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Interview with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis; Interview with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi; Interview with "For All the Black Boys" Playwright Ryan Calais Cameron. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are confident we will get this done. We will get this aid to Ukraine.


AMANPOUR: Time is ticking in Ukraine's desperate fight for survival. Lithuania's foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, joins me from the

United States with an urgent plea for America to do more.

Then, the endless suffering in Gaza and still no more Israeli hostages release. The IDF's deadly raid on Al-Shifa Hospital goes on another day. We

bring you a report.

And --


RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: A nuclear conflict, the logic of it could very easily lead us to total



AMANPOUR: Going nuclear, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, tells Walter Isaacson how he's trying

to keep the world safe from catastrophe.

Plus --


RYAN CALAIS CAMERON, PLAYWRIGHT, "FOR ALL THE BLACK BOYS": What if we could just open it up? What would that look like? What colors and

imaginations and magic would that create?


AMANPOUR: Writer-director Ryan Calais Cameron explores race and masculinity in the play taking London by storm.

Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Supported by a determined set of powerful allies for two full years, the story of Ukraine's desperate struggle for survival now, as it enters its

third year of war imposed by Russia, is a tale of feckless politics, led mostly by the Trump wing of the Republican Party inside the U.S. Congress.

Listen to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Kyiv this week on the prospects of U.S. military aid resuming.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The timing has already taken too long, and I know that and you know that. I'm not going to make

predictions about exactly when this will get done, but we are working to get it done as soon as possible, and President Biden is working this on a

daily basis to try to deliver this package through the House, but I cannot make a specific prediction today.


AMANPOUR: A lot of buts there. While today, shortly after Sullivan left, Kyiv came under heavy missile attack for the first time in six weeks, which

again highlights the dwindling supplies of its anti-missile defenses, and it will get a lot worse if Former President Trump gets back into the Oval

Office. The Hungarian prime minister quoted him saying that he would not give another penny to Ukraine.

So, what about Ukraine's neighbors now? The Baltic State of Lithuania hosts some of the anti-Putin Russian opposition, like Alexei Navalny's former

chief of staff, who was recently attacked by thugs in the capital Vilnius, a chilling sign of Putin's ideas beyond Ukraine.

Gabrielius Landsbergis is Lithuania's foreign minister and one of Ukraine's fiercest allies. He is currently in the United States to drum up urgent

support. Foreign minister, welcome back to our program.

So, you have repeatedly chastised western allies for essentially doing too little too late for Kyiv. Are you getting your message through now to your

interlocutors in the United States?

GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, this is not the first time that I'm in Washington, actually, with the rather same message.

And the story that we are telling is the story of heroism that everybody can see in Ukraine, but also a possible story of western failure, of our

inability to help Ukraine enough so that it can win this war.

And this is a very horrible story, and it's a horrible story not just to Ukraine. It's a very sad story also to the neighbors. It's also a very sad

and horrible story to Lithuania, where we've seen Russia encroaching, where we've seen Russia winning wars in the past, and where we see countries

losing their independence to Russia.

And I think that this story needs to be reminded as to what will happen if Ukraine is unable to sustain the war effort.

AMANPOUR: And what will happen if Putin wins is the other side of the coin that you're saying. So, you know, Foreign Minister, that some of the allies

in NATO say, oh, the Baltics are screaming about, you about, you know, the sky is falling, the sky is falling, and we don't see necessarily war

imminent now.


In fact, let me just read you what's going on at the current summit. You've got Josep Borrell, high representative of the E.U. for foreign affairs,

today saying, the calls for European leaders to be aware of the challenges they are facing are good, but we don't have to exaggerate either. War is

not imminent.

While just days ago, Charles Michel of the European Council says, we're facing the biggest security threats since the Second World War, it's high

time we take radical and concrete steps to defense-ready, and put the E.U.'s economy on a war footing.

So, these are two very conflicting and contrasting views of the Russian threat. Where -- how do you get people to concentrate if it's like this


LANDSBERGIS: Yes, it's a very difficult debate, honestly. And, you know, we've been in that debate for as long as I can remember, specifically since

2014, where after the, you know, Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 agreements have been signed and a ceasefire was achieved, we've been telling to everybody that

was willing to listen that Russia is not going to stop. We have not seen the last of them.

And, you know, the story was the same. You know, we were told that, look, you have to come down, you have your history behind you. We can argue with

Russians, and we have this agreement in place.

When the war broke out again in 2022, you know, there were people coming out and saying, look, Baltics were right. And now, you would hear Baltics

saying exactly the same thing, Putin is not about to stop.

Today, we're hearing a message from Putin's officials who are saying that they are going to recreate their army, basically, possibly mobilizing

additionally up to 500,000 troops, additionally what they currently have. They already have one-third more than they had before the start of the war

in 2022. Now, they're planning additionally to mobilize. What would they need it for? I mean, the question is real, it's actual, and we have to get


So, honestly, what we need right now is not coming down. We need mobilization. I'm not speaking about mobilization of truth, but political

mobilization to send a very clear signal to Putin that we're able, capable, and getting ready.

AMANPOUR: So, I want to know from your perspective, because you do have a much different perspective being banged up against Russia, sharing a 160

mile or kilometer border, whatever, it's long. It's a lot closer to Russia than the United States is.

