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Raisi to U.S.: Return to Nuclear Deal Quickly; Israel PM Calls For World to "Wake Up" on Iran; Spectators From Japan Will be Allowed at Games; First Look Inside Olympic and Paralympic Village. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 21, 2021 - 11:00 ET
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ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: For starters, you need to go on (ph). Iran's new hard-line president has already begun making tough demands. I'm Becky
Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World."
Iran's president-elect has a blunt message for the United States, return to the nuclear deal quickly and drop all sanctions imposed by the previous
Ebrahim Raisi laying out his country's foreign policy plans today in what was his first news conference since his landslide victory on Friday. The
ultra conservative cleric winning an competitive race with most of his challengers, as you will recall, being barred from running.
Raisi pushing a sense of urgency then about nuclear talks but also drawing a red line when it comes to Iran's defenses, saying Iran's ballistic
missile program is, quote, not up for negotiation.
But his comments coming a day after the latest round of nuclear negotiations wrapped in Vienna. Officials on all sides reporting progress
but saying there is still work to be done.
Well, Fred Pleitgen, connecting us tonight from Tehran is there, where he has been for the last three or four days covering these elections and was
at that news conference earlier where, Fred, you put a question to Ebrahim Raisi. What was it and what did he tell us?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. I certainly did. And I think one of the things that was really surprising to many people who went
to that press conference; especially the foreign press that was there, you know, Ebrahim Raisi was a president-elect who was elected mostly because of
domestic agenda here in Iran.
It was mostly to fight against corruption, to try to improve the economy. In the run up to the election we heard very little about what he plans to
do on foreign policy. But today it became clear this today it became very clear that this new administration, this incoming administration has a very
clear foreign policy that they want to pursue here in Iran.
It's a -- it's a strong foreign policy. It's an outgoing foreign policy and it's certain one that is going to make it very tough for the United States
in this region. During that press conference, Ebrahim Raisi, he ripped into the U.S., especially about the nuclear agreement, about leaving the nuclear
And about the very strong sanctions that were put in place by the Trump administration. He was asked if he would meet with President Joe Biden, and
he flat out said no. There was no explanation, no words around it. He simply said no.
I was then asking him that he -- whether or not he would at least engage with the Biden administration and what about a possible bigger nuclear
agreement that involves more than just the nuclear issue but also ballistic missiles and the regional issues as well. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voiceover): First of all, sir, thank you much for taking our question. You've already told us how you feel about a direct meeting with
President Biden. But would you be willing to talk to and negotiate with the Biden administration? Would your administration be willing to do that? What
do you expect of the Biden administration, and how do you feel about the U.S. proposal for a possible expanded nuclear agreement that would cover
Iran's ballistic missiles and also regional issues as well.
EBRAHIM RAISI, IRAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): My serious proposal to the United States government is that -- is for them to return
in an expedient manner to their commitments and do away with sanctions. In doing so, they would prove their sincerity. Regional and missile issues are
not up for negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (on camera): Ebrahim Raisi saying that the ballistic missile program of the Iranians definitely not up for negotiations. In general, the
gist of what the Iranians have been saying, Ebrahim Raisi today but also officials that I've been speaking to, is that this new administration
that's incoming here in Iran, they expect the U.S. -- if the U.S. wants to improve relations with then to take the first step.
The Iranians certainly look like they're not going to be the first ones who are going to take it the other way around.
However, they did say they that they do plan big engagement here in the region and indeed in the world. The other big thing that I think came out
of this press conference was that Ebrahim Raisi also very much wants to keep pursuant a detente with Saudi Arabia, wants to keep open the
negotiations with Saudi Arabia that have already been started under the current foreign minister, Javad Zarif; the current president, Hassan
However, he also heavily criticized the Saudis for their campaign in Yemen, and said that that needs to end.
But I think one of the things that we're going to be seeing from everything that we've heard today is certainly very much an Iran that is bold, that is
going to very much pursue its interests in this region, that it's going to be very, very forthcoming on diplomacy here in this region and certainly
will not back down to the United States, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran and there is a lot more on Iran's election on the website, cnn.com is where you'll find more new and analysis
on Ebrahim Raisi's election.
