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Talks Underway to Avert Potentially Crippling Strike; Queen Elizabeth Now Lying in State at Westminster Hall; Mourners Stand In Line for Miles to Pay Respects to Queen; Queen Witnessed Crumbling of British Power in Middle East; Zelenskyy Visits Liberated City of Izyum in Kharkiv Region. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 15, 2022 - 04:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Becky Anderson, live from central London, overlooking the palace of Westminster where it is 9:00 in the morning and thousands of people lining up to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And live from CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta, I'm Rosemary Church with the latest on the war in Ukraine and an all-out effort to avoid a major rail strike here in the United States.

ANDERSON: While the clock is ticking for negotiators to avoid that potentially crippling rail strike here in the United States. Talks led by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh have been going on through the early morning hours. But one official tells CNN don't expect a resolution anytime soon. A strike could put a serious dent in a U.S. economy that's already struggling to recover, threatening deliveries of food to grocery stores, cars, and car parts, even chlorine for water treatment plant. Amtrak is already suspending service on long distance routes, and warning of more cancellations to come. More now from CNN's Pete Muntean.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the latest efforts to put the brakes on a possible rail workers strike that could deal a major blow to the economy. Bosses representing unions and railroads met with the labor secretary in a last ditch effort to reach a deal by midnight Thursday. That's when 60,000 workers could walk off the job in solidarity with train engineers fighting for sick time. A strike would mean freight rail, which makes up 40 percent of all faith in the U.S. will grind to a halt, impacting everything from parts for cars to fertilizer for farming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Transportation is a big part of the cost to the consumer. And I don't believe there's one person a country that it will not affect.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Starting Thursday, some railroads will stop accepting shipments of grain, critical to feet livestock and potentially further driving up costs at supermarkets. Rail passengers will be impacted too. Amtrak is canceling all of its long distance routes outside of the northeastern quarter. In Chicago, 9 of 11 commuter lines will stop when a strike begins.

NIGEL JOHNSON, RAIL COMMUTER: I've been commuting from the suburbs to Chicago now for over 30 years. I can never remember this happening. It could take two hours, if I'm driving. On the train, it's 40 minutes

MUNTEAN (voice-over): With midterm elections on the horizon, the pressure is on the Biden administration to reach a resolution. The president himself has called unions and employers, pushing them to resolve their differences. If a freight rail shutdown does happen, trucking companies say they cannot pick up the slack.

PATRICK ANDERSON, CEO, ANDERSON ECONOMIC GROUP: It starts with a very small impact, but it grows geometrically.

MUNTEAN: One more potential impact here, water treatment facilities are worried they will not be able to get chlorine, which is critical for cleaning water. It's often sent by rail, that's why water treatment facilities are now warning that many municipalities nationwide will have to issue boil water advisories if this rail strike does in fact happen.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And without any signs of progress, U.S. futures markets have been in and out of positive territory all morning. But as you can see there all in positive territory for now. The Dow futures up about a quarter of a percent. Trading is mixed in the Asia Pacific region, as you can see. And trading has been underway for a little over an hour now in Europe, with the FTSE up 0.64 percent there.

ANDERSON: A silent and solemn stream of mourners continue to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth here in London. Her Majesty is lying in state at Westminster Hall, and her coffin will remain there until her state funeral on Monday.


When the doors to the hall first opened on Wednesday, the queue of mourners stretched for almost three miles along the River Thames below me here. So many people waiting for hours to pay their respects to the Queen.

Well, earlier on Wednesday, the Queen's coffin was taken from Buckingham Palace on horse drawn carriage to the palace of Westminster. Crowds lined the streets to witness this moment in history, and to pay tribute to Britain's longest serving monarch .

And a service was held at Westminster Hall after the Queen's coffin arrived there. And in the hours ahead, we should learn more details about what we can expect on the day of her funeral Monday, the 19th of September.

Meantime, preparations for that fuel continue in London, where rehearsals were held late into that night.

French President Emmanuel Macron is the latest to confirm that he will be at the Queens funeral and will join a long list of world leaders in London on Monday, including the U.S. president as well as the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been invited, neither has the leader of North Korea, the mayor of London spoke earlier about the influx of people expected in the city over the coming days.


SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: We expect to see over the course of the next few days hundreds of thousands of people personally paying their respects to Her Majesty the Queen. But also, we expect to see Prime Ministers, presidents, members of the royal family, and others from across the globe to come pay their respects over the next few days in London.


