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Greek President Speaks To CNN About Tensions With Turkey; U.S. Blames Houthis For Aid Obstruction; UN's Humanitarian Chief Speaks To CNN About Yemen; Fox News Poll: Trump Gains On Biden; Trump To Host UAE- Bahrain-Israel Signing Ceremony Tuesday; Australian Expats Stranded Abroad Due To International Arrivals Cap. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 14, 2020 - 11:00   ET





ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: This hour, Turkey facing an armada of opposition in the Eastern Mediterranean. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome


For decades they have sparred over territorial rights over waters in the East Med. Now the latest odds between Greece and Turkey has raised fears of

a military conflict to a level not seen in years and some other powerful countries jumping into the fray.

Let me explain the very basics for you here. It's all about the waters around Greek Islands that are just a stone's throw from Turkey. The sea

floor believed to contain abundant natural gas and oil reserves. That, in a word, means money, an awful lot of it. Both countries call it the potential

energy bonanza.

In recent weeks Turkey dispatched a research ship there as both sides hiked up their military presence. It's not just a straight disagreement between

Greece and Turkey. Greece has some powerful friends on its side, France and America, for example. First up, take a listen to the U.S. Secretary of

State weighing in with a warning to Ankara.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We remain deeply concerned by Turkey's ongoing operations surveying for natural resources in areas in

which Greece and Cyprus have assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean.


ANDERSON: Well, Turkey is under even more pressure from France. President Emmanuel Macron describing Turkey's behavior as unacceptable, even going so

far as to say they no longer consider the NATO ally a partner in the region. Turkey's President not exactly taking that lying down. Have a



RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: I do not want to mention him by name, but I have to because he is messing with me. He is saying our problem

is not with the Turkish people, but with Erdogan. Mr. Macron, you will continue to have a lot more problems with me.


ANDERSON: Well, this weekend, Greece's President visiting this small Island just off Turkey's Southern Coast. When I say just off, I literally mean it.

It is at the center of the dispute, Turkey's Defense Minister calling her visit disturbing. CNN's Nic Robertson flew down there for this exclusive

interview with the Greek President.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At a time of tension with Turkey, Greece's President is on a mission. To Kastellorizo a tiny

Island population about 500, less than two t miles from Turkey, to celebrate an anniversary of nationhood, a message to residents and to

Turkey just across the water.


KATERINA SAKELLAROPOULOU, GREEK PRESIDENT: We are living in delicate times, but we are all for dialogue. Greece has proven that it supports dialogue,

but of course dialogue not under threats.

ROBERTSON: Coming here in the face of Turkey at a time of tension, is that not also a provocative message?

SAKELLAROPOULOU: I don't think a peaceful visit from the President of Greece can be productive in any way.


ROBERTSON: Even so, Turkey's Defense Minister chose the same moment to visit the Turkish town in plain sight just across the sea. He criticized

the president's visit. The crux of the dispute is this, that Turkey over here is claiming that Greece over here is using some of its tiny islands to

claim an outsized portion of the Mediterranean to stake for its claim on the hidden under seas gas reserves.

This summer Turkey began exploration backed by its navy in disputed waters. A war of words has grown since. And this weekend, after a 10-year hiatus,

Greece's Prime Minister announced beefing up its armed forces buying 18 fighter jets from France adding 15,000 troops to his army and ships for his

navy. I asked the president, why now?


SAKELLAROPOULOU: The government has decided that we must make these moves.


ROBERTSON: To send a message to turkey?

SAKELLAROPOULOU: Not only to send a message, but if you want to have peace, you must always be better prepared for war.


ROBERTSON: Even so, no one here is panicking. They've seen it all before. Captain Carianus (ph), who runs the local ferry to Turkey, plays down his

concerns. For now he might be right. Over the weekend, Turkey pulled back its gas exploration ships.


ROBERTSON: Do you think there is tension over the gas reserves is finished, is going down? Is it over?

SAKELLAROPOULOU: I'm not so positive of that because it's Greece and Cyprus and its whole Mediterranean it is going to move by small steps. Everybody

needs stability in the Mediterranean, not only Greece or Turkey, the European Union, NATO, everybody.


ROBERTSON: Not the first crisis between the two nations and not done yet, either.