Why the incoming president says America's maximum pressure campaign has not succeeded. You can follow that story with CNN on the app on your
Well, Ethiopia's government calls its nationwide vote today, the country's first free and fair election. But the shadow of war and famine is looming
large. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is facing voters for the first time since coming to power in 2018.
And you will remember after that he won a Nobel Peace Prize and championed a democratic revival for Ethiopia, which would have been a big break from
its authoritarian past.
Well, today 47 parties are taking part on the ballots. Many Ethiopians in conflict ridden areas, especially Tigray in the north, will have to wait to
cast their votes. U.S. State Department has weighed in, flagging its concerns about the election environment.
Its statement reads the detention of opposition politicians, harassment of independent media and the many interethnic and intercommunal conflicts
across Ethiopia are obstacles to a free and fair electoral process.
Let's connect you to Ethiopia's capital now at Addis Ababa to CNN's Larry Madowo. And you are standing in front of a line of people queuing to vote.
What are they telling you?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're telling me that they will be here for as long as it takes for them access the right to vote. But also they
see the significance of this as a chance to really bring Ethiopia to a democratic process that can really lead to a more free and fair election
maybe the next time.
Polls just closed six minutes ago but there are about 100 people in this line. And they're allowed to remain there and vote as long as they're in
the line when the polls closed. And from peoples, obviously they've been here all day; the line has been around the block almost entirely the whole
day, even when it rained.
They tell -- they see how important it is. That this is a flawed election process but it's the best process that they can have. The chair of the
National Elections Board of Ethiopia wrote an op-ed two days ago where she said don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
She admitted there are serious problems that Ethiopia has to deal with even electorally, but this is a first step.
ANDERSON: The early months of Abiy's premiership were marked by bold, decisive, progressive decision making. He won pulpits (ph) for achieving
peace with neighboring Eritrea and for his role in brokering a power share deal in neighboring Sudan.
This is an East African powerhouse. Its geographic position is of huge strategic significance not just to the west, Larry, but of course these
days to the east as well. We know that this is a country in many parts divided at present.
Given Abiy's start, as it were, back in 2018 and the sense of optimism that so many people, not just in Ethiopia, but around the world had for his
premiership, what's gone wrong?
MADOWO: Well, that could take an entire day just to list through them. But Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came into this euphoria nationally but also
international. It was a (INAUDIBLE), for instance. And there's some degree of disappointment now.
But for instance, Abiy Ahmed freed political prisoners, opened up the space for opposition for the media and all that, and now there are some
opposition candidates who are in prison, that people have boycotted this election because they feel it's not been carried out because they didn't
have a chance to really oppose him.
And so he's likely to win this. But in the shadow of that specter of disappointment, and yet he needs the legitimacy of having faced the votes,
which he didn't do in 2018 when he took over from the last prime minister. But this is tainted, in that sense, just because of all of the other issues
that have come on premiership.
ANDRERSON: Yes, our colleague (INAUDIBLE) team have done some really terrific and brave reporting from the country in the Tigray region, of
course, which has been in conflict now since, what, late last year.
Last week the E.U. special envoy to Ethiopia told the European parliament that during a February visit to the country, seniors leaders had told him
they were going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years, an allegation the Ethiopian foreign minister has called a complete fabrication.
It has to be said. What chance that that conflict will be resolved any time soon? Humanitarian agencies have serious concerns about the prospect of a
looming famine should they not be able to get aid to those, what, 350,000 or more who need it?
MADOWO: So the Tigray crisis, (INAUDIBLE) is likely to be the prosperity party of -- there's already accusations of atrocities in Tigray. There's
accusations of using both (INAUDIBLE). There's difficult access to go to this affair (ph). It's not just on the Ethiopian government side but also
their military (ph) forces that are working (INUAUDIBLE) with some of their regional militia there as well.
So there are atrocities on all side here. And it's going to be the very first thing that whoever is next prime minister needs to deal with. And
it's a complicated problem, the deep rooted political issues here that there's not a magic wand.
There's no election happening in Tigray, for instance, which speaks to the challenges that the National Elections Board had trying to organize a fair
election when there's so much conflict, so much balance, so much displacement and so much death in so much -- so many parts of the country.
ANDERSON: Larry, thank you. We're having slight technical issues with your -- you shot but we -- we were sufficiently robust to hear what you said.
