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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

E.U. Sanctions Belarus; U.S.-China Virtual Summit; Space Debris Concerns. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 15, 2021 - 17:00   ET


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: You've been watching closing arguments in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in the United States.


We'll keep an eye on developments there.

THE GLOBAL BRIEF starts right now.


NOBILO: Hello, and welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

Tonight, Belarus is not a pathway to the European Union. That's the message from the bloc today as more sanctions are imposed.

Then, President Biden and President Xi are meeting very soon. We take a look at what both parties want to achieve from the U.S./China talks.

Plus, a rare and potentially dangerous debris-generating event has just taken place in space. What we know so far, ahead.

More new sanctions are weighing on Belarus from the European Union as well as newly announced follow-ups that comes from the United States. While the

diplomatic sparks are flying, thousands of migrants remain stranded in a freezing no man's land between Belarus and its western neighbors, primarily


The humanitarian crisis has leaders on every side of the standoff are cranking up the political rhetoric.

E.U.'s foreign policy's chief, Josep Borrell, stern in his message today.


JOSEPH BORRELL, EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS & SECURITY POLICY: The European Union borders are not open in an unlimited way. The

entry into the European Union is only possible through legitimated border crossing, for filling the European Union requirements with visa or certain

procedures, and any information claiming otherwise is wrong and it is pure disinformation. The road to the European Union does not lead via Belarus.


NOBILO: We talked to Borrell's spokesperson a short time ago, and we'll bring you that interview in just a moment.

Poland as well as Belarus' other two neighbors, Lithuania and Latvia, are all considering triggering NATO's Article 4. That calls for military

consultations among the bloc whenever any member state faces a threat to its territorial integrity, political independence or security.

NATO says it's monitoring the situation at the borders closely. The bloc's chief is openly condemning the regime in Minsk, accusing Belarus of using

vulnerable migrants as a hybrid weapon.

CNN's Matthew Chance has been reporting from the Belarus-Polish border watching this crisis unfold. He saw Polis helicopter and water cannon

deployed earlier on Monday. Here's his report on the situation from the ground.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With each day that passes this refugee crisis is getting worse.

Desperate migrants here in Belarus, a camp against the razor wire set up by Poland to keep them out. Their dream of a new life in Europe insight but

out of reach.

Where are you going? Of course into Poland.


CHANCE: Then as we prepared for a life report, the mood changed.

Just about to come to when everybody suddenly in this refugee camp right on the border here between Belarus and Poland suddenly got up, they're

grabbing their things and move off to a location we don't know where yet. We're trying to establish, where are you going to?


CHANCE: To go to Poland?


CHANCE: What started as a trickle became a flood.

The whole camp seems to be packing up its bags and moving on up this hill towards the border checkpoint between Belarus and Poland. We're seeing

everybody, thousands of people are packing up their tents, whatever belongings they have, and you can see these incredible scenes as far as I

can see in the smoke.

But everybody now is moving away from where they have been sitting along that border fence over here towards the Polish border.

Lining the road we saw Belarusian guards keeping a watchful eye. Not encouraging the move, but not stopping it.

DINO, REFUGEE ORGANIZER: We're going towards Poland. If Poland open the door, we'll be pleased if they do.

CHANCE: They said they won't, though.

DINO: They don't know. We don't know as well. They go there, what happen next, we don't know, but we can't wait here.

We cannot hold ourself here. Wove got we've got no protection. We go there to European Union.

CHANCE: At the checkpoint, we throng through the gates with the crowd. Rumors may be spread by the Belarusians themselves, a humanitarian corridor

possibly being opened. Their children in to thaw, it was a desperate plea.

This is a direct challenge to the Poles and European Union. Let these migrants pass through the razor wire fences for humanitarian reasons or

push them back.

You can see the message from Poland. They've deployed police with riot shields. Their live speakers are broadcasting a message, saying you must

obey your instructions or force will be used against you.

And so, the Polish authority showing no sign at all of backing down.

It is an uncompromising stance, and of the a day of hope and drama in Belarus, these desperate peel face net another freezing night.

Matthew Chance, CNN on the Belarus/Poland border.


NOBILO: I spoke to E.U. foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Stano, a little earlier, and he told me Belarus forced the bloc's hand, driving it to

impose the new sanctions.