ANDERSON: That's for Greek perspective. Let me show you this. You can see here the country's Defense Minister surveying that same Island we just saw

the Greek President on. This is the Turkish Defense Minister. He has criticized the Greek President's visit to the Island, saying that Turkey

does not have an eye on anyone's land and he is only protecting its interests. Have a listen.


HULUSI AKAR, TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTER: We are on the side of peace, dialogue and political solution. We want good neighborly relations. We are

respectful of agreements and of everyone's borders. We do not have an eye on anyone's land, but we are fully determined, decisive and capable of

protecting our countries and our nation's rights and interests until the day we die.


ANDERSON: And more on this story as we get it. Keep an eye on it. It is so important. But a new recordings released by veteran journalist Bob Woodward

for his upcoming book "Rage," Donald Trump explains why he gets along with strong leaders like Recep Tayyip Erdogan


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I get along very well with Erdogan, even though you're not supposed to because everyone says,

what a horrible guy, but the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You'll explain that one day,

but maybe it's not a bad thing.


ANDERSON: Donald Trump on his Turkish counterpart coming up. After years of war in Yemen, a new enemy rears its head the Coronavirus pandemic and

caught in the middle the country's starving population. Coming up what will perhaps who is blocking aid from the people who desperately need it.

Plus, Israel's Prime Minister heads for Washington as the Trump White House gears up for a big foreign policy show tomorrow. Why some Arab nations are

telling us it signals a new narrative for the Middle East.



ANDERSON: -- this Coronavirus pandemic and the superlatives are still relentless, aren't they? The World Health Organization reports a new high

in COVID-19 infection for a 24-hour period. Nearly 308,000 new cases were reported around the world. In that same single day, the virus claimed more

than 5,500 lives.

The total number of people with the virus now nearly 29 million and one place that's truly suffering from the virus is a place that can afford no

more disasters, and that is Yemen more than 2,000 confirmed cases, nearly 600 deaths. Those numbers, the U.N. says, likely vastly undercounting the

scale of the pandemic there.

But it's yet another disaster 100,000 people who have been killed in more than five years of war in Yemen. The pandemic hit while barely half of the

country's health facilities were functioning. Well, the WHO estimates more than 20 million people don't have steady access to food, and more than 80

percent of the population is in need of humanitarian aid and protection.

So what about aid from Yemen's allies? Well, according to a report released just moments ago from Human Rights Watch, the Houthi rebels were among the

groups severely restricting the delivery of aid. That is also hindering the response to the pandemic. In an exclusive report CNN's Senior International

Correspondent Nima Elbagir takes us inside a medical ward in Yemen to show us the devastating impact of those cuts.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In this packed children's ward in the main Abs Hospital in the North of Yemen, anxious

mothers vie for attention as -- rounds. This little girl is named Hafsa (ph). Her mother tells the doctor Hafsa has five brothers, all

malnourished, but Hafsa is the only one they can afford the medicine for.

This mother of an eight-year-old tells -- her little boy can no longer lift up his head. He's too weak. His little belly is painfully swollen, a

telltale sign of acute malnutrition.


ELBAGIR: Rows and rows of hungry children, their bodies so stripped of fat that every move is agony. Hard to believe that these are the lucky ones,

these are the children whose parents can afford the car journey to the hospital.


ELBAGIR: Even for Yemen, this is not the norm. Every day brings dozens more patients and more deaths. This patient died this week, a one-year-old

called Fardma (ph). It's very hard to keep exact figures for child deaths, because so many of the children don't even make it to the hospital. All the

doctor knows is that things are getting worse.


ELBAGIR: Why is that? That lack of funding -- was talking about. 80 percent of the 30 million populations in Yemen are relying on aid, the majority of

who live in the Houthi-controlled North. The Houthis seeking to control the flow of aid placed restrictions on U.N. agencies in areas under their


In March the U.S. suspended much of its aid to the north, citing concerns over Houthi misappropriation. Two other key donors, the United Arab

Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have also drawn down.


ELBAGIR: The U.S., the UAE and Saudi Arabia have all slashed their Yemen aid spend, the U.S. spend dropping from almost 8 billion to 411 million

Saudi from over a billion to half that with only 22.8 million actually received.

The UAE has given zero dollars to the U.N.'s 2020 Yemen Appeal. CNN was able to obtain access to a confidential internal U.N. briefing document.