Larry Madowo is on the ground there in Addis Ababa where as he reported the polls are now closed, although those who are in line still getting a chance
to make their vote.
Well, we are tracking developments in the final weeks of America's longest war in Afghanistan. Local officials tell CNN that several districts in
northern Afghanistan have fallen into the hands of the Taliban over the last couple of weeks. Five of them in just two days.
CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, has reported extensively throughout Afghanistan throughout the years. He joins me from
London. What are we learning, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Balkh, a province in the north of the country, five district centers, four went to the Taliban
over the past 48 hours in the neighboring condos (ph), another two district centers there.
An official there saying actually there was no fighting because there was an effort to avoid civilian casualties. So in affect you could say that the
afghan forces defending those district centers decided not to fight, move a little further around that sort of northern part of the country, Takhar,
nine district centers falling there over the past week.
Head a little further west, Faryab, six district centers falling over the past two weeks. But indeed today the Taliban claiming that since this
morning they've taken, you know, in other regions of the country, mostly in the North they have taken another eight district centers.
We at CNN can't confirm those. But the picture that's emerging particularly in the north is one that -- that is concerning for everyone who's -- who
has a stake in the stability of the future of Afghanistan because the more the Taliban exert their -- try to exert their power and control, the weaker
the central state becomes.
There's no sense at the moment that a provincial center is about to fall. And I talked to one of the commanders involved in the fight in Balkh just
less than an hour ago. And he said to me, you know, we're bringing in Afghan national army forces.
We hope to retake those five district centers within the next couple of weeks. A couple of weeks is quite a long. That gives you an idea of how
long it may take. You know the Taliban, according to the U.N.'s latest report; have been ready to make a move, as NATO reduced its forces, because
the one thing they don't have to fear now is NATO air strikes that they're able to move more openly and freely.
And the other thing I would just say about the region they've gone after, this was a region that is not traditionally a Taliban region. It's also
relatively flat compared to most of Afghanistan, which may make the fighting for them a little easier.
But the swift moves and towns falling quickly, that's something we saw 25 years ago with the Taliban, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Nic is the story for you. Thank you, Nic. >>> coming up on "Connect the World," these bleachers at Olympic venues in
Tokyo will soon be holding fans. Just how many is just ahead.
Also a vaccine drive unparalleled anywhere else on earth. How china convinced more than a billion people to get a COVID-19 vaccine and in such
a short amount of time. And scientist say there's barely a person in Brazil today who hasn't lost a loved one to COVID-19.
The latest from the country, as it hits a tragic milestone.
ANDERSON: China's COVID vaccine drive has now passed an unrivalled 1 billion doses. That is according to China's national health commission.
10,489,000 shots specifically as of Saturday. That's about 40% of the 2.5 billion doses administered worldwide. Let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson live
from Hong Kong.
And this is an impressive exercise, not least because China had a relatively slow start. So, what happened?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They ramped up. I think this is testament to the fact that when China's one party system puts its mind to it, it can
really get results. So as recently as March, China had around 1 million people vaccinated. And just this last week in a single day, they were
administering 20 million shots in a day.
In a five-day stretch they say they administered some 100 million shots running up to Saturday when they crossed the 1 billion mark. So they were
able to get these shots in arms on an almost industrial scale. And its part of kind of the pattern that they've had since the COVID-19 virus was first
detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.
There were some false starts. There were some examples of local cover-ups initially. But then China illustrated that it can really adopt draconian
measures, locking down entire cities, entire neighborhoods if need be, ramping up testing on a massive scale. And in this case, ramping up
vaccinations. Of course China is the world's most populous country with a population of some 1.4 billion people.
So even at this pace, they still have a long way to go to try to reach herd immunity for the entire population, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, and some worrying news out of Shenzhen, which of course neighbors Hong Kong. What do you know?
WATSON: Yes, this is Guangdong province. It has been struggling with a COVID outbreak for the past month. The numbers would be the envy, I think,
of most other countries around the world, Becky. More than 160 cases in the whole province over the course of the last month.
But it is also troubling because most of the cases are said to be this new delta variant, first detected in India, and even with the draconian
measures that China and the government use, locking down neighborhoods, that hasn't succeeded in completely stopping this.
There was another detail that came out from a press conference yesterday where Chinese authorities announced that one flight coming from
Johannesburg in South Africa on the 10th to Shenzhen had some 38 COVID-19 patients confirmed with the delta variant.