As you know, the Blinken -- I'm sorry, the Biden administration has essentially telegraphed that it doesn't want to start "World War III with

Russia." And you've heard people complain that that is part of the slow walking of the delivery of aid, even in the last two years of military aid,

just enough to let Ukraine survive, not enough to let it win or sucker punch Russia back.

It is about politics, right? I mean, it's about politics.

LANDSBERGIS: It's always about politics. It -- you know, everything and -- I think that what Putin might be counting on is a lack of political

decisions. You know, he knows that he has no chance winning against the combined might of NATO. I think that he clearly knows that. But he might be

betting on that we're just too slow with political decisions. He bets on politics.

And then -- and this is the problem. And when it comes to, you know, avoiding World War III, definitely nobody wants war. I have not yet seen a

person, you know, in western world, wherever I travel who would say look, you know, the war would be a good thing. That's a complete nonsense.

But as the saying goes, you know, we -- you might not be interested in war, but war might be interested in you. And the whole -- the de-escalatory

politics that we have, you know, showing it might be read as weakness by Putin. We're not ready. We cannot make an agreement. You know, we're just

stuck and -- you know, in a ditch somewhere, you know, politically either in Brussels, in Washington, somewhere else, you know, we cannot make up our

minds how to defend Ukraine.

And I'm quite sure that for Putin it reads as an invitation to go further. And this is what he's betting on, that we would be indecisive.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, of course nobody wants war --

LANDSBERGIS: And honestly, I mean, I will add -- I would add to this.


LANDSBERGIS: I would add to this. Just one point. That it's not just Putin who is saying that -- who would be thinking like that. Any other dictator

in the world who has a territorial ambition, you know, to -- for a land grab or, you know, seizing and island here or there, you know, they would

exactly think the same thing. They are looking at the lessons that they can take from us now.

AMANPOUR: My question to you before, previously, was more in the vein that Putin is dangling the nuclear threat in order to scare the west and the

west appears to be somewhat scared of it. I guess rightly so, but it hasn't happened in the last two years, in any event.


It has been said to me many times that Ukraine could win easily because it has been really doing well with the amount of weapons that it has being

given. It will win or lose based on the political decisions mostly in the United States.

So, you will not just, I presume, be talking to the converted, right, to the -- to secretary of state, et cetera. Will you be talking to Republicans

in Congress?

LANDSBERGIS: Well, I will be talking to anybody can I -- who will be willing to listen, that means both sides of the aisle. You know, telling

the story that we started with, you know, telling the stories of Lithuania's independence. You know, how did it happen that we're

independent? How did it happened that, for 30 more years, we've been safe and secure under Article 5. And what it means for Ukraine to be outside of

that security area, and what is means to feel Putin encroaching and what it means to feel, you know, the whole -- possibly the whole world security

order unraveling, you know, before our eyes.

I mean, this is really a story that I think that the country is just, from the front line, that they can tell this story. And Ukrainians are telling

the story, you know, very vividly, where they're -- you know, every day by fighting, but they are just too busy defending their lives and too busy

defending their country, you know, to be here to tell the story every day. So, this is where we try to help them and help us as well.

AMANPOUR: So, you and the Baltics are saying, and I know the prime minister of Estonia said today, I think, that if only every NATO ally would

give 0.25 percent of their defense budget or their GDP to supporting Ukraine, it would win and all the weapons would be necessary. What do you

think it needs right now, Ukraine?

LANDSBERGIS: Well, first of all, today it needs ammunition, direly, and everything depends on it right now. Therefore, the Czech initiative that

was just announced, I think it's a great example of that, that we still have not done everything that we could.

And Lithuania is joining the Czech initiative with EUR35 million, so that we would provide financing to Czech Republic so that they would be able to

purchase and deliver the ammunition to Ukraine. And now, any country that has a possibility to get their hands on ammunition that Ukraine requires

should be doing just that.

And if it boils down to money, I mean, even my country, we can chip in. And I'm sure that others can do their part as well. We still have not exhausted

all the resources that we have.

AMANPOUR: This is the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, today talking about Russian frozen assets heads and how it -- those could play a role as well.

Just take a listen.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The use of windfall profits from Russia's frozen assets is about the proceeds that can be used,

which no one is entitled to, and can therefore be use by the European Union. And in my view, they should first and foremost be to acquire the

weapons and ammunition that Ukraine needs for its defense.


AMANPOUR: Do you agree and would it make a difference?

LANDSBERGIS: Of course. Of course. I mean, you know, it's a good argument for the people in the countries who are supporting Ukraine, that we are

also using not just our taxpayer money, you know, being able to explain why we're doing this, but we also are using the money that -- you know, Russian

money. You know, kind of to send the money, you know, transfer it, you know, make it into ammunition, make it in to the weapons and send it to

Ukraine. It's only logical. So, I fully support Chancellor Scholz's idea in this point.

And look, I mean, at this stage, we really need the ideas out of the box. You now, we've -- for two years we've been drawing red lines to ourselves.

We've being saying what we cannot do and explaining the reasons why we can't do that. Now, we have to change that if we want Ukraine to win and

Russia to lose this war.