PETER STANO, EU FOREIGN AFFIARS SPOKESMAN: The E.U. sanctions are not policy. They're an instrument of the E.U. policy. Usually we use this

instrument if there are no other means and all other options have been exploited and did not work, or when we want to react to something that's

directed against the EU, in our interest, or use the sanctions to punish those violating international law or human rights and democratic


So we are using the sanctions in order to bring the change of behavior on the side of Lukashenko regime and to respond to what he's doing to his own

population in violating the human rights and Democratic fundamental freedoms of the Belarusian people and also responding to this hybrid attack

that he's instrumentalizing migrants in order to create pressure on the E.U., and you see the sanctions are actually working.

NOBILO: And how has Russia responded the E.U.'s calls for cooperation to help solve this crisis?

STANO: Well, first of all, we have not asked Russia to help us. We don't need outside help. I mean, we need, first of all, change of behavior by

Lukashenko regime by him stopping importing people from third countries and pushing them with armed forces towards the European border.

And, of course, we called on Russia to use its influence because the political elite in Minsk and Moscow, they work very well together. They are

the only buddies for each other, basically. So, Moscow has an influence over Lukashenko regime, so we were calling for him to use influence to stop

Lukashenko from doing what he's doing. And this illegal and inhuman instrumentalization of vulnerable human beings.

NOBILO: And do you consider these migrants and refugees on the border to be a threat to the security of the European Union?

STANO: Well, of course, they are not threat to the security of the European Union. They are poor people who are stuck now in the border region

of Belarus because they were brought there by Lukashenko regime. And they are part of these very difficult situation, which is basically bordering on

humanitarian crisis, because the weather is quite harsh and will only get worse, and these people are not allowed by Belarusian forces to go inland

or to go back to Minsk and take plane and go home.

That's why we're asking the Belarusian authorities to allow people to provide assistance to the people and as well to allow them a free passage

back to the airports between Belarus and repatriation back to their home countries. By the way, for example, Iraq already started repatriation of

its citizens who are stuck in Belarus.

NOBILO: And just continuing on the idea of possible security threats to the E.U., does Russia's uptick in military activity around Ukraine concern


STANO: Well, of course, this is something we are watching very closely. We are a direct neighbor of Ukraine. Ukraine is a very important strategic

partner for the European Union. So, of course, we are of course watching closely what's going on in Ukraine and around Ukraine, and the information

we got so far when it comes to Russian activities and military buildup is rather worrying.

This was also discussed by the 27 foreign ministers of the European Union member states today. We are standing by Ukraine. We are absolutely

committed to unity territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and since April when we've seen the first Russian military build up on

Ukrainian borders, we were working already. We have been working on options how to strengthen the resilience and the ability of Ukraine to protect


So we will be standing by the Ukraine, and, of course, we are calling on Russia to stop the military activities around Ukraine.

NOBILO: The other day we had the Latvian foreign minister on the program. He was obviously saying that they are reinforcing their boarders and are

cautious about the situation. Are you confident this crisis is contained to the Polish/Belarus border and isn't likely to spill over into the other

Baltic States?

STANO: Lukashenko regime is trying to Polish/Belarusian border.


That means the border of Belarus with the Latvia and Lithuania as well.

But the E.U. is determined to stand up against this hybrid attack. We will not back down and we will push back, and we are pushing back already. I

mean, through our outreach to countries of origin and countries of transit for these people who are being brought to Belarus and we are pushing back

also by taking sanctions, in order to punish those who are actively participating in this illegal activity.

So, we are pushing back. We will stand our ground, and we will not allow Lukashenko to pressure us into something only because he wants to cover all

these ongoing violations of human rights against his own population at home.


NOBILO: That was EU foreign affair spokesperson Peter Stano. Our thanks to him for speaking with us earlier.

The U.S. and UK are posing new sanctions on officials in Nicaragua over recent elections widely considered to be a sham. Longtime president Daniel

Ortega won a fourth term this month after the government detained top opposition candidates. The U.S. is sanctioning the public prosecutor's

office and nine government officials, while Britain targeted eight prominent figures, including Nicaragua's vice president, who's also the

first lady.

Just a short time from now, the leaders of the world's two biggest economies will meet face the face, even though they're an ocean apart. U.S.

President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit at a time when the U.S. foreign ministry says lateral relations are

at a critical crossroads. Taiwan, human rights and other contentious issues expected to be on the table.

Our diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is here with me now to discuss this.