So on Monday, today, there were some 400 flights in and out of Shenzhen that had been cancelled, no real explanation for it. The Hong Kong
authorities today announced that they were going to have to postpone a scheme for opening up cross boundary traffic between Guangdong and here.
So even with these kind of industrial scale, top-down, one party rule methods and strategies for -- for health management that China has had, it
still can't exterminate this tenacious virus.
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson reporting. Thank you, Ivan. That delta variant as Ivan reported, first discovered in India, is spreading. And it is spreading
fast. You can see here which countries have detected it. My colleague Michael Holmes now reporting it presented an unexpected challenge, for
example, in the Russian capital.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aggressive and infectious. That's the way Moscow's mayor describes the coronavirus variant spreading
through the city. Health officials in Moscow reported more than 9,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily figure for the city since the
That from the city's mayor who says the delta variant first identified in India is responsible for nearly 90% of new infections.
SERGEI SOBYANIN, MOSCOW MAYOR (through translator): The situation in Moscow with the spread of COVID-19 disease is rapidly deteriorating, and
the dynamics are quite unexpected since more than 60 percent of Muscovites have either been ill or vaccinated.
HOLMES: The Kremlin says vaccinations are critical to protect against the variant spread. But many Russians are still hesitant to get the Sputnik
UNKNOWN (through translator): We are afraid of getting sick, but we did not get vaccinated because we are also afraid of that.
HOLMES: The WHO says Moscow is just one of several places where the delta variant is thriving. And with so many people across the world still
unvaccinated, there's plenty of opportunity for it to circulate even more.
SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WHO: The delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly
HOLMES: One WHO official says Africa is particularly vulnerable because of a lack of vaccines. The delta variant is being detected in at least 14
countries on the continent. But even countries that have had success with their vaccination programs are being inundated with new cases.
More than 46 percent of the population in the U.K. is fully vaccinated, but COVID-19 infections are increasing there once again. The delta variant
fuelling the rise. A similar spike in Indonesia. Authorities in one district giving live chickens as an incentive to older residents to get the
Countries around the world doing everything they can to catch up to this fast-moving virus. Michael Holmes, CNN.
ANDERSON: Well, more than half a million people in Brazil have now lost their lives to this virus. And sadly children there have been dying from
COVID-19 at higher rates than nearly anywhere else in the world. Isa Soares has more.
SAMEQUE GOIS, MOTHER OF CHILD WHO DIED FROM COVID-19: (Foreign Language).
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Little Sarah Gois was born this January in Brazil in the midst of a ravishing pandemic. Her 22-year-
old mother naturally bisotic (ph) with her precious princess.
GOIS: (Foreign Language).
SOARES: But even an abundance of love wasn't enough is to stop her daughter from contracting COVID-19.
GOIS (through translator): I thought it was something I had done. Maybe I passed on the virus. I didn't know what was happening around me. I knew
that the only thing I could do was to get on my knees and pray.
SOARES: Despite on all pleas, little Sarah died. She was only five months old.
GOIS (through translator): When she died, when they give us the news, I was able to hold her. I was able to feel her one last time.
SOARES: It's a loss that is felt much more often in Brazil than many other countries. While the Brazilian health ministry says 1,122 children under
the age of 10 have died since the start of the pandemic, one research group argues the death toll is actually closer to 3,000.
This year alone more than 1,000 have lost their lives. And doctors tell us the gamma or P-1 variant first identified in Brazil may not be to blame.
DR. ANA LUIZA BIERRENBACK, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, VITAL STRATEGIES: Is that kids have been dying more in Brazil since the original variant was here, so it
was not the addition of the P1 variable that made kids die even more than in other countries.
SOARES: Despite the rising numbers, baby Sarah was only tested for COVID- 19 12 days after she developed first symptoms. Her mother tells me doctors assumed she had something else, a common misconception in Brazil, tells me
pediatrician, Andre Laranjeira.
DR. ANDRE LARANJEIRA, PEDIATRICIAN (through translator): A lot of pediatricians had had a certain resistance when it came to requesting
COVID-19 tests for children when they were exhibiting those typical symptoms on the respiratory tract, runny nose, cough, fever. Practically
all children have those symptoms this time of year.