We have to really, you know, be creative and such as an idea suggested by President Macron of France where he suggested that, you know, we cannot

exclude even sending boots on the ground to Ukraine if the situation gets worse. And I think this is the type of thinking that should be seen more

right now.

AMANPOUR: Gosh. You're doubling down on that. Of course, the United States has said no, no, no. No boots on the ground. But we'll see how that


Very quickly. Obviously, there is another terrible war that actually is also not just awful, but also sucking a lot of the attention away from

Ukraine, and that's the one between Israel and Gaza. E.U. leaders are discussing that.

What does Lithuania want to see come out of this summit when it comes to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, it's the idea of a ceasefire, to also get

the hostages, the Israeli hostages out?


LANDSBERGIS: Well, I would really like to see a unified European position. We have not been able to formulate that position because the position of

certain countries, you know, from one side to another side were just too wide apart. And, you know, we were trying to bridge it. You know, we were

try to figure out the way forward. Unfortunately, we're not there yet, you know.

And it's quite clear. You know, we had to tell that the hostages have to be released. That's -- you know, it's a paramount to the safety of Israel. And

yes, we have to ask for at least a temporary ceasefire, especially where -- when the situation -- the humanitarian situation gets as bad as it is right


AMANPOUR: And it --

LANDSBERGIS: But this is not the position of -- not the united position of the European Union, unfortunately.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Foreign Minister Landsbergis, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

And now, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Egypt today. While he says negotiations to secure that ceasefire deal in Gaza are

getting closer, a diplomat who's been briefed on this matter tells CNN a lot of differences remain.

And Benjamin Netanyahu insists his military will go on the offensive in Rafah. Death and despair are everywhere in the Gaza with no end in sight.

Israel's raid of Al-Shifa Hospital is now in its fourth day. Correspondent Nada Bashir has this report. And a warning, of course, viewers will find

some of the images distressing.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I only left to find flour, to find food, this woman screams. Where are they her? Husband children and

other relatives are nowhere to be found. Their home destroyed in an Israeli airstrike while she was gone.

Moments later, her nephew is pulled from the rubble. But he is barely clinging on to life.

In Central Gaza, as bombs continue to rain down so do these foreboding leaflets. A warning from the Israeli military for civilians to flee

southwards directed at those living in the Al-Rimal neighborhood and the thousands currently sheltering in the nearby Al-Shifa Hospital complex.

This was the scene at the beleaguered medical complex on Monday. The alarming sound of artillery fire echoing through the early hours of the


Nobody has been able to reach those injured or killed at Al-Shifa, this eyewitness says, filming discreetly.

Some 3,000 people are believed to have been sheltering in and around the hospital when the raid began, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israeli military vehicles seen here in video filmed by a doctor in the hospital have surrounded the complex for days. On Tuesday, one civilian

trapped inside sent CNN this audio recording.

The hospital is still under bombardment. There has been heavy shelling and live fire, Lamya says. One man was just looking out of the window on the

second floor when he was hit by sniper and killed.

The Israeli military says it is conducting what it has described as a precise military operation targeting senior Hamas militants operating

within the hospital complex.

Israeli Military spokesman Daniel Hagari accused Hamas on Monday of using the hospital as command center. It is the very same claim made by the IDF

ahead of its raid on Al-Shifa back in November.

On Monday, the IDF released this video showing a safe full of cash, an envelope with Hamas and Islamic jihad insignia and a series of weapons,

presented as evidence to justify its raid on the hospital.

But much like the IDF raid in November, little other evidence was provided to prove the presence of a Hamas command center at the Al-Shifa Hospital.

Hamas' military wing, meanwhile, has acknowledged that its fighters have been engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli troops in the area surrounding

the hospital. Adding that Gaza's civil police chief, Fayek al-Mabhouh, who led the coordination of food and aid deliveries to the Strip, was killed

during the raid.

In a statement, the IDF said Wednesday that approximately 90 "terrorists" were killed, including al-Mabhouh. The IDF also maintained that no harm had

been inflicted on civilians or medical staff in the hospital. But testimonies from Palestinians inside Al-Shifa tell a very different story.

We were informed by the Israelis that anyone moving within the hospital or around the hospital complex would be targeted by snipers, this medical

student says. We can't leave the building to treat those injured outside. Some families attempted to leave, but they were targeted and killed.


Those who have been able to leave Central Gaza are now forced to make the uncertain journey south, with no guarantee of protection or survival.

Stripped to their underwear and barefoot, these young boys say they are thankful just to have escaped with their lives. Recounting their harrowing

experience, they say they were met with Israeli tanks and forced into an open square where they were interrogated and ordered to undress. Other men

around them, they say, were killed.

Many evacuees have been badly wounded. Limp, bloodied bodies are carried by cart. But there is little care available in the south anymore. And there is

no telling whether these men, like so many others, will survive.


AMANPOUR: Now, earlier this week, we aired a report by our colleague Jeremy Diamond about a group of cancer patients and pregnant women who had

been transported before the war to East Jerusalem from Gaza for critical medical care. After their care was completed, they faced deportation with

their babies back to the war zone.

Today, though, the Israeli government is delaying that deportation following a temporary injunction by the Supreme Court. This followed an

appeal by Israeli human rights organizations who have seen Diamond's report on CNN.

