the terms? What happens? And who gets to move what and where?
KARADSHEH: Okay, so basically, Richard, this is what we understand right now, announced by both sides. By Turkey, by the United States -- now,
they're saying that the ceasefire begins now. Turkey is not calling it a ceasefire, because they say that a ceasefire is between two legitimate
entities. And they say that, you know, the other side in this case is a terrorist organization in their view. So they're calling it a pause in
this operation for five days, starting right now.
Within those five days, the United States is supposed to be getting the Kurdish - the Syrian Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces out
of this area. This designated safe zone that Turkey has been calling for that is about 30 kilometers into inside Syria.
Lots of questions here, Richard, how is this going to be actually enforced? We haven't heard yet from the Syrian Kurds, their reaction and then you've
got the other players on the ground. Especially that we've seen them really moving in -- Russia and the Syrian regime over the past few days.
QUEST: Okay, and what happens after the five days?
KARADSHEH: Well, Turkey is saying that if the United States does deliver on this agreement, where you see the Syrian Kurdish fighters moving out of
these areas that 20 mile 35 kilometer safe zone, this designated area, Turkey will stop its operation and that is no surprise really, Richard,
they have been saying this for days now.
They've said that this is the one condition; they will stop their operation once that happens. So very critical five days ahead, we'll have to wait
and see what happens and whether the United States will be able to secure this withdrawal.
And, of course, there's a very critical meeting, too next week, President Erdogan meeting with President Putin, so we'll have to see what the outcome
is going to be out of that especially with Russia emerging as the real, you know, the power that calls the shots basically on the ground in Syria.
QUEST: Good to see you. Thank you. When there is more to report from Ankara, come back to us. President Trump was quick to call a deal of
victory for all parties involved when he spoke a few moments ago in Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Regardless of how the press would like to tamp it down, this was something that they've been
trying to get for 10 years. You would have lost millions and millions of lives. They couldn't get it without a little rough love, as I called it, I
just put out. They needed a little bit of that at the beginning.
And then everybody said, wow, this is tougher than we thought. When those guns start shooting, they tend to do things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Steven Cook is with me in Washington, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. It sounds like
everybody is congratulating themselves for putting together the China, for gluing the China back together when they broke it.
STEVEN COOK, SENIOR FELLOW FOR MIDDLE EASTER STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That's exactly right. Although, I'd say the one clear,
unequivocal winner as a result of this ceasefire is Turkey and President Erdogan.
There is now no longer the prospect of Kurdish autonomy in Northern Syria. There are no U.S. sanctions on Turkey and President Erdogan's political
popularity in Turkey has once again begun to rise.
So for the Turkish Republic, this is a very, very good day. For the Kurds, however, it's not such a good day. But I will warn viewers that although
there is this ceasefire, now, both the Kurds as well as the Assad regime in Syria have every incentive to try to bloody the Turks while they are
occupying a rather large piece of Syrian territory.
QUEST: And where are these fighters -- the Kurdish fighters that are supposed to be removed, again, not sure how or where bearing in mind there
are no U.S. forces there to enforce it. But what are they supposed to go?
COOK: Well, this is a question that isn't raised by the deal. Where do the YPG fighters which is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which had
been fighting the Islamic State alongside of Americans, where will they go?
The YPG has made a deal with the Assad regime for support so ostensibly, they'll move beyond this safe zone that Turkey is creating or safe for
Turkey zone, as it should be called. They'll move beyond that, but one supposes that they will try to harass and wage a guerilla campaign against
occupying Turkish forces.
QUEST: From Turkey's point of view, have they now gained or grabbed all the territory they want, so that after the five days ceasefire, they don't
need to prosecute any further down south.
COOK: Well, we'll have to see precisely what happens after this five-day period. If hostilities continue, or if the Turkish military determines
that there are threats, one can imagine that the Turks will continue to prosecute their military campaign.
But right now, it seems as if this is a good place for the Turks to stop. They've gotten everything that they've wanted from the United States.
QUEST: Steven, we're a business show and we sometimes get a bit lost in all of the machinations of the geopolitics that you find in these in this
part of the world. So help us understand in a sentence or three, sum up what's happened today.