ANDERSON: The queue snaking below me here along the River Thames of people queuing to pay their respects has been as long as three miles at one point. And people standing in line for between five, six, seven, eight hours in order to get that opportunity.

CNN's Nada Bashir joins me now from just outside the palace of Westminster. What are those who have had their opportunity to pay their respects to the Queen of Westminster Hall telling you, Nada?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Look, Becky, we've spoken to a number of people who have just left Westminster Hall, all quite emotional. And it is quite a somber mood here in Westminster. You can see it is very busy. The queue has been moving quite quickly I have to say. We have seen hundreds streaming out of the palace of Westminster. All saying that it really was a historic moment, and such an important moment to be part of. Many of them have waited for hours overnight. We saw a few of them earlier today at around 2, 3 am local time waiting in those queues. But all have told us that it was well worth the wait. And actually, we are joined out by Charles and Anna, who were in that queue earlier this morning.

CHARLES: Morning.

ANNA: Morning.

BASHIR: They just left Westminster Hall. How important was it for you to be part of the moment?

CHARLES: Yes, I think because the Queen has always been omnipresent in our lives, it was so important. I mean, 70 years is a lifetime well lived. And how she acted throughout that period, she's been actually fantastic. So, a small amount of time in our life is we felt we had to do it. And we owe that to her, and say goodbye properly, yes. ANNA: Yes, I had the privilege to be here. And (INAUDIBLE) but had the

privilege to see her, how she was working, how she was very special lady, yes.

CHARLES: To say goodbye.

ANNA: And we're here and to come to say goodbye was really emotional, yes, yes.

BASHIR: I mean, a lot of us -- a lot of people have told us they were quite emotional to be there for that. It was worth the wait. You waited for hours overnight.

CHARLES: Seven and a half, eight hours, but it did not seem like that. And as I said, we met some lovely people in the queue. But the way it was organized and the -- it's hard to describe. It's indescribable, actually, the way her presence was felt, and the way it was set up. It was actually beautiful. It was so well done.

ANNA: Yes.

CHARLES: We're so pleased we came, aren't we?

ANNA: Yes. Thank you.


BASHIR: And you've got a bit of a long way home. And of course, it is very busy here. But for anybody who is thinking about a perhaps joining the queue, waiting in line for hours, you think it's well worth the wait.

ANNA: Yes, I think it is. If you don't think coming, because it's worth it. You don't, you don't feel that --

CHARLES: You don't notice the time.

ANNA: You don't feel that if the times go by now.

CHARLES: It goes so quickly. And it's once in a lifetime. And like we said, it's the least we could do for our monarch. It was wonderful.

BASHIR: Thank you.

And that really is what we have been hearing from so many people coming out of Westminster Hall, that it is worth the wait. This is a historic moment. It is quite a large scale operation as well. Of course, there is a significant security presence. But it is an orderly system. And I have to say, the queues been moving quite quickly. The length has been scaling down overnight. But we are still expecting to see more people streaming through into central London to take part in what is a historic moment. Four full days of mourning to be held for the Queen here. Where she'll be lying in state in the palace of Westminster just behind me -- Becky.

ANDERSON: It's a little chilly, but the weather is holding out for them. And that is a good thing. Nada, thank you for that.

Well, the thousands waiting for hours just to view the Queen's coffin. In the leaders from across the globe coming to attend the state funeral speak to the Queen's influence and her relationships the world over. There have been changes through the years, of course. And for instance, the British colonialism in the Middle East when Queen Elizabeth became monarch slowly disappearing in the years that followed. But although the Queen witnessed the crumbling of British power in that region, she continued to have close ties with the ruling family there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No day has ever dawned that rivals this.

ANDERSON (voice-over): When Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the thrown in the early 1950s, Britain was the dominant power in the Middle East. Most countries on this map we're British protectorate's. Newly formed nation states such as Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen were bound by treaties that wielded Britain an exorbitant amount of control that was often contested. While Gulf states such as Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, then known as the Trucial states, where mostly content with the British presence.

Queen Elizabeth quickly became a familiar face in the Middle East, making her first state visit to the region in Libya just two years after she became head of state. She was also pictured next to the Amir of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Kuwait's Sheikh Abdullah Bin Jabir, and the UAE's founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Nahyan. But behind all these smiling was a growing movement for independents.