We turn now to Brussels, where world leaders are gathered for the first ever nuclear energy summit. It aims to highlight the power of nuclear

energy in tackling the climate crisis and enhancing energy security. Our next guest, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency,

Rafael Grossi, co-chaired the event, which is more urgent than ever given the wars and tensions that are happening around the world, such as Putin's

invasion of Ukraine, and willingness to conduct military operations that threaten the massive nuclear power plants there.

Just before the summit, Walter Isaacson spoke to Rafael Grossi about these serious safety concerns.


WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And, Rafael Grossi, welcome back to the show.


ISAACSON: You recently met with Russian President Putin about this Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. It's one -- it's the largest,

I think, in Europe, and Russia controls it. What were your concerns and what did President Putin say to you?

GROSSI: Well, you know, this is part of my efforts, ongoing efforts in fact, since the plant was, you know -- it came under the control of the

Russian Federation. So, we have been working there. We have -- I have established a permanent presence, the IAEA there. And as part of that

consultation, we need to have, I was in Kyiv as well. I met with President Zelenskyy. And then, of course, I needed to go to the other side.

And, you know, we discussed a number of things. We discussed some technical issues. You know, as you said, this is the largest, the biggest nuclear

power plant in Europe. Six big reactors, six gigawatts of installed capacity there, and many, of course, open questions because we should never

forget that this installation, this facility is exactly on the front line of the world.

So, it's not in the vicinity or somewhere here or just in occupied territories on the front line. It's quite dramatic in that sense. So, we've

had in the past situations of sharing at the plant. We've had several blackouts and a blackout in nuclear power plants, you know, is very

dangerous because this would (INAUDIBLE) a cooling function, thereby potentially leading to a nuclear accident.

So, there are many, many issues that we needed to discuss. And you're referring to my last trip to Sochi, in fact, in South Russia, where we had

a long conversation with President Putin. And I could pass a number of messages, things that we believe that the -- that should be done there, and

also look into the wider perspective of the plant, the situation of the plant, and other efforts to bring the situations to a more stable phase.

ISAACSON: So, you were in Sochi with President Putin, sitting with him for a while. Tell me what was that like and what else did he discuss? What did

you make of what is his mindset now?


GROSSI: Well, I must say it's not my first time with him. Since the war started, I was -- I had -- a year ago, more or less, another long meeting

in St. Petersburg. And these meetings, I'm going to say, objectively speaking, are very professional, very (INAUDIBLE).

He has a very, you know, good understanding of nuclear technology. So, it is possible to have a very, very focused conversation of specific issues

related to the functioning of the plant, and also some others that are of a more general nature related this situation there, the military situation

around the plant and so on. So, you also -- I would say, yes, it was a very, very pointed and very meticulous technical conversation.

ISAACSON: You say he's very good at the technicalities of understanding the nuclear plant. How convinced are you that he would absolutely want to

make sure there was no big accident at that plant or any of the others in Ukraine?

GROSSI: Well, you know, it's a bit of a speculation, isn't it? But I -- for me, one very basic, even one could say, common sense rule tells us that

a nuclear accident there would benefit no one. Ukraine, Russia, or the rest of Europe.

So, it is -- in this sense for me, for my job, it is easier to convince the leaders to do certain things or not to other things in order to avoid

situations that could scale up to some confrontation around the plant, which would be, of course, extremely dangerous.

ISAACSON: A year ago, when you were talking to Christiane Amanpour on this show, you talked about trying to establish a zone of protection around the

plant. How's that going?

GROSSI: Well, that approach changed. I went to the United Nations Security Council a few months ago, and instead of trying to establish at the

limitation with a territorial connotation, we moved into a behavioral sort of thing. Basically, in plain English, don't do this, do that, which is

something that can be easily understood by everybody at a time where the Security Council is a place where agreements are almost impossible to get.

I got widespread, if not absolute support for this, which was not a proposal by the Russians or from the Ukrainians, it was something that the

DG (ph) of the IAEA was saying, this is what we need to do now, if we want to avoid a nuclear accident.

So, it's a very clear set of criteria that need to be observed. And this -- I mean, this was what we had considered initially as a zone sanctuary, if

you want, around the plant of bubble. This, as I was saying, at the front lines of a war, it's very, very difficult to obtain. Military commanders on

one hand, on the one side of the other, will be very -- you know, it will be very difficult to convince them to -- not to operate there, to move

there, to do certain things.

So, I shifted my approach into certain things that needed to be avoided at all costs. And of course, I don't want to jinx it, but so far, we have been

able to avoid the risk.

Naturally, and I want to say this, you know, very clearly, until we come to the end of this story, without a nuclear accident, I will never say that

things are OK or stable or whatever, because they are simply not. And it's a day-by-day effort that we go through.

ISAACSON: You say things that are not totally stable, that there's always some worry. What's your biggest worry?

GROSSI: Well, I have two, basically. One is, of course, the possibility that there are always some episodes of a shelling of something. Now, we

have the appearance of the drones, and some drones are loaded with explosives. So, that is another threat that we are seeing. That is one.

And the other, as I mentioned a minute ago, is the blackout. So, the possibility that the station is without any power, any external power

supply for a long period of time, then the emergency generators ran out of fuel, and then you have a meltdown. So, that -- those scenarios are not

impossible, and this is what we need to avoid.