COOK: What's happened today is very, very straightforward. The Vice President of the United States told the Turkish leader, we need some sort
of agreement, otherwise the U.S. Congress is going to impose very harsh sanctions on Turkey that are going to be very hard to undo. Let's work out
The Turks holding all the other cards dictated the terms of this deal, which is Turkey gets to occupy a large swath of Syrian territory and the
United States is responsible for making sure that its previous allies, the YPG is pushed from this territory.
QUEST: Steven, thank you. Steven Cook from the Council on Foreign Relations. And we will stay in Washington. There's plenty more breaking
President Trump's acting Chief of Staff has made a stunning admission. In a rare White House press briefing, the President claimed time and again
there was no quid pro quo in his dealing with the President of Ukraine.
However, Mick Mulvaney told reporters that aid to Ukraine was in fact tied to President Trump's wish for Ukraine to investigate events heads around
the 2016 U.S. election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: It was described as a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And that he then went on to say get real, that there is nothing but politics involved in most decisions. Sarah Westwood is at the White House.
To some extent people are -- people are characterizing this as a tacit admission, but Mulvaney would obviously say not to the slightest. He has
admitted that the politics of rooting out corruption was involved, not necessarily the politics of investigating Biden.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Richard, he did say that he did not have specific conversations about the Biden's or
Burisma, the company whose Board Hunter Biden sat on at the center of this whole thing, but he did say that he'd had conversations inside the White
House related to a conspiracy theory about the D.N.C. server that was hacked in 2016. That is certainly something that is political, something
tied to Democrats.
And also in the transcript of that phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Trump repeatedly brought up the Biden's. And Mulvaney
here is admitting that the motivations behind suspending the millions of dollars' worth of security aid to Ukraine was directly related to the
President's desire to see these investigations that could be politically advantageous to him. And that, of course, what the motivation was behind
That's a central question at the heart of the impeachment proceedings, so obviously Mulvaney's words there is going to be looked at by House
QUEST: Right, but if we assume that he knows what he is doing, he clearly didn't just, you know, stumble into the briefing room and decided to do a
mea culpa. I mean, this is obviously part of a strategy to say to Americans, what do you expect?
WESTWOOD: Right, and I mean, if that's the strategy, you know, it's been incrementally moving the denial from all the way from there was no quid pro
quo to now sort of acknowledging that it existed, but denying that it was nefarious in nature that it was related directly to the President's desire
to see the Ukrainians dig up dirt on the Biden's.
We have seen a shift in the way the administration has talked about the phone call with the Ukrainian leader. All of this, of course, Richard
taking place against the backdrop of multiple witnesses testifying on Capitol Hill about the extent of Rudy Giuliani's involvement in Ukraine,
and about the decisions made leading up to the suspension of that aid.
So the White House perhaps trying to get out in front of some of the testimony that we've seen coming out of the House Democrats' Impeachment
QUEST: Sarah, thank you. The busy day continues. The breaking news was simply everywhere today.
For example, here in Brussels, a crucial day for Britain and the European Union and Brexit. News that a deal had been reached started trickling out
fairly early on Thursday. The President of the European Council appeared before the media to confirm it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Today, we have a deal which allows us to avoid chaos and an atmosphere of conflict between the
E.U. 27 and the United Kingdom. Now, we are all waiting for the vote in both Parliament.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: If only it was so simple. The British Prime Minister is already of course urging U.K. lawmakers to back it. However, Northern Ireland's DUP -
Democratic Unionist Party has already said no way. The DUP supported the U.K. government with a confidence to supply agreement for the last two
years. This deal is a non-starter.
And the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour said he couldn't back it either. He said Mr. Johnson's deal is worse than not put forward by Theresa May.
So after 5:00 p.m., leaders of the other 27 countries endorsed an agreement that it is doubtful that he can get through Parliament, but Johnson spoke
as he cast it as a chance to close a difficult chapter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It hasn't always been an easy experience for the U.K. It's been long. It's been painful. It's been
divisive. And now is the moment for us as a country to come together.
Now is the moment for our parliamentarians to come together and get this thing done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Joining me is Nic Robertson. You followed this all day. What do you make of this deal tonight?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think this is an object lesson in the E.U.'s negotiations that when the E.U. negotiates,
they negotiate from a very strong position, and we've seen this, articulated by Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister. We've seen it
articulated by the leaders, and I'll explain.
The integrity of the European single market has been protected. The Good Friday Peace Agreement in Ireland has been protected. Business and the
economy on the island of Ireland has been protected and can grow.