SOARES: But Dr. Laranjeira says this alone doesn't explain the higher death rate across Brazil. Outside (INAUDIBLE) a hospital on the outskirts
of Sao Paolo, one family is counting their blessings.
UNKNOWN: (Foreign Language).
SOARES: Her 9-year-old daughter, Manuela is finally out of ICU after some five days on a ventilator having contracted COVID-19. Back at home her
parents revealed their ordeal.
CAROLINA BASTO, MANUELA'S MOTHER (through translator): Her kidney was no longer functioning. Her heart was beating irregularly. It was the end of
the line for me.
KLEBER DE OLIVEIRA, MANUELA'S FATHER: We were desperate. Our world had collapsed.
SOARES: They say it took four doctors to diagnose Manuela but in the end she was admitted to ICU and got the best possible treatment. But not all in
Brazil can have access to this type of healthcare.
LARANJEIRA (through translator): When you take the fatalities within the pediatric age group, more than 60 percent are from vulnerable socioeconomic
groups. It's impossible to turn a blind eye to that.
SOARES: Here, this disparity can be the difference between life and death. Between a family that gets to celebrate and one that's forced to mourn. Isa
ANDERSON: Still ahead, a closer look at the world of humanitarian aid. We'll speak to the former humanitarian chief and current head of a group
formed to make sure aid is distributed fairly and efficiently.
Also a blunt warning about Iran's new president from Israel's new prime minister. We'll tell you about a few choice word that Bennett is using to
describe Ebrahim Raisi when we return.
ANDERSON: It is just about half past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" you're your Middle East programming. I'm Beck
Iran's new president-elect calling for the U.S. to return to the nuclear deal (INAUDIBLE). And I quote him here, expedited manner. Ebrahim Raisi
said in his first news conference on Monday that Washington violated the 2015 nuclear agreement, and he urged President Biden to get back into the
But he said Iran isn't willing to talk about this one particular thing. He said Iran's missiles are not up for negotiation. I reiterate to the U.S.,
he said, that you are committed to lifting the sanctions, come back and live up to your commitments.
International negotiators say they are inching closer to a deal with Iran, as they meet in Vienna to revive that 2015 deal, which was abandoned by the
Trump administration. But Israel's new prime minister has a blunt warning to world leaders about Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's president-elect.
Naftali Bennett is calling him the hang man of Tehran and saying during a cabinet meeting, it's, quote, the last chance for the world powers to wake
up. These guys are murderers, he says, mass murderers.
Well, CNN's Hadas Gold monitoring the Israeli reaction to the new political landscape in Iran. She joins us live from Jerusalem. Hadas.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Becky, Naftali Bennett, the new prime minister, making those comments during his first ever cabinet meeting as
prime minister. This new government is just over a week old.
But one thing we're seeing based off of those remarks is that although there is a new government, most main stream Israeli politicians agree when
it comes to Iran and agree that they do not want a return to a 2015 nuclear deal.
However, with this new government the approach may be much different than what we have seen in the past under the former administration of former
President Benjamin Netanyahu. It may be a quieter form of diplomacy, compared to Netanyahu's very public displays of disagreement, especially
with the United States over the Iran nuclear deal.
Of course, we all remember that address to the U.S. Congress, which the White House was not very happy with under Netanyahu. In fact, the Americans
and Israelis have agreed to a no surprises policy when it comes to the relationship between them. This happened during a phone call last week
between U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and the foreign minister here, Yair Lapid.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasting that saying he never agreed to a no surprises with the United States because it endangers
Israeli security. Now while you might think that the Israeli government would be unhappy with this new hard line president in Iran, some analyst
here think it could actually play to the Israeli, but because by having this sort of hard line leader with some this belligerent rhetoric, it could
play into the Israeli effort to mobilize the international community against Iran essentially saying listen, you can't trust, you cannot
negotiate with such a leader of such a country. Becky?
ANDERSON: I just want to quote Netanyahu here. I cannot think of a weaker and more emasculated message to our enemies in Iran. I cannot think of a
better gift from the execution from Tehran. He says, from now on he and his friends in the regime know that they can sleep silently with no
He of course was alluding to the new foreign minister's promise to Washington that there would be no surprises. Just how does Israel now take
advantage of a position, as it were, on Iran for the benefit of its relationship with Washington?