ABDEL RAZZAQ TAKRITI, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Britain was responsible for a growing regional map at the time. Queen Elizabeth came at a time when that map was being challenged. In that period, the region was engaged in a massive range of anti-colonial uprisings, struggles, and attempts to overthrow this British domination.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The attempts worked. And by 1971, the last vestiges of British colonialism in the Middle East had disappeared. But visits between Queen Elizabeth and the region's rulers didn't stop, particularly with those in the Gulf Corporation Counsel or GCC, where Britain's legacy wasn't viewed as unfavorably as in other parts of the Middle East.

JAMES ONLEY, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH: The number of state visits, or other high-level visits of the British royal family to the GCC is such scale it is comparable to the royal family visits to the Commonwealth realms. Members of the ruling and royal families of the GCC formed genuine relationships with members of the royal family in Britain. Which results in substantial business ties, educational ties, cultural ties.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Those ties have also been shared with royal families outside of the Gulf, such as Jordan, despite being a former British protectorate. But for some of the region citizens, the monarchy is a symbol of British colonial rule that they blame for their current grievances.

TAKRITI: There are many people in the Arab world that do not have particular resentment to the Queen, or the current king of England. However, they certainly disapprove of British colonial policy because it took a huge toll on the people of the region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Loftiest heritage rank high above everything ...


ANDERSON (voice-over): Under Queen Elizabeth's reign, British influence in the Middle East underwent significant change. Where colonial structures dissolved, and strategic partnerships formed that has sustain until this date.

ONLEY: Last visit to the Gulf was to Oman, where she visited the late Sultan -- Sultan Qaboos. And if you take a look at the photos and images, you will see the genuine feeling of affection and friendship between those two monarchs. It is deep, it is meaningful, it is real. But it is more than just a strategic ally. It's family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three cheers for his majesty the King. Hip, hip, hurray!

ANDERSON (voice-over): While this crucial chapter of British history closes, a another may soon be burgeoning. As the new King Charles III looks toward the regent to build up the relationships his mother cultivated.


ANDERSON (on camera): Well, in my report, you saw photos of Queen Elizabeth next to the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Nahyan, a founding father of the United Arab Emirates. And you can see old footage of the two play out now on your screens, when Queen Elizabeth visited Abu Dhabi back in 1979.

The UAE is one of the Gulf countries that shares particularly close ties with the United Kingdom, and indeed, with the British monarchy.

And my next guest can tell you all about that. He tweeted, and I quote: As we mourn the passing of a beloved monarch, I fondly recall my sister Hamda presenting flowers to the Queen on her visit to the UAE in 1979. Such visits deepen the friendship between our nations. 40 years later, I presented my credentials as ambassador. The friendship injures, he wrote. Mansour is the U.S. Ambassador. The friendship endures. He wrote.

Mansoor Abulhoul is the UAE's ambassador to the U.K. and I'm delighted to say joins me now. Just tell me a little bit more about that -- some personal story that you have.

MANSOOR ABULHOUL, UAE AMBASSADOR TO U.K.: I think it's a very personal story. And Her Majesty would have touched people in many ways this way, many individuals across the world. But that particular story, my sister Hamda being chosen from the group of children to meet Her Majesty during her first state visit in 1979. And there is me, the honor of my life, visiting Buckingham Palace, presenting my credentials to the majesty 40 years on. I mean, that for us as a family, something we'll treasure.

ANDERSON: And Queen Elizabeth visited the UAE, greeted by the late Sheikh Zayed, of course, and was given a tour around the country. Just describe the significance of that meeting back in the day and what does it meant and means in terms of the strategic relationships today?

ABULHOUL: Gosh, I mean, that first state visit to the UAE was so significant and it doesn't surprise me today that we have over 100,000 British citizens because her majesty is would have catalyzed that people, connectivity that you have between our two nations and she did a remarkable job. She went around interested everything. And you know, you see that through the people today. We have over a million a half visitors every year from the United Kingdom. And I think her visit would have been fundamental in setting the course of the relationship to where it is today, a very strong, robust relationship.

ANDERSON: Because she doesn't govern, she doesn't rule, she reigns. But the royal family, as you rightly point out in the relationship between the UAE and the U.K., you can see the importance of the monarchy, particularly in a region like the Gulf. What do you envision and hope for in the relationship between your country, the Gulf, under a new King Charles III?

ABULHOUL: Gosh, it's a new bright start, a new chapter. And as you quite rightly put, the royal families, they provide a canopy under which the relationship falls. And they provide that very essential sort of cover that I think is key. And that's the depth of that is felt through friendships. And I've been privileged to sit in on some of his highness, our new president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, meeting with the new king, King Charles, His Majesty. And, you know, he -- I often think when I think of King Charles, I think when he is the Prince of Wales, he was before his time on so many different -- when you look at conservation, when you look at interfaith understanding, he was before his time. His time has come now, and he will be a fine king. And he visited the UAE many times from dugong sanctuaries to places of religious importance, interfaith. He has so much understanding of the region and Islam.