ROBERTSON: But it has come at the expense of the support that Boris Johnson desperately needed from those Democratic Unionist politicians in
Northern Ireland. They feel and they're already writing op-eds for the right-wing newspapers in Britain explaining that they gave so much, but
they couldn't go that last step that people in Northern Ireland will be worse off. There are compromises they can't make.
QUEST: So why did he do it? He knows -- did the DUP lead him astray and thinking that they will go along with it? Because this is not a million
miles away from what Theresa May rejected.
ROBERTSON: Look, I was speaking through this process with the DUP politicians and they were very relaxed and they were very happy because
they trusted Boris Johnson. He had been to Northern Ireland and sat with them. He had been to their big meetings here. They understood that --
they felt that he understood them and their political problems.
So I think this comes as something as a shock that they find themselves standing on the station as he is pulling out on the train leaving them
They did not -- they did not expect this, however, that said, if they anticipate that he -- that this will all go to a general election, that he
isn't going to get this through the Houses of Parliament Super Saturday coming up, then they've made the right thing for their voters because their
voters will say DUP, thank you very much. You're protecting our interests, and they will vote them back in, in what is expected to be on election in
the coming weeks to come.
QUEST: Can we sort of come to the world of reality, which seems to sometimes not permeate this building. They spent a lot of time today
extolling an agreement that I don't know anybody who understands Westminster says can actually be passed.
ROBERTSON: And, again, there are multiple layers of difficulty because while the politicians here may not understand Westminster, they went to
great lengths to understand the Republic of Ireland and the Irish Taoiseach, the Prime Minister there and his problem.
QUEST: It was a favor to whom then?
ROBERTSON: But what they didn't understand so well was the strength of feeling by the Democratic Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland. So,
yes, they're in a bubble of sorts. But yes, London didn't understand the politicians in Northern Ireland either.
Look, the world of geopolitics and the world of diplomacy is replete with countries who have misunderstood each other and they realize that
misunderstanding when the train has left the station and that it is too late to take these things back.
QUEST: And in your view, can Boris Johnson come up -- can he sweeten it? Can he -- it's my word not yours -- can he bribe the DUP with a billion or
two more for Northern Ireland?
ROBERTSON: Well, there was talk of that already, but the DUP are unlikely to sell out on principle and this is a principle thing for them and their
electorate know that. This doesn't happen in a vacuum.
The electorate in Northern Ireland watches them carefully. I don't think there's a pot big enough that he could offer them. I may be wrong, but I
don't see it at the moment.
QUEST: Good to see you, Nic Robertson. Thank you. As we continue tonight, Boris Johnson strikes a deal with the E.U. He still needs MPs in
Westminster to give it the green light. How the numbers may shake out in Parliament. In a moment.
QUEST: We have a deal -- between the U.K.'s Prime Minister and the E.U. at least. The British lawmakers are going to vote on it on Saturday. Boris
Johnson sent those back in London, a stern message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I hope very much now, speaking of elected representatives, that my fellow MPs in Westminster, do now come
together to get Brexit done to get this excellent deal over the line and to deliver Brexit without any more delay, so that we can focus on the
priorities of the British people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So now your turn, join the conversation. Get out your devices at cnn.com/join. It's a really simple question. Can Boris Johnson do what
Theresa May couldn't and get his Brexit deal over the line through Parliament into the transition period? It's a straightforward yes or no
bearing in Parliament votes on Saturday, but you get to vote now.
Vote now at cnn.com/join. We're going to show you throughout the course of the program how that goes. Can Boris Johnson get his Brexit deal through
where Theresa May couldn't at cnn.com/join. I'm just going to -- look at that, the no's are roaring ahead. But maybe the yeses will come in at the
last minute. The parliamentary arithmetic is daunting after all.
For a majority, you need 320. Even if all the conservatives voted yes, he needs dozens more from other parties. Now, there are two dozen former
Conservatives, but there's very little support elsewhere. And we know that Labour and the DUP won't support it, and the Lib Dems won't either too.
So there's little chance of voters from other parties in the SMP et cetera joining in. Bianca is there. You've run the arithmetic. Can he do it?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to even most optimistic Members of Parliament that I've spoken to know, at the moment, it looks
like he will be falling short between 30 or at minimum, three votes as things stand, like we just saw on your screen. He does need all of the
Conservatives to back him.