GOLD: Well, I mean, they are looking to reset the relationship with Washington, to have a more positive relationship and a bipartisan
relationship, it's something that's been emphasized by this new government.
They want to build up the relationship with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington as they've seen over especially the past few weeks. Israel
becoming a partisan issue in the United States. That's an important part of it. And they want to reset when it comes to sort of the diplomatic
That's why you're seeing this conversations of the no surprises relationship between the U.S. and Israel, something that Netanyahu openly
saying he was for surprises between the U.S. and Israel. But they will still be advocating against this Iranian nuclear deal. Perhaps they think
it will be -- have more success with the sort of quieter diplomacy, more behind the scenes rather the public displays we saw under Netanyahu.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Only time will tell. Hadas, thank you. Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem.
When Ethiopia holds elections amid the shadow of war and famine, let's take a look at the world of humanitarian aid. A package of reforms was launched
five years ago with the goal to make global aid more fair and more efficient.
The Grand Bargain was an agreement between donor nations and aid influencers like the U.N. NGOS and the Red Cross. Well, former humanitarian
chief, Jan Egeland, says I think the taxpayers really want their money to reach people in need faster and with less bureaucracy.
Jan Egeland is the new leader or imminent person, as they call it, of the Grand Bargain, which met this month to evaluate its progress. He's also the
secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and he joins us now live from Rome.
It's good to have you. And this conversation I want to have with you, this discussion or this Grand Bargain is so important and will be fascinating to
our viewers. But I do want to talk and start today with Ethiopia. And the polls there have just closed. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is framing this
election as a test for Ethiopia's diplomacy and has promised that this election will be free of interference.
Today's voting, as you and I know, takes place against the backdrop of conflict, war and famine in Tigray where voting is being postponed. The
security and logistical problems that have halted voting in a fifth of Ethiopia's constituencies we cannot underscore. Is this a free and fair
election to your mind?
JAN EGELAND, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Well, there is no election in Tigray and in many of the other regions where there is only
violence and despair. Of course, elsewhere it is free and fair. Ethiopia is a large country. We're all in favor of democracy. But as humanitarian
workers, our number one concern is the millions and millions who are now suffering alone in Ethiopia.
ANDERSON: Well, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official, outgoing of course, Mark Lowcock, says that food is being used as a weapon against civilians in
Tigray. We will be reminded that the country has a devastating history of man-made famines, causing mass casualties.
You yourself have sounded the alarm repeatedly about the fact that aid is - - has been prevented from reaching tens of thousands of people in the region. Do you remain concerned, and just -- just how worried are you at
EGELAND: I'm extremely worried, and I'm also angry really because we're now in June of 2021. The alarm we sounded was in November of last year when
all of this started and the world was too slow, really. No one thought it would come to this. Well, I went to the border of Tigray in Sudan at the
end of November.
The stories of the women, the children, the young men who had flown, have fled out of Tigray to Sudan, was unanimous. There is massacres; there is
violence, its terror. It will be horrific. And then we saw -- we asked donors, diplomats, the regional leaders, the military and the political
leaders to stop the violence. Didn't stop, and it now is in a condition with more than 5 million people need help.
ANDERSON: Jan, the U.N. Security Council hasn't held a single public session to address this crisis. Why?
EGELAND: Because -- because there are those who think it's best they're kept in darkness, all of this. I mean if you're in the Security Council,
you have to deal with the biggest security regional threats to peace on earth. Leave the Security Council if you don't want to discuss the main
So it's a shame. It should be on the agenda. We, who have been working there now for many, many months. We have been denied access to women and
children who have been suffering alone in the cross fire. We find this a disgrace.
ANDERSON: You've spent your career working for and running aid organizations. You are now the new leader of the Grand Bargain, as its
known, a 2016 agreement to configure the way that aid is run.
And all stakeholders are involved in implementing what I know you believe is reform, which is badly, badly needed. Just explain how badly reform is
needed to the structure of aid around the world and why.
EGELAND: Well, I think those who should really tell us would be those people in Tigray, in the Congo where I was just visiting, in Yemen where I
was earlier this year, in Sudan, that are not getting assistance at the moment. And we're in 2021. We're not in the 1800s.