U.N. agencies have confirmed to us its contents. In the aftermath of the drop in foreign aid, the U.N. has shuttered almost 75 percent of its


In previous CNN investigations, we traced serial numbers on armaments in Yemen back to arms deal between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S., proving

that the U.S. government has profited from the chaos of the war in Yemen, and aid agencies tell us the aid drawdown threatens to wreak even more


Mushria Farah (ph) pushes her disabled son in a wheelchair. Mushria used to receive support through a U.N.-funded program. Now she can't even afford to

get her son Asam (ph) to hospital. Malnutrition has left Asam mentally disabled, and she has to choose between feeding him and paying for


She carries him through the little alley that leads to the half-finished building site where she and other displaced families have erected makeshift

shelters. Up until the few months ago she tells us Asam was like any little boy. But after the families were displaced from their home by forcing, now

they live here.

The aid suspension has driven the people of the Houthi-controlled north into deeper isolation. Yemen's North could already be in famine and we

might not even know it. CNN has received responses to our reporting from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry told CNN that they fully intend to meet their pledged commitment but the delay in disbursement was because, "Based a

request through United Nations to have the announced pledge be paid in one upfront payment to each individual U.N. agency".

The United States Aid Organization USAID pointed the finger of blame firmly at the Houthis for obstructing aid, but said that they "Continue to support

countrywide U.N. operations and some of our NGO partners' lifesaving activities in the north".

They say they are by far the largest donor to the humanitarian response in Yemen this year. And the United Arab Emirates told CNN it was the first

country to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, and that they, "Are one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to Yemen with more than

USD 6 billion provided from 2015 until the end of August 2020. All three countries say that they have concerns over alleged Houthi misappropriation

of aid. Becky?

ANDERSON: That's Nima Elbagir reporting. Mark Lowcock now joining is U.N. Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs. He is the Chief

Coordinator of the world's response to crises like we see in Yemen. And Mark, we speak way too often.

The HRW, the Human Rights Watch Report that was just released at the top of this hour entitled deadly consequences, obstruction of aid in Yemen during

COVID-19 details systematic interference in relief operations by Houthi authorities.

The author of the report says, and I quote, millions have been suffering in Yemen because the Houthis and other Yemeni authorities have denied the U.N.

and other aid agencies unhindered access to people in need.

Yemen's decimated health care sector and the unchecked spread of COVID-19 make the obstruction and recent donor aid cuts catastrophic. Mark, these

restrictions and interference by the Houthis widely acknowledged for the reasons for scaling back of aid by donor countries and U.N. agencies.

Unless that changes, how much worse do things get on the ground?

MARK LOWCOCK, U.N. UNDER SECRETARY GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: Well, things are getting much worse very quickly. I spent a few hours yesterday

talking to people all around Yemen, and what the people are saying is their kids are crying out for food. If you ask them, are you getting assistance,

they say, yes, we used to get assistance but we aren't now.


LOWCOCK: When you add to that the COVID crisis, I talked to a woman yesterday who said the income earners in her family had died from COVID,

when you add to the clutch of the exchange rate it used to cost 200 Yemeni Rial to buy a dollar, now across a 100 in most of the country and all the -

- so that dramatically increased the cost of food for people.

When you add to fact that there is a blockage on fuel coming into the country which means that there is no fuel to run the hospitals or the water

system or the sanitation system you are looking in the face of a bleak catastrophe.

ANDERSON: Mark, I hate to talk statistics when we are looking at images of kids who, quite frankly, by no fault of their own are in such a terrible,

terrible mess. But you've crunched the data. Is Yemen in famine or close to it?

LOWCOCK: I think it's pretty close to it in parts of the country. It's difficult to know precisely, because for reasons you've alluded to, Becky,

in your introduction there, it's not easy to get all around the country, some of the places you're most worried about, the places where the fighting

is most intense.

What I've described to you are all things that lead towards and indicate the danger of famine, and that's why I wrote to the Security Council of the

United Nations about ten days ago to raise a red flag about famine.

ANDERSON: I hate to ask you this, but if not now, when, David? Sorry Mark.

LOWCOCK: Look, last year we raised $3.3 billion for our response program in Yemen. This year we've only raised $1.3 billion. That missing 2 billion is

the reason we're having this conversation, basically. That is why there is a clear and present danger of a huge loss of life in famine and all the

things it brings with it.