He is banking on at least of seven to 10 Labour rebels to get this across the line. But if we think back to the fact that Theresa May's deal was
defeated by 230, then 149 and 58 votes, this looks like it could fail with just a handful of votes which for people who've been working on this for
three years and are desperate to get it over the line will be frustration untold, I think.
QUEST: Stay with me because I want you to listen to what the Liberal Democrat MP, Tom Brake told this and he said it's a real disaster for an
agreement. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRAKE, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: This deal, far from being excellent for the United Kingdom as Boris Johnson claiming is in fact
disastrous for British business amongst others.
So when you have the pharmaceutical sector, the automotive sector, food and drink, aerospace saying Boris Johnson's deal will have a very negative
effect on those sectors. Surely most people can see that it's a bad deal for United Kingdom.
And it's clearly from the DUP's point of view, a bad deal for Northern Ireland because what it does is it increases the chances that in the years
to come, the relationship between Northern Ireland and Dublin will strengthen with Brussels and will end up perhaps seeing Northern Ireland
leave the United Kingdom and reuniting with the Republic of Ireland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Well, Richard, obviously hearing from the Liberal Democrats, they're just underscoring the fact that they are absolutely unequivocally
not going to support this deal, but we knew that. They are standing on a platform of remaining in the European Union, no matter what, revoking
But Boris Johnson can never count on the Liberal Democrats supporting this kind of deal, but he is presented with the same problem that Theresa May
was presented with, which is this parliamentary tug of war between those who don't think it's hard enough, who are worried about the issue of
consent in Northern Ireland and those who still think that it's a little bit too soft.
QUEST: So ultimately, we're going or the U.K. is heading towards another election. Because if -- you know, if we just logically think about the
order of things, you have the session, which votes it down on Saturday, you have the letter for the extension. You've now got January 31st. There is
only two roads thereafter. One is an election, and the other is a referendum.
NOBILO: I'd agree with that assessment and we should caution of course, there is a very slender chance that by hook or by crook, this is going to
get over the line that would be testament to the level of apathy and fatigue and also nothing about this is predetermined or inexorable. That
is definitely clear.
So we can't rule it out. But if does not succeed, Richard and I completely concur, an election would add more confusion most likely because Labour
does have a very confusing sort of prevaricating position on the issue of Brexit. They have their own splits within the party.
I do feel like the momentum for a second referendum will just surge in a huge way on Saturday if this does not succeed because what other
alternatives are there?
QUEST: Right. And if you look at the votes, thank you, Bianca. Look at the votes, 80 percent of our dear viewers believe that it's no, he can't
get it across.
The President -- the U.S. President is hailing Turkey's pause as a great victory. We are live with our correspondents who watched the offensive and
its fallout unfold in a moment. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Tonight, we are alive, of course in Brussels.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue tonight in a moment.
We'll be back with Syria where Turkey has agreed to stop fighting in Syria under certain strict conditions. A ceasefire, but at what cost?
And the Boris Johnson deal tackles the Irish border.
We're going to hear from the Vice President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness. Before that though, this is CNN, and here, the facts
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. and Turkey have agreed on a ceasefire in northern Syria. But shortly after, Turkey's Foreign Minister
denied this is a ceasefire. He says the Turkish operation will pause for 120 hours to allow Kurdish forces to leave, and will only stop its military
operations if all the conditions are met.
America's ambassador to the EU has told Congress' impeachment inquiry that President Trump directed him to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine. Now,
Gordon Sondland said he didn't initially realize that may include pushing Ukraine to investigate Trump's rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Shortly afterwards, the White House admitted that military aid to Ukraine was tied to the president's desire for a Biden investigation. Separately,
the White House has announced next year's G7 Summit will take place at the president resort, President Trump's resort in Doral in Florida. He says
the president won't personally profit from it.
The announcement comes a day after a U.S. Appeals Court made the unusual decision to revisit a lawsuit accusing the president of violating the
constitution by operating a Washington hotel close to the White House. The British government and the European Union have agreed on a new Brexit deal
two weeks before the U.K. is due to leave. It's not yet clear if the U.K. parliament will approve it this Saturday.
Northern Ireland's DUP and the opposition Labor Party are saying they are going to vote against it. The Prime Minister believes lawmakers must
either back his deal or risk a no-deal departure. And the U.S. House Democrat Elijah Cummings has died. His office says he succumbed on
Thursday to longstanding health problems. The Maryland Congressman chaired one of the committees involved in the impeachment inquiry of President
Trump. Elijah Cummings was 68 years old.