We're in 2021, and still millions and millions suffer continuously. And there is no one there to help them because there is too little resources.
It reaches them too late, and it's not of the quality which should be there.
So that's why the largest donor nations and the largest humanitarian agencies, various groups of us said we can collectively do better. Aid
should reach people in time and it shouldn't get leaked to bureaucracy and reporting and sitting in funds on the way. It should reach people.
ANDERSON: This Grand Bargain reform agenda has been around now for about five years. You are now in charge. What are you going to do differently,
which will affect some concrete change and effective action going forward?
EGELAND: Well, I would, and able secretary (ph), would put before the main donors and the main agencies some very concrete proposals. The hassles of
the progress -- let me give you one.
Five years ago people thought that to get people in need cash in hand would be wrong. They would misuse it. It would be disappearing. It would not
work. Now since then cash has been the way we are helping people because they are handling this very responsibly.
So there has been a cash revolution. People have been empowered with that. Another one is that many donor nations like the Scandinavians from where I
hail, are now giving more and more of their assistance as multi-year predictably with flexibility so it doesn't go to the army of auditors and
report makers and so on that are needed with some other donors. But all in all, there's been too little progress. So, I need to be pushing ideas
really. I need to convince people that it is urgent that we reach more people quicker.
ANDERSON: Because this foreign aid is at the end of the day taxpayer money, isn't it? And according to OECD data, this aid from official donors
rose to an all-time high in 2020. We are also seeing record levels of displacement.
The U.N. has warned that 207 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030. And that's due to the long term impact, of course, of the
pandemic as well. Our viewers will be wondering why it is that we are seeing record levels of aid and at the same time record levels of
displacement of people, which is pushing record numbers of people into poverty. Something has gone very badly wrong, hasn't it?
EGELAND: Yes, indeed. I mean there are three reasons really that we have the highest needs in my time as a humanitarian worker. And I've been a
humanitarian worker for more than 40 years. It's conflict. They are spreading to new places. They are worse. They are more gruesome and they
affect many more people.
Then you have climate change-fuelled disasters displacing people in unbelievable numbers. And then you have the economic meltdown of the COVID
pandemic. Those who are surviving on $1 a day lost the $1 because of the paralyzing of the economy.
So needs exploded. And at the same time there is more -- there is more aid. But the average rich country gives up to 0.2 or up to a quarter of a
percentage of gross national income in assistance. And there are many countries, which is important for you, Becky, and your channel, to try to
get new donors on board.
Many countries are much richer than my own country, Norway, was when we started to give 0.7 percent of gross national income in assistance. It's
like they say its 10 countries in the northwest that should be humanitarian donors.
I think there should be 50, 60 nations now being able to provide. And then we commit to be more efficient with that assistance.
ANDERSON: Jan Egeland, never one to hold back, sir. And thank you for your analysis and for your work.
EGELAND: Thank you, Becky.
ANDERSON: We appreciate it. And we started that conversation by talking about Ethiopia, where there is an election going on. Whether it is free and
fair, as the prime minister hopes it will be, when something like a fifth of the districts cannot actually vote today.
Well, that remains to be seen. But we is have just heard that the Ethiopian government or certainly the electoral commission has now extended voting by
three hours. Their voting had stopped officially about 45 minutes ago. But there are still queues of people, lines of people across the country where
you can vote.
And so Ethiopia just extending voting by three hours. We're not expected to get a result from that election for a couple of days.
Coming up on the show, Tokyo Olympic organizers decide to allow some fans into the stands when the games begin, as health officials warn against it.
A live report is just ahead.
And later, the woman checking the heart beat of Iran and offering invitation into the soul of a country too often seen only through the prism
of news headlines. What real Iranians think of their home. That is coming up.
ANDERSON: Some fans of the Olympic Games in Tokyo will now be able to see their favorite athletes performing live. After much speculation, Olympic
organizers decided on Monday to allow about 10,000 people, about 50 percent capacity, to watch the games in person.
Organizers said attendance could be revised if COVID numbers rise or a state of emergency is put in place. And the decision comes despite warnings
from health officials over the weekend. Protesters took to the streets to object to the games taking place during the pandemic.
Well CNN's Selina Wang joining us now with more. And is it clear whether these are just domestic spectators or actually at this point are the
organizers hoping that these may indeed be international fans?