And this why we have our team there, team of experts who is there, who's living there informing us, by the minute, what is the situation. You may

have noticed that, from Zaporizhzhia, you very rarely get fake stories or strange stories, and it's because the IAEA is there. So, we can say exactly

what is happening. If somebody says, we are being attacked or whatever, or the contrary, fire is coming from the station, I have my guys there.

So, they are telling me exactly what's going on, what was going on on more technical aspects that would be perhaps a little bit boring to describe

here. But anyway, the important thing is that the IAEA is there, we're not going anywhere until this comes to a better place.

ISAACSON: You say that experts from your agency are there. I think you've done a couple of rotations in the plant. What do you do when you're there?

What's it like?

GROSSI: Well, there, normally what we do is -- when I personally go there, people there, they have a (INAUDIBLE) team. They go to, you know, a nuclear

power plant, especially one with six reactors. It's a huge site, very, very big site, where there are many safety functions that we need to check that

are being performed well. We need check the water levels of the cooling function. We need to go to the control rooms and see how this is going. So,

we have like a checklist, if you want, that you have go through every day.

When I go, of course, I have the opportunity to meet with the management and then we can raise more general issues as well.

ISAACSON: President Putin has threatened or hinted that he might actually use nuclear weapons or tactical battlefield nuclear weapon in this war,

especially, I would guess, if the red lines like Crimea were attacked. How likely is it and what would trigger that, do you think?

GROSSI: Well, you know that the use of nuclear weapons by the five countries that are legitimate processors of weapons, basically the five

permanent members of the Security Council, including the United States, according to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Hese

countries have these nuclear weapons.

And what these countries normally have is set doctrine, certain principles, scenarios, according to which they would resort to using nuclear weapons.

Normally, they are not so dissimilar, I would say, and normally, they are associated with the obvious things, you know, being attacked with nuclear

weapons, or in a more, I would say, general sense being under an existential threat that would make the possessor of a nuclear weapon use


So, this is the situation, this valid, this has been reiterated by all. At the same time, I wish to remind that these same countries said and repeated

that famous old formula that I think was uttered by Secretary General Gorbachev and President Reagan that a nuclear war can never be won and must

never be fought.

So, if you unleash a nuclear conflict, the logic of it could very easily lead us to total destruction. So, my impression is that there would be

restraint. Of course, there are some statements which are regrettable. I would not get into that, of course. Let's get up an international

organization. But what I'm giving you is the parameters, the parameters that do exist and that we hope will be respected.

ISAACSON: When you talk about those parameters, you just said something which is, if the country faces an existential threat, meaning a threat to

its existence, do you think Crimea is an existential issue for Russia?

GROSSI: I wouldn't go into that. First of all, Crimea, is an occupied territory, of course, according to international law. So, frankly speaking,

for me to indicate what could be the point where Russia would resort to nuclear weapons would be important.

I would simply say nuclear weapon have no place in general. But in particular, in this conflict, I don't see them being used. I hope this will

be case.

ISAACSON: President Putin has said that he's pulling out of the New START treaty, which is a long-standing strategic arms treaty on nuclear weapons

between East and West. What do you think the implications of that are, and is there any way to prevent that?


GROSSI: Well, I think the implications of that is that the arms control, as opposed to disarmament, the arms control structures that prevail between

-- you said the West, I would say the United States and the Russian Federation are being eroded, and the processes that led to this dialogue

that existed and the control reductions in those arsenals, which reached in the 1970s and the 1980s in critical proportions, will cease to be reduced,

which is not, of course, a good thing.

I think, in general, what we can say is that as soon as possible there should be a return to this dialogue, and that this form could be the start,

the New START, or any kind of agreement that may exist, but it is clear that the number of nuclear weapons must be reduced and ultimately

eliminated completely, but we know that it is not for tomorrow.

ISAACSON: For the past 50 years, this whole notion of having a nuclear arms negotiation process, whether it was START or SALT or the Intermediate

Nuclear Weapons Force treaties, it wasn't just about the outcome of those treaties, it was a process where the sides sat down and tried to negotiate

nuclear arms. Now, we don't have this process.

Is there any way you think we can restart at least negotiations about nuclear arms, just for the sake of having these conversations again?

GROSSI: Well, it's an excellent point, I think that the contacts and dialogue are indispensable. Look at -- I mean, narrowing, if you allow me,

the spectrum to what we are doing. At the moment, as the IAEA, we are the only conduit for some type of conversation between Kyiv and Moscow.

So, because there's no direct conversation. There was some in the beginning of the war, in early -- the spring of 2022, then thereafter, no process

took place. And what we are seeing now, again, at the level of the superpowers, is following that logic of talking past each other, and

sometimes in an increasingly alarming talk. So, the -- there is a need, of course, always for diplomacy.

ISAACSON: There was a senior official in President Biden's administration who recently said that right now is when the nuclear risk is most at the

forefront. Do you agree with that? And if so, why?