More now on the ceasefire deal in northern Syria. A day after Donald Trump stood in the White House and compared the Kurds to ISIS, he decided it was
time to thank them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a group, I want to thank the Kurds because they were incredibly happy with the solution. This is a
solution that really -- well, it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives. So, we've done a great thing for our partner. If we didn't
go this unconventional tough love approach, you could have never gotten it done. They've been trying to do this for many years. You could have never
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh watched the offensive unfold, and he's in Erbil in Iraq tonight. So, let's take this
point-by-point. The idea that there's going to be this 120-hour ceasefire that will allow the YPG to be removed or for the U.S. to negotiate their
departure, what do you make of it?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the 120- hour timetable is the key bit because that is precisely the moment between now and the moment in which Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President
Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi. Which frankly, everybody thought would be the real menu when the power brokers on the battlefield.
Now the U.S. has departed would decide what really happens. Essentially, what the Americans have done here is say to the Syrian Kurds, please pull
back from an undefined area, about 20 miles deep into Syria territory, which at its least generous is areas which Turkish forces already control.
At its most dangerous is a vast area which frankly is the most populated part of Syrian Kurdish territory. So, it's extraordinarily lacking in
detail. Remember ceasefires, territorial arrangements like this on the battlefield, they all hinge on the details. The who, the what, the where?
The precise towns, the precise distances, the timing. This essentially says something vague will happen in a 20-mile depth inside Syria in the
next five days.
And what happens outside of that --
QUEST: Right --
WALSH: Area, well, that's not clear either. So, I'm very confused as to how dangerous the next five days are.
QUEST: And how much of that buffer zone, what the agreement calls the safe zone. How much of that has Turkey already taken and is now occupying?
WALSH: Well, as I say, if you think that, that is -- Mike Pence referred to how U.S. has previously been in favor of a safe zone. Now, the U.S. did
establish a security mechanism's zone that was massively more shallow into Syria before this offensive.
That went between the currently Turkish-controlled town of Tell Abiad, and then the fought-over town of Ras al-Ayn. So, if it's just that, then yes,
Turkey already controls it. If it is what Turkey's Foreign Minister has suggested, which is all the way between the Euphrates River and the Iraqi
And I wish we'd have a map here up to show you, that, that is pretty much the whole Syrian-Kurdish area of the border that currently Turkey thinks it
wants to control. And it contains a major population center of Syrian- Kurdish Kobani and commercially, which they're not going to give up on. Mike Pence specifically said Kobani was not going to face any military
action. So, that's a huge discrepancy in the statements here, Richard.
QUEST: And what do you expect the sort of deal that Erdogan and Putin would come together when they meet? What -- I mean, is it within the gift?
Well, you tell me, Nick, you're the expert. What is it within the gift of Putin to give?
WALSH: Like I think essentially, for the fact, the situation on the ground the next five days is highly unlikely the Turkish have within them, the
military might to kick the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish forces out of the population centers that they already control. The key ones being the de
facto capital commercially and the big population center in symbolic city of Kobani.
They're not going to be given up in the five days, so, essentially, what you're going to be looking at probably at the Russians and the Syrian
regime, saying to the Turkish, we will police those areas for you and make sure the Syrian-Kurds aren't really in them, although they probably will be
to some degree will pay for this October if they got satisfied.
We'll have a ceasefire, you get your trunk of territory between those major towns where you can put the refugees you wanted to, and we hope this calms
down. But it won't because the Turkish are going to put Syrian rebels in those areas that are very hostile that the U.S. have called mostly
extremist. And in the town near the side of it, they will probably still be Syrian Kurds that are very angry at the territory they've left. But for
now, Turkey have got a bit of territory that they're probably happy with, and most importantly, Russia is the power broker. Richard?
QUEST: Nick Paton Walsh, Nick, thank you. Now, it's one thing to talk about Brexit, it's another to show what it will look like. We'll zoom in
on the map on a day that essentially has been about borders and what they signify. In a moment.
QUEST: The development in Brussels here today are being quite monumental here. Boris Johnson is attempting the delicate balancing act to reconcile
the demands of the EU and his own parliament back home which has already rejected of course, three times earlier attempts.
In fact, the parliament says no. But everybody says they want to prevent a hard border, and that would involve Custom checks in -- have a look at
exactly how. So, listen -- parliament has rejected the backstop and risks it would all trap the U.K. into some form of Customs Union effectively with
no borders at all.