Now, the problem we face consistently in Yemen is that powerful people are playing games for other objectives and consistently and totally ignore the

needs and wishes of the people of the country, the palace people of the country.

And until people stop making decisions on a different basis, we're going to be dancing on the knife edge of a huge tragedy indefinitely into the


ANDERSON: And the head of the WFB, David basically a man I know you know very well, in a tweet earlier today says, and I quote, unless an urgent

injection of funds comes in for Yemen, we are going to find ourselves right where we were in 2018 when we had to fight our way back from the brink of


He is, as you are, appealing for more funds. But Mark, quite frankly, why would anybody want to send any more money if it is just going to be


LOWCOCK: Of course, it's not just misappropriated. All the people I spoke to in Yemen over the weekend told me they had been getting help. Of course

there are problems. In the middle of a war zone you always have problems running a humanitarian operation.

But we know because we bring people up to ask them if they got the help that they were supposed to get, whether they had it or not. So the central

problem is not the blockages and the interference we get around the country.

That is a problem, but that is not what is bringing people to the brink of starvation. What is bringing them to the brink of starvation is the fact

that we have no money. And I do think it's particularly reprehensible for countries which were contributing last year, said they were contributing

again this year and then not to pay, because the effect of that is to give people the hope that maybe help is coming, and then when you don't pay, you

dash their hopes.

ANDERSON: You said two members of the Security Council, which has not been made public, but parts of it were obtained by "The New York Times." And you

talked about the public health crises, the economic shocks, COVID-19, and the overarching effect of all of this.

Numbers from Johns Hopkins University give this as being somewhere like 2,000 cases, right, of COVID in Yemen. That would be startlingly low, sir,

wouldn't it?

LOWCOCK: Yes. I mean, not only anyone really believes those numbers. There is very little testing for COVID done in Yemen, and, of course, a confirmed

case only arises when you've got a test. We know I mean, for example, from our own staff in the U.N., we know there are huge numbers of cases.


LOWCOCK: Not everyone survives. We've lost some of our own staff. I talked to the woman -- yesterday who I mentioned earlier, she has lost two family

members. We know that there is community transmission, so COVID is posing an additional strain on an already decimated health system.

One of the things about famines, as you know, is that ultimately what kills people isn't the process of starvation, it's the measles or an infection or

some other problem that a healthy person that's not deeply malnourished can fight off but a starving one cannot.

ANDERSON: Just leaving Yemen for just one moment. The last time you and I spoke I remember that you quoted Syria as being hell on earth. How would

you describe the situation there now?

LOWCOCK: It's a very difficult situation still in Syria. I think when I last spoke to you about it; it was during the course of the bombardment by

the Syrian government and its allies on the northwest of the country.

Now, that has, of course, calmed down with a ceasefire, which was largely held in early March, and now there is a Turkish presence which is

effectively providing a high degree of protection for people in the northwest part of the country.

COVID is running amok in Syria as well, but Syria has also been severely affected by the regional economic crisis, in particular Lebanon with the

banking crisis and the collapse of the economy there has led to a reduction in the Syrian trade and that's making everything more expensive.

So it's still a very difficult and dangerous situation for lots of people, but it is a positive that the bombardment that was taking place January,

February, up to early March, has at least stopped in the northwest of the country.

ANDERSON: Back to Yemen, and finally, what are you proposing to do next at the U.N.? If you had one message to the international community, it is


LOWCOCK: Well, I'm briefing the Security Council again tomorrow on Yemen, and what I'm saying to them, basically, is this is still a preventable

catastrophe, but it won't be prevented unless powerful people and powerful nations take different decisions.

And please bear in mind that the people whose fate you're toying with in your hands as you play these games, they're people just like us. Do what I

did. Spend a few hours talking to these people, ask about their lives.

They have no control over what's happening, they're simply the victims of games being played by other people, and it doesn't have to be like that.

ANDERSON: Mark Lowcock, always a pleasure thank you sir. Well, coming up as we gear up for the U.S. elections in less than two months. Joe Biden still

has the advantage nationally, but his lead is shrinking as Donald Trump gains momentum. We'll have more on that new poll. Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go back to Australia so that I can dance, go to school and see our family.


ANDERSON: -- no job, no visa, no health care and no way home. Why and how tens of thousands of Australians are currently stranded abroad?