ANDERSON: And their admiration for Islam.

ABULHOUL: Absolutely, you know, an authority and admiration for Islam. But also more critically, an admiration for religions and interfaith understanding. He is going to be a remarkable king.

ANDERSON: And there are condolences pouring in from all over the world, not least from the Middle East.


Israel's Prime Minister said, and I quote: On behalf of the government and the people of Israel, I send my condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She leaves behind a unparalleled legacy of leadership and service.

Echoing, you know, many of the statements that we have heard, not least from the UAE as well. There are plans in place, and obviously, countries around the world are putting their plans in place for who will attend and represent their countries.

Before that funeral, and well I have got you here, and we're talk about Israel, the foreign minister of the UAE is in Israel today. It is a two year anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE. If we sort of think back over the reign of Queen Elizabeth, how things have changed so much across the Middle East. Here is, with these accords, you know, a moment in time which is indicative of the way that this region is on the move. What is the Foreign Minister hoping to achieve while he's there?

ABULHOUL: I think it's a continuation, it's as you said, the anniversary, the second anniversary of the Abraham Accord. Such a transformational step within the region in terms of peace building, in terms of unlocking opportunities for youth. You know, and all of those will be -- we'll doubling down on. And His Highness leads on this particular file. So, highly important. You know, and I think we also need to take it back to King Charles, you know, he unlock so much for youth. And that's the importance there. So, the UAE, under the stewardship of our president His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, but also Shahab Dhegihan (ph) sort of carrying that message, showing the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to the accords is vital.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you on, ambassador. Thank you very much indeed. The story that you have, the personal story you have is wonderful to have heard. And I'm glad that our viewers around the world can share and that. Thank you. Mansoor Abulhoul, the UAE ambassador here in the U.K.

CNN special coverage of Queen Elizabeth remembrance continues later this hour with hundreds of thousands of people expected to go to Westminster to say goodbye to the only monarch most have ever known.

Plus, the latest on Ukraine's stunning counteroffensive. And Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to a recently liberated strategic city. My colleague Rosemary Church picks up our coverage after this short break. Stay with.



CHURCH: We have exclusive new reporting this morning on the U.S. Justice Department's investigation into the January 6th Capitol riot. Sources tell former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has complied with a subpoena. Meadows probably turn over the same texts and emails to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection. He is the highest ranking Trump official known to cooperate with federal investigators.

Ukraine's leader has sent a clear message to Moscow with a visit Wednesday to the recently liberated city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region. While it was under Russian control, the city was a key logistics hub. Volodymyr Zelenskyy says investigators are gathering evidence of war crimes carried out by Russian forces there.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Russian army remained in the Kharkiv region for more than five months. And during this time, the occupiers did not even try to do something for the people. They only destroyed, only seized, only departed. They left devastated villages, some of them there is not a single surviving house. Occupiers have left schools turned into garbage dumps, and ruined churches turned literally into lavatories.


CHURCH: Ben Wedeman joins us now live from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Good to see you again, Ben. So, Ukraine's president sent a defiant message to Russia, taking a victory lap in the liberated city of Izyum on Wednesday. But the war is not over yet. What is the latest from the frontlines?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand that perhaps the Ukrainians are done with this offensive in the Kharkiv region. They've taken 6,000 square kilometers, according to Ukrainian officials, in the last two weeks. That's an awful lot of territory. It really needs to be secured in the event of perhaps a Russian counteroffensive.

Which, at the moment, doesn't seem very likely, given the disarray of Russian forces, particularly in that area. They've lost hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment. Many of their soldiers have been captured by the Ukrainians. And by all accounts, their morale was very bad. They were poorly supplied. Clearly, poorly lead as well.

Now, attention is beginning to focus on the Kherson region in the southern part of the country. Which the Ukrainians have been talking about launching an offensive for quite some time in that area. But what we are seeing is the Russians are, despite their weakness on the battlefield, continued to strike civilian infrastructure.

Yesterday, eight Russian cruise missiles were fired on a pumping station near Kryvyi Rih in the southeastern part of the country. That apparently has caused water to break through a dam there, endangering the civilian population downstream. And this seems to be the pattern of the Russians. They are targeting civilian infrastructure, it appears, as some form of retaliation for this stunning success by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv area -- Rosemary.