Or now -- under this new deal, Northern Ireland stays aligned to some EU rules on goods. Incoming goods are checked at a point of entry and in four
years, the Northern Ireland lawmakers can decide whether to keep that arrangement. But as you can see, de facto, it does create a version of a
border down the Irish sea. The DUP is refusing to support the plan. The Irish Taoiseach has thrown his support behind the proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEO VARADKAR, PRIME MINISTER, IRELAND: Yes, well, that's perhaps being replaced -- that's being replaced with a new solution. A unique solution
for Northern Ireland recognizing its unique history in geography. But that new solution does what we need it to do, avoid the hard border between
north and south, protects overall the economy, protects a single market, not replacing it.
And also crucially, we were happy to accept this, it takes a can to a democratic wishes of the people of Northern Ireland who have always
expressed the view and said that we would never seek to hold Northern Ireland in an arrangement long-term against the will of the majority of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Joining me now, Mairead McGuinness; the Irish MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament. It's always good to have you with
us. Thank you for taking time. The reality is, though, this deal is complicated. It's difficult to fully grasp and it may not survive the U.K.
parliament on Saturday.
MAIREAD MCGUINNESS, VICE PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Well, there's two parts to that question. Yes, it is a complex deal, but actually, its aims
are not complex. We knew we needed to deliver on our commitments around the Good Friday agreement. Taoiseach was very clearly spelled out that,
that is honored in this withdrawal agreement that has now been agreed between Europe and the United Kingdom.
On the second part of your question about the next steps, of course, ratification has to happen in two parliaments, the House of Commons and the
European Parliament. And we are anticipating that the House of Commons will have some vote on Saturday. But when I look around and talk to
colleagues and read commentary, it's not at all clear that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister will get a majority for an agreement that he has done
with the European Union.
Now, I suppose it brings us back to days of the past when the former Prime Minister Theresa May tried on three --
QUEST: Right --
MCGUINNESS: Occasions to get the previous agreement through. So, we're all a little bit numb this evening. It's been a very busy couple of days,
today has been quite fanatic, but I think Saturday will be one of those days where everybody will be glued to the House of Commons.
QUEST: But I -- look, when Theresa May originated the deal with you all and then came back, we didn't know the sort of ferocity of opposition and
the phibrow(ph) nature. But I'm wondering what was the wisdom of agreeing to this, when you now know what the House of Commons is like. And look,
simple arithmetic, Mairead, it's not there in favor of the deal at the moment.
MCGUINNESS: Well, I mean, the ferocity of the opposition comes from two different parts at the House of Commons. One group are MPs who want to
remain in Europe, and they're very devastated today that a deal is done. And the other from those who want a hard Brexit. But you know, look at
this from an European perspective.
The only thing we can do is sit down with the British government and negotiate a withdrawal agreement. The next part of the work is for the
British Prime Minister to deliver and to sell this deal to his colleagues, and I believe that work is underway. Although, we are not at all convinced
that the numbers stack up. But there is tomorrow and then there's, I suppose, a really hard choice facing MPs in the House of Commons because
there's now a suggestion that it is this deal or no deal.
And quite frankly, that is quite a challenge to those who have to make a decision on Saturday.
QUEST: The perception is, to put it in the crude vernacular, Boris Johnson threw Northern Ireland and the DUP under the bus because unlike the --
unlike the backstop which was an emergency measure and never intended to be used, the Taoiseach himself admitted that this was a new arrangement that
very likely would come into effect and be permanent.
MCGUINNESS: Yes, I disagree with your point there, that Northern Ireland have been thrown under a bus. I deal with the DUP separately. Remember
that the business community, farmers, people in Northern Ireland, they voted to remain. But apart from that, they were very nervous of if there
was no insurance policy. And yes, as the Taoiseach said, what is now very clear is that there is an arrangement that will stick unless there's a
decision of the -- so much assembly to pull away from this new arrangement.
So, there's a democratic part of this, but there's also answering the question which, you know, Northern Ireland citizens have raised with us
that please don't abandon us. We have to respect the Good Friday agreement. To your point --
QUEST: Right --
MCGUINNESS: About the Democratic Unionist Party, I think the statement this morning, I suppose, did throw cold water on everything. It is
interesting that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going ahead and is agreeing what's on the table. I understand he is still talking to the DUP
and perhaps they can come to some arrangement --
QUEST: Right --
MCGUINNESS: Between this and Saturday. Although, the certainty of that commentary would suggest otherwise.