ANDERSON: Well, we are 55 zero days away from America picking who will be president there for the next four years, and the race seems to be getting

ever tighter. This is the latest poll from Fox News, and it shows President Trump chipping away at Joe Biden's lead. 51 percent both likely and

registered voters say they would choose Biden, compared to 46 percent who would vote for Mr. Trump.

That is a five-point lead for Biden, but he was up eight points in a Fox Poll back in July, once the national view. But see just how down to the

wire here it is getting for these two candidates. I want to take it down to the scale of one county in Pennsylvania. But I say -- I want to explore a

place that Mr. Trump flipped back in 2016 to win the state with a very, very tight margin. Have a look at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In pivotal Lucerne County, Pennsylvania, voters are publicly staking their legions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My neighbor always put up Biden signs so I want to get back at him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Republican County Headquarters, voters streamed in for their signs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say, hey, Trump signs are in, come on in, and then the doors started flooding open.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outside the Democratic County Office, voters impatiently waiting for it to open.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say signs don't vote. In Lucerne County, they do.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lucerne could be crucial to deciding Pennsylvania this year. It happened in 2016 when the county which Barrack Obama carried twice

back to President Trump by 2600 votes. Overall Trump won Pennsylvania by about 44,000, less than one point.


MATT CARTWRIGHT, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: If you're running for the Oval Office, you ignore north eastern Pennsylvania at your peril.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before the pandemic, Lucerne's economy was stable. Trump promised to bring back manufacturing, the largest industry here. And

in 2016, manufacturing jobs grew. In a recent poll, while Biden leads by nine points among likely Pennsylvania voters, they gave Trump the edge on

handling the economy.


GAETANO BUONSANTE, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016&UNDECIDED FOR 2020: I do think Trump will do a good job based on the past few years with helping bring

back the economy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gaetano Buonsante voted for Trump in 2016 on that very issue, something both Democrats and Republicans here still say is their

number one concern. Gaetano's family owns several pizza shops in Lucerne. Two didn't survive the pandemic. But it's the issue of policing and race in

America that has him questioning his vote.


BUONSANTE: A lot of African-Americans, I think, have been left behind, and a lot of policies, I don't think Donald Trump has done -- he's done some

things to help. I don't think he's done enough compared to the window of opportunity that we have right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Across the street, Jay Notartomaso's record shop also took a hit during the pandemic. He closed for two and a half months,

collecting unemployment for the first time.


JAY NOTARTOMASO, BIDEN SUPPORTER: The effects of the pandemic could have been less if we took the right initiative and had leadership at the

beginning of the pandemic and we did not. And now we know that Trump actually knew but downplayed it. That is a disgrace.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Pennsylvania's battleground status, voters in Lucerne say they're prepared for another close race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel like your vote could be a deciding vote in this election?

NOTARTOMASO: Yes, I feel it could be very, very close.


ANDERSON: Very, very close when I say those words, one thing happens. CNN's one and only Mr. Harry Enten magically appears to explain all things

politics. Before you poll, it takes get it. There is really something about Harry. So let's get going, Harry. Because it seems like we might be seeing

some tightening in the race for President Trump, correct?


HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR WRITER POLITICS: Yes. I mean, take a look at this. Take a look at the average of polls this month compared to two months ago

and then compare it to two months before that. And what you do see is that Biden had a lead of about ten points back in July. That has shrunk in the

average of polls down to seven points now.

That's about the same as where we were in May. And indeed you compare the July and to now numbers, Biden is actually pretty stable right around 50

percent. It's actually Trump who's gained back some ground jumping from 40 percent to 43 percent.

ANERSON: We shouldn't now lose track of the fact that Biden is in a better position than Hillary Clinton was four years ago at this point, correct?

ENTEN: Yes. I mean this I think is just an important comparison. If you look at where Biden is right now, he's up by seven and he's at 50 percent.

Clinton was only up by two at this point and she was only at 42 percent.

And more than that, the undecided other column that Trump won big league in the closing days, he was able to get a lot of those undecided's on his

side, that amount of vote at this point is only about a third as it was at this point in 2016. So there's less room for Trump to make up ground.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating. Part of the reason Hillary Clinton lost four years ago was Donald Trump's overwhelmingly with those who liked neither

candidate. You told me, you think this is less of an issue for Biden, why?