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it was already decided that overseas fans were banned, so we were really waiting for the decision on
how many local domestic spectators can attend. And now they're saying 50 percent capacity or up to a maximum of 10,000.
But that is still going against the advice of Japan's top COVID-19 adviser who recommended the games be held without any spectators. Now, for the
spectators that do come to these games, however, it's not going to be the normal fun and celebration.
They're asked to go directly from their homes to Olympic venues and back to where they're masks at all times, no cheering or shouting allowed. So not
just for the spectators was it going to be an unusual experience, but for the athletes too.
And just this past weekend, organizers unveiled the Olympic village to the press. I had a chance to spend all day there and get an inside look into
how the athletes are going to be eating, sleeping and relaxing in Tokyo.
WANG: The Olympic village, a city within a city, built for the world's best athletes. For the Tokyo games, thousands of Olympians from more than
200 countries will be living here, preparing for the defining moment in their sporting careers.
Normally a place for partying and celebration, this year it's going to be an antisocial sanitized bubble, full of COVID testing, health centers and
staying far apart from one another.
At the athlete's village plaza, there's everything the Olympians will need; cafe, bank, internet, hair salon, and much, much more. Normally a place for
athletes to hang out, mix, and mingle; instead there are signs everywhere reminding people to wear their masks and socially distance themselves.
But the majority in Japan still don't want the Olympics to happen. Actually a protest is going on behind me as they are debuting the Olympic village to
the press. There are 3,800 rooms in these 21 buildings to house the athlete's.
This is a replica of an athlete's room. The athletes have to share rooms, which some public health experts say increases the risks of starting COVID.
The Olympians are also going to be sleeping on beds made out of cardboard, recyclable.
But don't worry, they're extremely sturdy and can hold more than 400 pounds. Athletes are contact traced and tested for COVID every day. If they
test positive for COVID, they have to come to this fever clinic to get tested again. If that COVID test comes back positive yet again, they would
have to take dedicated to an isolation facility outside the Olympic village and they then lose their chance to compete.
They're only allowing two-thirds of capacity here at the dining hall. And normally a place for meeting and chatting, instead, athletes are asked to
dine alone, separated by plastic barriers and to leave as soon as they finish eating after wiping down their seats.
In the athletes gym where they have to keep their masks on at all times and will be separated by new barriers. Athletes can only arrive five days
before their competition and have to leave within two. Now condoms (ph) will still be passed out per tradition but they are only given as athletes
are leaving the village.
It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build all this. After the games, they'll be turned into residential apartments. Before that, this is
going to house athletes for an Olympics like no other.
WANG: Becky, what really stuck out that to me about that tour was the bedrooms, the cardboard boxes that the beds are made out of. And I took a
tour of one bedroom, in particular, that was a suite housing up to eight athletes. There would be four athletes per one bathroom to share. I asked
the organizers about this in the health and safety precautions.
And they said that they would only allow athletes from the same country to stay in rooms together. But still, many public experts say that is a risk.
ANDERSON: Selina, thank you.
Vibrant, educated and curious about the world, the real Iran, as told my Iranians. A journalist guides us through their stories just ahead.
ANDERSON: Well, we hear plenty about Iran's politics, as we've seen this hour. But what about its real lives? Well journalis, Tara Kangarlou has
brought together stories of what you might call people to people diplomacy, ranging from a transgender woman in Tehran to a hardworking Saffron farmer
to the country's first female race car driver. Take a look now at the heart beat of Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARA KANGARLOU, JOURNALIST: It is a country of 80 million human beings, not 80 million centrifuges. Iranian people are different from their
government. I wanted to delve into culture, art, music, the LGBTQ community, women's issues of course, and the impact of sanctions, the
economy, sports, religion, especially the youth because if the youth in this incredibly talented, vibrant, well educated population have the
opportunity, they can not only contribute to their society but the broader region and also the global communities.
One of my favorite stories is of this incredibly wonderful young woman who lived in the poorest state in Iran. She's an environmental activist. She
just finished her PhD. and she's blind. This girl's story is not just about how she got from point A to point B, but rather the journey as a woman
facing disability in an incredibly conservative society.
In Iran, there are an enormous amount of vibrancy and talent that are only met, if only recognized, their lives would be much different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's a very good evening from Abu Dhabi.