GROSSI: Well, I think what we have been discussing here would be a confirmation of the general validity of that assertion. We are in a world

where dialogue among the superpowers is broken down. We see more nuclear weapons, more nuclear weapons being produced. We have a direct

confrontation, war at the heart of Europe. We also see and hear than closer to my own mission, which is non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

We see countries toying, playing with the idea of developing their own nuclear weapons on top of the nuclear weapons we already have. So, the

configuration is extremely concerning for us. Of course, we -- from our perspective, of course, I cannot talk about things that are, you know,

beyond my mandate. But on our side and the area of preventing proliferation, you know, weapons we are extremely active. I have just

returned from a tour in the Middle East. I was in Baghdad. I was in Syria. I have an open process with Iran, as you may know.

So, we are trying to reinforce the norms of non-proliferation wherever we can so that the landscape doesn't get any bleaker than it already is.

ISAACSON: Rafael Grossi, thank you so much for joining us.

GROSSI: It's been a great pleasure. Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And next to the West End, where a hit play is taking London's theater world by storm. It's "For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide

When the Hue Gets Too Heavy."


The play follows six young black men meeting in group therapy, making for a very powerful exploration of race, masculinity, and mental health. It's the

creation of playwright Ryan Calais Cameron. And I recently sat down with him on stage at the Garrick Theater to discuss this breakout hit.


AMANPOUR: Ryan Calais Cameron, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: I want to first read the very interesting name of this play.


AMANPOUR: For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy." It's such a dramatic, evocative title.


AMANPOUR: How did you come up with it?

CAMERON: Well, we're talking about over a decade ago now I came across. I was looking -- I was a drama student. I was looking for material that kind

of spoke to me in a kind way in terms of type of art I wanted to make. And I come across Ntozake Shange, "For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide

When the Rainbow is Enuf."

AMANPOUR: That's American.

CAMERON: That is American, yes, yes, yes. She put that on -- in the 1970s in New York, and I'd never heard of her at that time and I was so inspired

by the text and by how it made young black women feel, you know, I felt like they could identify themselves in this. And I was like you, know what,

as an artist, this is such a good springboard. You know, and it took me a decade to be able to write anything that could even, you know, be in the

same kind of space as that. But it inspired me to go. There are stories out there that need to be told for people that look like me.

AMANPOUR: And what about the people who look like you, who are the protagonists of your play?

CAMERON: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: What does this incredible looking theater, this set say, about how they're behaving in this space?

CAMERON: Yes. I mean, this, what we have right here, is the second act where the young men actually get to really express themselves. And the

whole point of it is like, what would happen if young men have been conditioned by society to be lesser than themselves to be almost like half

a man, you know, not being able to cry or open up or to speak about your feelings or emotions? What if we could just open it up? What would that

look like? What colors and imaginations and magic would that create? And that's what Act 2 really shows us, you know. When these guys really get

into it, they really do get into.

AMANPOUR: And I guess, you know, the follow-up would be, so what is it about black boys that you think needs to be told that they can't express

themselves like maybe white boys?

CAMERON: Well, I think the biggest issue is about what men should be, right, and how society has kind of -- for hundreds of years, put men into a

position of, you know, brawn and being stoic and not being able to express yourself through anything, through song, through dance, you know. And then,

you can double triple that when you add black men to it.

You know, and this image that -- this narrative that society and media and art gives of what a black man should be, you know. And I think as young

black men, we consume that. And we go, OK, well, I need to be this image of blackness, otherwise I'm not black enough. right?

So, then I put six young, authentic, different young black boys on stage to be like, no, whoever you are, you were enough.


CROWD: And this is for black boys who are considered suicide, but decided that our stories must be told and our joys were ever rising.


AMANPOUR: So, what are the six stages of being a black youth?

CAMERON: So, I've written monologues, but what happens is every single time we cast and recast this show, I get young black men to come and to go

and I go to them, which one of these monologue appeal to you?

So, every single time we do the show these characters feel different, you know. And because I can't define what six versions of blackness is, I've

just made distinctively different monologues, you know. But every time we get these young men to pour into it and to actually show how they are

different, you know. So, every time -- we've done this four times now and every single one of them has been different.

AMANPOUR: When you say four times, it's four productions --

CAMERON: Four productions.

AMANPOUR: -- across London, which have gone from small to now on the West End again.

CAMERON: Yes, we went from 80 seats in New Diorama to 900 in the Apollo and again, here in the Garrick. So, it's been crazy, right?

AMANPOUR: In a minute, I'm going to get to audience reaction, but I want to ask you first the origin story, so to speak. I've read that you were on

the tube, Trayvon Martin had been killed in that horrible stand your ground incident in United States, and you heard people talking about that, and

about Trayvon.


AMANPOUR: What did you hear?

CAMERON: Well, that was a discussion where it was -- what was being said was he was a young black boy on a hood. You know, what do you expect?

AMANPOUR: In a hoodie?

CAMERON: In a hoodie. What do expect? And I remember the time thinking, well, I'm a young black boy and I wear a hoodie and am a father of young

black boys. Is that an excuse? You know, is there a reason to, you know, take away our livelihood or to look at us as lesser than a human being?

And, I think at that time, I had this idea with this play swelling in my head, but that was a major catalyst for me to go, OK, I need to start

really putting pen to paper now because this place felt urgent in that moment.

AMANPOUR: I wonder what you felt in that moment, apart from just shocked that people would say that. But were you angry? Because I heard it was like

-- for you, it was like, you know, either you're going to react by punching them. The pen or the sword?