ENTEN: Yes, here is the reason why - the reason why that is Joe Biden is actually pretty well liked this compared to Hillary Clinton. Take a look at

this. What you see is his favorable rating stands at 49 percent, his unfavorable rating just at 46 percent.

Clinton, on the other hand, she had many more voters few her as unfavorably and favorably, so the fact is, as long as Biden can win the voters who

actually like him, he's going to be in a very strong position come November.

ANDERSON: Of course, it is all about the Electoral College at the end of the day. And there will be many of you who are still, quite frankly,

baffled by that internationally. Where do things stand on the Electoral College at this point?

ENTEN: Sure. So, I mean, look, here's the deal. Joe Biden's position in the Electoral College isn't nearly as strong as it is nationally. If you take a

look at the six closest swing states that Donald Trump won four years ago.

And when you take a look at the average poll there and you compare it to the average nationally, what you see is that Biden's lead, while he does

lead in all six of those closest states and only in the incidence of Michigan is it matching his national lead. So it's very clear Biden is

doing worse in the swing states than he's doing nationally.

That being said, let's just say if you were to make an electoral map right and you need 270 electoral votes to win, and you just give Biden the states

where over the last two months he's averaged at least a five-point lead, what do you see?

You see that he does, in fact, get over that 270 electoral vote mark. He gets to 279. So it's close, it's close, but keep in mind this is only

giving Biden the states in which he's leading by at least five points.

So when you take a look at the entire picture, Becky, I think the only real takeaway at this point is that Biden still leads even if that lead is

somewhat diminished from where it was midsummer.

ANDERSON: Yes. 50 days to go. Busy times, sir we'll have you back. Thank you, as ever. Still to come, a Christmas miracle, well, the Australians

Health Minister wants every Aussie stranded abroad home by the holidays. Why they were stranded in the first place is up next?



ANDERSON: And now there are four, or at least there will be by tomorrow, four Arab countries recognizing Israel. Egypt made the move in 1979. Jordan

in 1994, United Arab Emirates made the decision just weeks ago and only 30 days later, Bahrain two deals in a month after two in 26 years. But we are

not connecting you to a history lesson we are connecting you to history unfolding.

Tuesday's planned signing ceremony at the White House will bring together the U.S. President, the Israeli Prime Minister and top officials from right

here in the UAE to solidify for normalization of relations.

That was the plan now in Bahrain will also be joining in the first Gulf State to follow the Emirate lead. CNN's Oren Liebermann now explains how

significant the agreements are and how they didn't come about in a nanosecond?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The gesture was simple but the consequences shook the region. In 1979, a handshake between Israeli Prime

Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat marked the first peace agreement between Israel and then Arab nation. The picture with U.S.

President Jimmy Carter standing front and center was historic.

Two neighboring nations who had known mostly war coming together for peace. 15 years later, it was President Bill Clinton who stood in the center as

Israel and Jordan made peace with the Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Here in this region which is the home of not only both your fates but mine, I say blessed all the peacemakers for

they shall inherit the earth.


LIEBERMANN: Another historic moment in a region known more for starting wars and for ending them. But major progress on the Israeli Palestinian

conflict proved much more elusive, a series of interim agreements and steps, like Madrid in 1991 never materialized into a final status solution.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Real peace, lasting peace must be based upon security for all states and peoples, including Israel.


LIEBERMANN: The major breakthrough was the Oslo accords in 1993.


CLINTON: Let us all go from this place to celebrate the dawn of a new era not only for the Middle East but for the entire world.


LIEBERMANN: But even that the far short of ending the conflict. When President Donald Trump took office, he immediately set to work on his

vision of a conflict, one that was heavily in favor of Israel, built in part on his personal relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After Trump moved to U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and took other pro-Israel steps, the Palestinians cut off contact with the White House. Instead Trump

and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner shifted their efforts to the rest of the region. The first Israeli commercial flight to land in Abu Dhabi celebrated

a normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP: While this peace was forged by its leaders, it is overwhelmingly desired by the people.


LIEBERMANN: Less than a month later, Bahrain announced it, too, would normalize relations with Israel. This time it will be President Donald

Trump where he loves to be front and center at the White House. If he couldn't make peace in the Middle East with the Palestinians, he would do

it without them. Oren Liebermann, CNN Jerusalem.

ANDERSON: Well ahead of the signing ceremony, my colleague Wolf Blitzer spoke to the UAE's Minister for International Cooperation, and she says the

deal with Israel has merit.