QUEST: Mairead, you rightly mentioned the consent aspect of it and the ability for Northern Ireland politicians to vote out of this, and I think
it's four years time or whenever. So, we're talking about an event at least five years away. But the backstop was always meant to be permanent
in the absence of anything else. If Northern Ireland politicians were to vote against this in the future, we'd be back looking at a hard border.
MCGUINNESS: Well, actually, no, Chris, there's some fine-tuning and fine detail in the agreement whereby if the democratic will was to pull away
from this unique arrangement, there would be a cooling off period of two years in which the political bodies and leaders would be charged with
ensuring that there was no hard border on the island of Ireland.
So whichever way you look at this, this problem has got to be resolved. We have a resolution to it now, not everyone supports it. But we do have the
commitment honored around the Good Friday Agreement and the all Ireland economy. And yes, the previous backstop, the all Ireland -- the Northern
Ireland rather, only one --
QUEST: Right --
MCGUINNESS: Which was the European suggestion, the U.K., only one which was the British suggested and they're gone. We have this new arrangement.
QUEST: All right, an unfair question perhaps since you are the Vice President and there's also the duties and responsibilities. But I'll go
for it any way. What does your gut feeling tell you is going to happen with this deal?
MCGUINNESS: Well, my gut feeling at this stage is that we've been through a fairly rough couple of years. I'm a little bit saddened today, and it
was interesting, I've just come from an interview where the cameraman when we were finished was actually quite upset and talked about this being a
historic moment and a sad moment.
So, there's a lot of people across Europe that will find this a very disturbing moment. So my gut-feeling at the moment is a little bit, you
know, queasy because of what's happened. As to whether this will get through the House of Commons, I go for yes it will to no, it won't. So, I
really -- the pendulum hasn't settled. We'll get through the European Parliament and we'll have to do that next week, it is more likely.
However, what will we do as a parliament if the House of Commons rejects this agreement on Saturday? And I think we're going to have to make some
decisions perhaps over the weekend, but certainly on Monday.
QUEST: As always, very appreciative of you taking time in a busy day to talk to us. Thank you, Mairead for joining us --
MCGUINNESS: Thanks indeed --
QUEST: Tonight. No, the Brexit ball is back in Boris Johnson's court. The British MP has to get the deal through parliament. A short time ago,
the Irish leader told the U.K. you're always welcome to come back. They haven't left yet and they're already being asked to come back. But that's
the nature of this thing -- in a moment.
QUEST: Gush, Brexit, remember the new deal faces a parliamentary vote this Saturday. By the way, I will be back in London, giving full coverage from
the morning, it starts at 9:30 in the morning, London time. Now, the Prime Minister knows that Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party says it
won't back the deal. Let's talk about all of this with David Herszenhorn; the Chief Brussels correspondent for "Politico".
So, they've done a deal, but they can't get through parliament or may not get through parliament.
DAVID HERSZENHORN, CHIEF BRUSSELS CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: We just don't know that math. It's really complicated. If he doesn't have the DUP, he
obviously needs more labor votes 20 or more. If he does have the DUP, it's still not quite enough --
QUEST: Right --
HERSZENHORN: This is a math equation that nobody can quite figure out just yet --
QUEST: But when they were doing the deal here --
HERSZENHORN: Right --
QUEST: They knew that, and they -- as the day went on, they knew that. Mairead McGuinness says, well, you know, when I put it to her, she
basically says, well, yes, but what do you expect us to do? We can only negotiate with the Brits, so, we have no choice.
HERSZENHORN: That's it, and for the EU, the crucial thing is they've taken no deal off the table. By kicking that ball back to London, they've
basically said, look, they've done everything they can to get a deal out there. If the British parliament approves it, great. But they also sent a
clear signal, if they don't, they're not ruling out an extension. They're not saying that they're going to play hardball and be tough --
QUEST: Well, they'd have to. They'd have to --
HERSZENHORN: They'd have to --
QUEST: You know, if Boris Johnson on Saturday night hasn't got a deal, it's been voted down, he has no choice as you know by the Benn Act, he has
to sign the act, he has to sign the letter.