So, Nic, obviously, there's a huge amount of expectations ahead of this meeting. What do you think President Xi and President Biden are hoping to

get out of it respectively?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, President Biden's called for it. Although the last conversation they had a couple of

months ago, President xi said it was beneficial and good to have, and that came at a moment of tensions where China was flying the largest number,

biggest grouping of aircraft, both fighter jets and bombers built into Taiwan's defensive air space.

So, that came at a moment of smaller crisis. This is supposed to be most substantial. So, I think what President Biden wants to gain is to make sure

there's no misunderstanding of each other's military maneuvers and diplomat maneuvers over Taiwan.

You have U.S. congressman visiting Taiwan last week. You have the foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing saying -- warning them not to back the

independence of Taiwan. The same was said by the foreign minister to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call over the weekend.

So, there's clearly a heating of actions and rhetoric, which could spill in accidentally to conflict and I think it's the guardrails of making sure

that doesn't happen that would be success for President Biden here and President Xi as well. You know, is it a comfortable political position

likely to win a third term as president next year? But at the same time doesn't want to rock the boat too much.

NOBILO: And when we think about, for example, Taiwan, which is the biggest flash point at the moment when we look at their relations, they can talk

all they want, but really when you look at their positions, the trajectories are going in the opposite direction.

So how can they actually work together? In fact, far broader than Taiwan, if you look at a number of issues which they need to discuss, the

trajectories are never going to align.

ROBERTSON: They're competing. This is what President Biden has said. He doesn't want confrontation, competition. It's okay. And President Xi has

said words to the same effect. This is a moment of change. President Biden came into office saying that we are at a pivotal moment in terms of the

standing of democracies versus autocracies in the world, and kind of part of what's happening.

But it's, I think, for President Biden, this is a moment where he's going to face in President Xi a president who feels that the United States is

weakened in its allies and global standing, that he doesn't -- President Biden doesn't have to momentum he came into office with. Sort of corral the

rest of the democracies to take on China in term of his human rights abuses, trade practices, et cetera.

So the fulcrum of power in this shifting balance between the United States and China is shifting into China's favor, and that leaves Biden in an

awkward position. The question is, can the two powers make sure that this transition doesn't go off the rails, doesn't go over the guardrails.

NOBILO: Yeah, a lot riding on it. As you say, rhetorically speaking they're always trying to now show each other who's boss, and we're hearing

muscular rhetoric from China over the last year.


Nic Robertson, thank you so much for joining us.

Now, let's take a lack at the key stories maiming impact in Asia today.

American journalist Danny Fenster is now free. He had been detained in Myanmar for nearly six months and was sentenced to 11 years in prison just

days ago. It's unclear why he was released so unexpectedly but we do know that Bill Richardson, a former U.S. diplomat, played a role.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has filed run for senator in next year's election. This means he won't be running against his daughter after

all. Sara Duterte Carpio is running for vice president. Earlier Monday, a spokeswoman said Duterte was planning to seek that position next year.

A court in central Vietnam has sentenced a farm to have seven years in prison after finding him guilty oaf spreading what it calls anti-state

propaganda on Facebook. State media says he pleaded guilty at the trial. There's no response yet from Facebook.

India's Supreme Court is holding the government to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to address the very poor air quality in Delhi. The smoke

there is so bad that schools are closed for a week. The government is asking workers to stay at home and construction is prohibited until


Austria's new coronavirus lockdown is targeting unvaccinated people only, and Europe is watching closely to see if it's a viable path forward.

Unvaccinated residents under 12 are now under a stay at home order, except for essential activities. Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates

in Western Europe, just 65 percent.

Across the continent, countries are grappling with the possibility of new sweeping winter lockdowns and considering whether to end the pandemic of

the unvaccinated is to isolate people who haven't their shots. Some see the measures as a necessary step.


ELISABETH JIRIKOWSKY, SALZBURG RESIDENT (through translator): I think it is not good when it comes to polarization, but reducing contact is

necessary and important. That is what I think.

KURT RMAZEBERGER, SALZBURG RESIDENT (through translator): Unfortunately, the whole thing came at very short notice. I believe the government should

have reacted earlier to change the situation. People are a bit shocked, to be honest. It is too late.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, Cambodia is easing travel restrictions for the first time in 18 months, allowing foreign travelers in with a negative COVID

test. Cambodia's vaccination rate is 90 percent, one of the highest in Asia. It's following neighboring Thailand and Indonesia's Bali hoping to

welcome travelers and boost their economy.