CAMERON: Yes. I mean, for me it was a disappointment, but I suppose in my heart it was something that I already knew. You know, I think at that point

in my life I did feel like a second or third-class citizen. I did feel like I didn't have an opportunity to be able to express myself in a way that I

really wanted to. So, it was a mixture of all of those things that made me go home that night and go, OK, I really need to put this into part right


AMANPOUR: Yes. I want to ask you about a couple of the characters. One character feels that he isn't black enough and he says, I thought I needed

to black up. What does that mean to you?

CAMERON: Oh, 100 percent. I think this is what I was talking about earlier in terms of if you are fed a narrative of what a black man is supposed to

be and that narrative comes at you every single year for your whole entire life, then at some point you go, if I don't fit into that box, then I'm not

black, right?

And you have this huge identity crisis. It could be as early as nine or eight years old where you go, I don't know where I fit in then. I just

don't know. And it's like I feel like as a culture and as a society, we need to address that in young people. You know, that -- I don't think we

think that somebody that age can actually be having a massive meltdown and crisis. But that's what my character is speaking about in that moment. He's

going, I've seen these distinct depictions of blackness that none of them add up to the person that I am or what I want to be. Am I not black? You

know, am I not black then?

AMANPOUR: And there's another character. So many black boys are actually nerdy.


AMANPOUR: I think you went to engineering school.

CAMERON: Exactly. And I think it's one of the same thing in terms of, you know, there are -- you can be the biggest nerd in the world and still

authentically black, right? But if there's no depictions of that, then as a young boy, trying to discover themselves through art or culture or the news

or anything, where do you go to? Do you know what I mean? You just continually think like you're not enough.

So, I was like, OK, cool. How many characters can they give me? Because I want to express as much as possible within two hours.

AMANPOUR: And what about parenthood, do you explore?

CAMERON: I think there's a lot of narratives that speak about absent, absent fatherhood, And I feel like that's something that's kind of been

done and done and done again. And I actually wanted to talk about, well, what happens if fathers are actually in the house, you know? And what

happens if fathers that haven't had fathers?


CAMERON: You know, that in itself is quite difficult. And I wanted to really look at the nuances of fatherhood that I've never really seen

depicted before and how certain parents can get it wrong. Do you know what I mean? Even when they're trying to get it right. And how that could lead

to somebody or a young a having to doubt himself in that process also. So, that was what I'm trying to do this place, have that big negotiation.

AMANPOUR: And what about you? Because you have four young kids with your wife.

CAMERON: I have four young kids. Yes, yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: And how is parenthood in this world?

CAMERON: It's difficult. I think it's just difficult as any parent anywhere right now. We're going through some difficult times. You know, and

I've got four young boys and I think, you know, their journey and their life is very different than -- you know, they grow up in a different area

than I grew up. Their school is different than the kind of school that I went to.

So, I think, for me, is trying to make sure that I give them enough of the -- you know, the roughness without actually having to, you know. So, yes, I

think every day, me and my wife will say, every day as it comes, you know, we're learning.

AMANPOUR: You were one of five siblings and you speak a lot about how your mother, I think, mostly, was there for you. How much of an impact and what

kind of an impact did that have on you and your family?

CAMERON: Huge. I think for the majority of my life, my mom has been my best friend, the closest person to me. And I think it was really

interesting, you know, she was the matriarch in the house, but I think for her, especially where I grew up, it was quite a dangerous time. And, you

know, I felt a lot of the time that almost suffocated.

And I think now as a parent, I can understand where she was coming from and the kind of things that she could see that I couldn't see. And essentially,

you know, as far as she was concerned, her job was to make sure that we were fed, that we wear clothes, and that we had an education, you know, and

she excelled.

And I feel like the kind of stuff that she had to go through, you know, as a mother, as somebody who was working two jobs to feed us, allowed me and

my siblings to be able to now go and have the careers that we are having. So, yes, that's my mom.

AMANPOUR: But what have you heard from audiences and what's been the makeup of the audiences?

CAMERON: You know, there's nights where it is almost like a concert in here, it's electric. And there's a certain beauty to witnessing audiences

witness their life experiences on a stage, you know, and having a whole entire evening that's catered for them.

From the moment that you come in and you have -- all the music is by young black artists. And you come in on the stage and you just go, wow, this is

unlike any western experience ever. You know, I grew up in a space where, even if I went to take my phone out, someone would be like, shh, be quiet.

You know, where you come in here and everyone is like, oh, laughing on the floor, rolling around, it is crazy.

AMANPOUR: So, that's encouraged. Yes, I remember that at the Royal Court, too.


CAMERON: You know?


CAMERON: And I feel like that is the kind of space that I want to watch theater in. You know, you come out and you spend your money, have a good

time. And I make up of the audiences. When we were at New Diorama, you know, it was mostly, I would say about maybe 90, 95 percent black

audiences, who were like, we want this show. We don't even care about the reviews. We want to come and see it, right.

And as the show's grown, it now has an audience from all walks of life that are kind of like, OK, yes, it's for black boys, but we also want to see

what we can get from it and what we -- we also want to come in and see this piece of art that everybody's speaking about.