REEM AL HASHIMY, UAE MINISTER OF STATE FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: It's an indication that we are keen on a new narrative, a narrative of hope and

a narrative of prosperity where you have dialogue, where you have debate and certainly doing all of that by still keeping the Palestinian cause

front and center, their right to statehood and their right for a dignified life.

And in the United Arab Emirates, we believe very strongly in our ability and in our opportunity to try to shape something positive for our region.

And here's a step in doing that.


ANDERSON: The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs echoing a similar response with me earlier today. These are the words of Dr. Anwar Gargash.



ANWAR GARGASH, UAE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: It is really about the first approach, clearly the old approach of the empty chair, the

old approach of no communications, no bridges, and our assessment has not worked. And we look, really, at the Egyptian peace overtures and

initiatives of the late '70s and '80s as a successful episode in Arab Israeli sort of narrative.

And we look also at the Jordan agreement overall as also successful. So what do you draw from that? You draw from that is the empty chair approach,

the no communication approach, you know, the sort of higher rhetoric approach doesn't really help anybody.


ANDERSON: Anwar Gargash, the full interview will air tomorrow, Tuesday when we preview -- what is this historic signing ceremony in Washington. We're

going to take a very short break at this point.


ANDERSON: Rows and rows of empty seats just 22 passengers on board this plane. This is the new normal for flights to Australia currently operating

at nearly 90 percent empty. Now, what if I told you there are tens of thousands of Australian expats currently stranded abroad no jobs, no visas

and no health insurance, yet their flights are being continually canceled despite all of those empty seats. It just doesn't add up, does it? So why

is this happening?

Well, simply put, the Australian government is barring their entry. Two months ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison imposed a cap on the number of

international arrivals per week. That number, 4,000. Mr. Morrison pushed for it to ease the pressure on mandatory hotel quarantines, he says, after

a hotel security scandal sparked the country's second wave.

But keep in mind those now trying to return are not holiday makers. Since March, Australia has banned tourists from entering and kept its citizens

from leaving. Those trying to return home now are Australian citizens who left before the pandemic began in some cases way before the pandemic

citizens who hold the ninth most powerful passport in the world, but yet are unable to return to the safety of their own borders.


STEPHEN SPENCER, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN UAE: My name is Steven. I recently lost my job in Abu Dhabi, and I'm desperate to return to Australia

with my family. I cannot believe how quickly the Australian government has abandoned its citizen's quota overseas? Please help us come on.

NICK SHRESTHA, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN NEPAL: I'm suffering the -- I'm dying to get back, but I can't because of the cap.

EMILY ALTAMIRANO, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN PERU: With commercial flights not available and the -- flights being denied due to the cause. It seems

almost impossible to go back home.

HAYLEY PAK, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN UK: The earlier we can put now is late October due to the restriction.

AMELIA SPENCER, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN UAE: I really want to get back to Australia so that I can dance, go to school and see our family.

POLYN BUNGALAY-HELWEND, AUSTRALIAN TRYING TO GET HER MOTHER HOME FROM SPAIN: I'm in hospital bed in Valencia, Spain due to a relapse of my MS

caused by the stress and anxiety of trying to get my mother back home to Australia since she's been stuck in Spain for six months.


CAROL THOMPSON, MOTHER OF AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STUCK IN UK: I am desperate for help. My son is only 21. He's stuck in England. He has no income, no family

support. He has been bumped off multiple Qatar flights with no sign of when he's going to get home. He is severely depressed and in serious trouble. He

needs to come home now.

PIETER DEN HETEN, FOUNDER, REMOVE THE CAP: I'm Pieter Den Heten, I am a -- Australian citizen and I've been stranded in Europe now for over six months. I've created a website to tell our stories and

raise awareness for our challenges.


ANDERSON: Well, these stories echoed by tens of thousands around the world. The limbo for these expats has many, including my next guest, believing,

and I'm quoting here, "Being an Australian citizen was once considered a blessing. But in the age of the pandemic, has it become a curse"? Those are

the words of Australian expat Brooke Saward with -- trying up and overstate visa.

She is trying to get home from South Africa. She joins me now live from Cape Town. And Brooke, thank you for joining us. First and foremost, I'm so

sorry to hear about your struggle to get home. Tell us your story.