MEN VANNA, SOUVENIER SHOP OWNER (through translator): This is a good decision because when more tourists return, I can sell more of my products

that I can make money to feed my children. So, the more tourists that come into the country, the better it is for business.


NOBILO: Still to come, Sunday's explosion in Liverpool puts the whole country on the high alert as police identify the main suspect in that


Plus, the U.S. lashing out at Russia, saying more than a thousand pieces of space debris are putting astronauts at risk.



NOBILO: Here in the United Kingdom, the terrorism threat level has been elevated to severe following Sunday's explosion outside a hospital in

Liverpool. We want to warn you, the video we're about to show may be disturbing.

A taxi pulled up to the front of the building just as some bomb went off inside the car. Police arrested four men in connection to the incident and

have identified the man who died in the blast, and they say they believe he was carrying the explosive device.

The British prime minster warns there may be more attacks to come.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is a stark reminder of the need for us all to remain utterly vigilant and the independent Joint Terrorism

Analysis Center, JTAC, are today raising the U.K.'s threat level from substantial to severe, meaning a attack is highly likely.


NOBILO: Scott McLean has more on the strange circumstances of this explosion in Liverpool.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the street where police believe the suspect in this case was picked up in a taxi and taken ten minutes away

to the Liverpool women's hospital, where that bomb was detonated. Police had just released the name of that suspect, a 32-year-old man named Emad Al

Swealmeen. He is living, police believe, at a different property where some arrests were made, but was recently renting this one.

No arrests made here, but police say they have found significant items. Something they found was detonated in a controlled explosion earlier,

something that we could hear from here.

Now, police say the suspect brought the explosives into the taxi. What they do not know is who made them and what the motivation might have been. They

are also well aware that less than a mile from where that explosion took place at the hospital, there was a Remembrance Day ceremony taking place

where a moment of silence was held literally moment of that bomb was detonated.

Police say at this point they don't have any evidence of connection between the two events although they are pursuing that line of inquiry. Police

arrested four people at the address where the suspect is said to have been living. All of them are men. All of them are in their 20s, and they were

arrested under the British Terrorism Act, which allows police to arrest people they believe or they suspect of being terrorists.

As for the driver, who miraculously managed to stumble his way out of the vehicle, he was injured, taken inside of the hospital. Less than 24 hours

later, he's already been released.


NOBILO: Scott McLean, thank you.

U.S. officials confirm Russia carried out a major anti-satellite weapons test this past weekend and Space Command says it's now tracking a massive

field of debris that could pose hazards.

Our U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood is at the State Department for us.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. strongly condemning Russia's anti-satellite test today call it reckless, calling it

dangerous, saying that the United States will not tolerate this action from Russia. And State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters this test

generated up to 1,500 pieces of orbital degree. Essentially, those are large pieces of debris out in space which make it for dangerous for the

astronauts on the International Space Station and international space travel generally speaking.

We should note that there are seven astronauts on the International Space Station right now. Two of those are Russian. And when asked if the U.S.

would be inflicting any consequences on Russia for this -- the State Department spokesperson didn't deny that was a possibility, but said they

didn't want the get ahead of any specific steps that the United States may take alongside its partners and allies -- Bianca.


NOBILO: Kylie Atwood, thank you.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.



ALOK SHARMA, COP26 PRESIDENT: But I think as you have noted, it's also vital that we protect this package.



NOBILO: It all end in the tears on Saturday as COP26 came to a close. The summit's president apologizing for the weakened pack, which nearly 200

countries adopted. It was a long awaited agreement, concluding week of discussion and negotiations.

The agreement included an unprecedented reference to the role of fossil fuels. However, the language was watered down. The wording was changed from

phasing coal out to phasing coal down.

So, what the deal achieve? Will it do what the summit set out to do? Let's take a look more closely.

One of the main goals of COP26 was to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees warming in reach to prevent more climate catastrophes.

As you can see here, in order to do that by 2030, the world needs to cut emissions by nearly 27 billion tons a year according to climate action

tracker. But less than a quarter of that amount has been pledged, only 6.3 billion tons. That's a massive gap, one that quite simply needs to be

addressed in order to avoid climate catastrophe.

Of course, everyone should be involved in the climate conversation. It's all of our planet.

So, let us know what you think about COP26 and the agreement on Twitter. I'm @Bianca_Nobilo. And we'll be back tomorrow. Good night.