AMANPOUR: The government itself is not doing what it used to do, which is really pour money into the art. And we can see that some of the big plays

on the West End are movie star plays, right?

CAMERON: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: So, they bring in huge actors and actresses.


AMANPOUR: Here you have people who are unknown. And it's a massive hit. And you're filling the seats.

CAMERON: Yes. I think the lack of resources is hitting everybody terribly, especially the subsidized theater, where I'm seeing theaters literally

crumble. You know, In certain parts of the country, their whole entire funding is being cut, you know. So, it is a time where, as a community, we

are all trying to gather around and help and support one another.

And I think in terms of the West End, I mean, it's commercial theater. You know, getting big stars is part of the history and the blood of what

commercial theater is. And it's a testament to Nica Burns and to Nimax that, you know, they really took a punt on us.

You know, when I first had conversations with a lot of producers, it was about, would you want to recast and get some big names? And I'm like,

there's something about this play that is authentic and raw, you know? And it's a lived experience. And I was like, no. And I really, really fought to

have these young men in it. And Nico was like, yes, we're going to do it. Let's see what happens.

AMANPOUR: And that's a producer?

CAMERON: That's the producer of this play. And now, we're in a position where it makes sense. But back then, it doesn't.

AMANPOUR: And what about the young men? Are they long-term actors or -- and what has it done for them?

CAMERON: Oh, man. So, we've had -- this is our second -- we're going to our second cast now. But first the first cast were -- when I met one of

them, they were working in another play in another theater as an usher.

AMANPOUR: As an usher?

CAMERON: As an usher. One of them was a painter. Two of them had just finished school. One of them had given up acting. You know, and this time

around, we've got one of the young men, Shaquille, who was an usher on "For Black Boys" last year.

AMANPOUR: Wow. So, how do you recruit them then? How do you find them? How do you cast them?

CAMERON: Oh, it's an open call.


CAMERON: We have a really great casting director, but it's also a case of I don't want to -- if you are young and you are black, you should have an

opportunity to be able to be a part of this because this is your story essentially.

AMANPOUR: And do they want to stay in it?

CAMERON: Oh, man.

AMANPOUR: In acting? Theater?

CAMERON: Oh, 100 percent.

AMANPOUR: Yes, yes.

CAMERON: 100 percent. Now, you know, they're western stars.

AMANPOUR: Yes. But their heads are still on their shoulders?

CAMERON: That's my job.

AMANPOUR: That's your job.

CAMERON: I make sure I keep them grounded.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about something also, "Retrograde."


AMANPOUR: About Sidney Poitier and the Civil Rights Movement.

CAMERON: Yes. So, that was on at the Kiln last year and that was reviewed very highly, incredible performances, and it came out around the same time

as "For Black Boys." So, it was a real moment for me of having these two big plays on in the West End. It was life-changing.

AMANPOUR: Tell me about Sidney Poitier and civil rights. This is very American.

CAMERON: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: What talks to you as a Brit?

CAMERON: Do you know what? I'm interested in anything that I don't know anything about. You know, and I remember --

AMANPOUR: But you do know about civil rights?

CAMERON: I do, I do. But then I didn't know a lot about McCarthyism, right, and that kind of culture where people were literally having their

careers ended like that, and I was like, OK, there's some similarities with that and what's happening right now. And then you have this character or

this human being of Sidney Poitier who, in the midst of all of this, is standing there and going, I have to make a decision about my integrity or

whether I'm going to get further along in my career, and I've got to make this right now.

And I said -- and I read this in an article which was just about how great Sidney was, and I was like, hold on one second, this is a drama right now,

this is a thriller, literally about five lines of text, and I was like, let me see what I can do here.

I think the difference in two plays for me was "For Black Boys" is the lived experience. At the time I wrote "Retrograde," I'd never even been to

New York, you know. So, it was about doing -- I did a year and a half of research. Every single day going, OK, I can't afford to get a single thing

wrong about this because this is somebody else's lived experience, right? So, yes. I was so nervous putting that play on.

AMANPOUR: Well, I hope you see it because I missed it at the Kiln.


AMANPOUR: "Black Boys," are you taking it to the United States, Broadway?

CAMERON: Let's see, let's see. Yes, yes, yes. Call me, whoever in the camera, call me.

AMANPOUR: Ryan Calais Cameron, thank you for being with us.

CAMERON: Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: "Black Boys" is an amazing experience. And here in London, due to popular demand, its run has been extended for an extra month until June


And finally, tonight, an inspiring immigrant story, as we celebrate the life of Martin Greenfield, who was considered America's greatest

gentleman's tailor.


Greenfield was sent to Auschwitz as a teenager where his family was killed. He learned to sew there and credits those skills with saving his life. When

he reached America, Greenfield went on to dress many presidents, movie stars, and athletes from his shop in Brooklyn.


MARTIN GREENFIELD, MEN'S TAILOR: The first suit going back to Eisenhower, Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg, Ed Koch. The best dressed people are dressed by



AMANPOUR: And an amazing twist of history, years before Greenfield dressed President Eisenhower, he first actually saw General Eisenhower touring a

liberated Auschwitz in 1945.

Martin Greenfields died on Wednesday on Long Island. He was 95.

And that's it for now. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.