BROOKE SAWARD, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT STRANDED ABROAD: Yes, I'll start by saying that my story is one of many Australian citizens stranded overseas

throughout the pandemic, so I'm humble to have the opportunity to speak up on behalf of my fellow Aussies.

And as for my story, I am an Australian citizen who moved to South Africa back in November of 2019, and I moved here because my partner Andre is

South African.

Because it takes two years to process a partner visa for him to live in Australia, we decided to move to South Africa while he is applying for his

visa. And on the 6th of March of this year, I came back into the country for the second time, and a few days later, I went on a random conservation

trip of a lifetime.

While I was there, I had extremely limited Wi-Fi and I only connected twice during my trip. I was following the news to stay updated, but it wasn't

until I returned to Cape Town when I realized that suddenly everything had changed. And the borders were closing both in South Africa where we had a

strict 100-day lockdown.

And also in Australia where the government announced that travelers should come home immediately if they were traveling for tourism, but for expats

living overseas, they should stay where they are. I immediately thought to myself, I need to start making plans to come home, but it wasn't as simple

as booking a flight.

Firstly, because my partner is here, we have a lease, we have financial obligations and all my worldly possessions are here inside this house. And

secondly, because there were no flights to book I've been keeping in contact with the Australian Air Commission, and I've been notified of only

one repatriation flight, and that quickly sold out.

Since then I've been looking for another flight, which I did manage to find one in August, last month, and I've been looking for flights since March.

But that flight was cleared to leave South Africa with 300 Australian citizens and permanent residents on board, but it was then denied entry by

the Australian government.

Now, this is because of the flight caps which are limiting the amount of Australians who can come home to 4,000 people per week, which is leaving as

many as 30 to 50 passengers entering the country per flight.

ANDERSON: So as I understand it, you couldn't make this up, these caps are currently set until October the 24th. Scott Morrison has acknowledged that

the issue is important, but he has taken no steps forward. Qatar, the airline Qatar Airways called on the government to increase the number of

people allowed back into Australia saying this plan is not economically feasible for the airlines themselves.

The Health Minister over the weekend says he wants all Aussie stranded to be home by Christmas. Considering the backlog, do you see that as a


SAWARD: Well, there are 25,000 Australians registered trying to get home. So in terms of mathematically, and in the first week of September, there

were 140 flights that landed in Australia, and they had an empty 26,000 seats on board.

So if you look at those figures, if the government were to lift the caps, this would be possible. But it just isn't happening, and there was a

national cabinet meeting on Friday the 4th of September, and they did discuss the need to open up the borders. But as far as I'm aware there have

been no answers or no action plan from our government.

ANDERSON: Have a listen to this story briefly.



RIN NELSON, AUSTRALIAN EXPAT WHO RETURNED HOME: My husband, four children and I recently injured at 13-day journey juts to return to Australia. We

spent almost $50,000 just to do this. As a citizen of this country, it shouldn't have been that hard just to get home.


ANDERSON: Rin is now home, Brooke, after an uprooting more than ten years in Saudi Arabia. The cost of her family's return, as I understand it,

50,000 Australian dollars, some 36,000 U.S. dollars, airlines have been given priority to business class but cancelling economy tickets.

That of course means the most vulnerable and financially disadvantage expats are losing out. Does that story sound familiar to you? That can't be

fair, can it?

SAWARD: I don't think it is fair at all, and in this situation, the only Aussies who are able to come home are those who can afford an airfare of

10,000 Australian dollars or more, not to mention we have a mandatory 3,000 Australian dollars hotel quarantine that every citizen must pay when they

land at home in the country.

So I think it's making it very difficult for vulnerable Australians, and especially people with kids, families, to be able to afford to get home.

ANDERSON: We're up against the back of this show. We thank you for joining us. We wish you the best and we do hope that you can get home soon. As I

understand it, not likely to be with your fiance at this point, which must be upsetting?

But listen, best of luck with this. And just so you know and the rest of our viewers know, we have invited Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other

officials, Australian officials, onto this show.

They have not responded to that request, but the invitation, of course, remains open. Home is where the heart is, eh? So, we wish all of the

Aussies a safe and speedy voyage home as soon as possible. And to everyone, it just goes to show it is people who make the world go round.

We all want to be near and with our friends and family; otherwise we just live a lonely rock, don't we? Be kind, be safe, and wear a mask. Good