HERSZENHORN: And there are British guys telling them that, you know what? Boris Johnson is winning no matter what now. Even if he doesn't have a
deal, he can run on the fact that he got one. He can campaign against Labor, he can take on the general election that this will propel him
forward. Now, I do think that we will get to November 1st, and he's promised a do or die Brexit.
And if he's still alive and the U.K. is still in the EU, there will be political opponents who'll say he failed, there should be a vote of no
confidence or something rather. But it is this great infliction point where we will find out Saturday, dramatic, first time the U.K. prong is
sitting on a Saturday as long as anyone can remember --
QUEST: But just the thought it being a bit of a waste of time, what they did here.
HERSZENHORN: No, for -- a waste of time -- as waste of time, maybe three- plus years, struggling on this, only to get to where everybody knew we sort of would have to be. With some special arrangement for Ireland because the
geography is just so tough with something that protects the rights of citizens, British citizens who live in the EU, EU citizens in the U.K.,
some kind of financial settlement.
It had to happen this way, and yet, it's dragged on and on and on. Finally, they're on the cusp, we'll see if they can get right across --
QUEST: But this --
HERSZENHORN: That last line --
QUEST: But the wording and the political declaration seems to have shifted in terms of the future relationship. People are saying it's no longer the
closest possible, and they're now saying it's just a free trade agreement.
HERSZENHORN: It's just a free trade -- I mean, look, this is one of the things that unsettled the EU the most. When Boris Johnson took over from
Theresa May and started to say, look, we don't like this idea of so close. We want to be a real competitor, they want their virgins, what -- in the
EU, it's called Singapore on the Thames, that has unsettled people deeply.
But there are provisions back in on a level playing field. There has been some movement -- now, ironically, that seems like Boris Johnson may be
softening his position, surrendering a little bit. But in fact, it could help him pick up some of those votes that he needs, because of course, the
harder line here is --
QUEST: But --
HERSZENHORN: The bigger risk there is that people turn around and say, no, that's too tough for us.
QUEST: I was talking to the Swedish EU minister earlier today and the Prime Minister. I can't -- I mean, the attention that these men and women
are paying to the U.K. House of Commons is quite extraordinary. It's -- they know the menucha of British politics to a disturbing level.
HERSZENHORN: We get these moments every once in a while. CFTA, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement where all of the regional parliaments in
Belgium had to approve. And all of a sudden, folks became experts on what was going on, and no more, you know, the balloons and here and -- this
happens every once in a while, and yes, we know the Swedes and the Baltics, they tend to keep their cool, but they do, do their homework and they are
I mean, this is not a matter of wishing, this is just a numbers game. Will he come up with the numbers to get this deal through?
QUEST: If they don't, and they have to go on to an extension, the issue becomes wait for an election or a referendum or what?
HERSZENHORN: It will be an extension and they will be asking Boris Johnson to give them a signal. What's his timeframe? When does he think an
election can happen? We know there's a big NATO Summit and NATO leaders Summit that will happen in London in early December. December has been
talked about for an election, so it might be a little bit later in December --
QUEST: Oh, yes --
HERSZENHORN: That's what we have to do. Lots of things will come together. There may be some folks who say, you know, we don't want to
think about this until December 30th --
QUEST: Oh --
HERSZENHORN: In 2020. We'll find out, Richard --
QUEST: More on ahead --
HERSZENHORN: Good to see you.
QUEST: Good to see you, thank you. And we will have a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, when the deal was done and now all attention is on London on Saturday. The numbers simply aren't there. You
heard Bianca Nobilo earlier talking about that. There's simply no way or at least it doesn't appear, and yet, of course, here in Brussels, and you
heard Mairead McGuinness saying this is the only thing they can do.
They negotiate with the other side and they wait to see what the result is. If this deal gets voted down by Westminster on Saturday, they went to
another completely different ball game because there will be an extension and almost certainly an election in the United Kingdom.
As for the Europeans, they are determined -- and this is fascinating. They are determined just to keep going and never kick the Brits out. I was most
taken tonight by what Michel Barnier said, he said that the British will always be friends, the British will always be welcome and that the
negotiations have always been done from his point of view without an angry word or without a bad thought.
And as a result, he had his job to do, Boris Johnson had his job to do. They've done their job, now, let's see what happens when MPs in London get
the red meat of a new deal from Brussels.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I am Richard Quest in Brussels. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is
profitable. The bell is ringing, the day is done, the Dow is just -