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Ethiopian Capital Braces for Advance of Rebel Forces; COP26: Push to Phase Out Coal; OPEC+ under Pressure to Boost Output; Man Charged in Abduction of Australian Girl; Cuba Protests. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 10:00   ET





ABIY AHMED, ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This pit, which is dug very deep, will be where the enemy will be buried.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): A dark warning from Ethiopia's prime minister on the anniversary of the country's year-long conflict.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The world has an adaptation gap. A new U.N. report suggests pledges made at the climate summit are not enough to stop the

climate crisis.

And --



ANDERSON (voice-over): The dramatic moments this little girl was rescued after being missing for 18 days.



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

We start with growing fears that the year-long conflict in Ethiopia will erupt into a full-scale war. Rebels from the country's Tigray and Oromo

regions seemingly preparing to advance on the capital, Addis Ababa. The battle for Ethiopia's Tigray region started last November. The prime

minister declared it would end quickly.

A year later, with thousands of people killed and millions more displaced, this is what the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner said on Wednesday.


AHMED (through translator): This pit, which is dug very deep, will be where the enemy will be buried, not where Ethiopia disintegrates. We will

bury this enemy with our blood and bones and with the glory of Ethiopia high up again.


ANDERSON: The U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa traveled to Ethiopia today to try to defuse tensions. America now authorizing the

departure of nonemergency personnel from the country. CNN's David McKenzie connecting us today from Nairobi.

I want you to just give us a sense of how we got here, a year in. Before we do that, state TV in Ethiopia suggesting that a state of emergency has been


What does that mean going forward?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it gives the government broad powers to arrest those, who they feel are working against the government,

and also crack down as they see fit. It is something that is brought in by the equivalent of Ethiopia's cabinet.

It is a serious step. They have been there before and it does mean this is a clear indication the prime minister is digging in. He's not backing out

with -- despite calls for him to leave.

And with conflicting information of rebels closing in on the capital, this is clearly a marked escalation of this conflict.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Through a year of bloody conflict, Ethiopia's crisis was centered mostly here in Tigray, the far north. That's changing

fast. Tigray defense force rebels shown in Dessie this week, just 250 miles from Addis Ababa.

They are threatening to move on the capital and, in an unlikely alliance, they joined up with the Oromo Liberation Army. That has links to the

country's largest ethnic group.

AHMED: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): United against this man; the prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed promised the conflict would be swift.

Now he's asking citizens to take up arms to defend Addis and the nation is in a state of emergency.

AHMED: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): But this conflict has embarrassed Abiy and threatens the very makeup of Ethiopia, a key U.S. ally in the region. The

U.S. has sent a senior diplomat to try and stave off a collapse.

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We are gravely concerned by the escalating violence, by the expansion of fighting that we have seen in

northern Ethiopia and in regions throughout the country. We are concerned with the growing risk to the unity and the integrity of the Ethiopian


MCKENZIE (voice-over): The conflict has been marked by allegations of awful human rights atrocities and indiscriminate killings, highlighted by

CNN's reporting. And the government is accused of withholding food aid to desperate Tigrayans facing famine, something they deny.



MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: We have reasonable grounds to believe that, during this period, all parties through

the Tigray conflict have committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.

Some of this may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Abiy came into power promising to unite Ethiopians under a new national identity. He squeezed the Tigrayans out of political

power but Ethiopia is a fragile collection of regions, often with their own ethnic loyalties and militias.

And Abiy's military strike on Tigray, after their attempt to break away from federal control, set up this titanic struggle. On Wednesday, the

capital was calm, people going about their business as usual.

An Ethiopian government official blamed the international media for an alarmist narrative but the sight of these rebels calmly walking through a

major city, far from Tigray, gives no doubt that Abiy is under threat -- David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


ANDERSON: David, before I let you go, is it clear what happens next?

We know there is a state of emergency and you have explained what that means.

But where are we at?

There is much talk we're on the brink of a full-scale war at this point.

Are we?

MCKENZIE: I think that is the worry, of course. That is why the Horn of Africa envoy of the United States is in Addis today and tomorrow at least

to have high-level talks there, including with the prime minister we believe.

There is a real fear we could see events unfolding like we saw decades ago, with rebels moving on to Addis with a very bloody scenario. I think we're

not necessarily there yet. There is talk of the rebels pushing on to Addis; I don't think that is a cakewalk. There are conflicting information, how

close they are to the capital.

And just from a military standpoint, there're still considerable forces of the national government that could be brought to bear on them. You see that

reaction from Abiy; he's willing to dig in.

His issues are as much military as they are political, with a large ethnic group turning their back on him officially and joining up with the

Tigrayans in essence, could push him into a corner.

In terms of the coalition that brought him into power in the first place, if people fear that the prime minister or feel that the prime minister is

losing that support, his days could be numbered. But that is a political decision, not a military one.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. My next guest -- thank you, David -- was heavily involved in writing a joint report from the U.N.'s main human

rights body and Ethiopia's state appointed human rights commission.

Maarit Kohonen Sheriff is chief of the Africa branch for the U.N. Human Rights High Commission and joins me now from Geneva.

Some very troubling findings in that report, including the likelihood that both sides committed war crimes. Aid agencies and rights groups have been

warning since the outset that these atrocities, these indiscriminate killings, have been carried out.

Why has this taken so long?

MAARIT KOHONEN SHERIFF, OHCHR CHIEF OF AFRICA BRANCH: Well, thank you, Becky for having us. Actually until now human rights organizations and

until we went on the ground had no access to the region.

So it has been extremely important that we are able to go and see and speak to the victims, to hear their voices, so that the report like ours is able

to describe the unfathomable suffering that they are currently undergoing. Violations by all sides, abuses by all sides, crimes against humanity,

potentially war crimes.


ANDERSON: Can you still hear me?

SHERIFF: Yes, I can. Go ahead.

ANDERSON: Good. I want to talk about what the consequences of this report may or may not be. But in July of this year, Human Rights Watch criticized

the United Nations for inaction, writing, and I quote, "For eight months, the Security Council has failed to even meet publicly on Tigray, let alone

act to prevent further atrocities."

They went on to say, "Convening an open briefing is a start. But given the council's abdication of its responsibilities, diplomats need to move from

making statements to taking action," a failure on the part of the United Nations, says Human Rights Watch.

And that was some months ago.

Do you accept that the U.N., U.S. and others were extremely slow to start open deliberations and diplomacy?


ANDERSON: This was all, quite frankly, kept behind closed doors, wasn't it?

SHERIFF: Well, actually I can't speak for the United Nations Security Council because those are member states. And we would share the assessment

of Human Rights Watch about the inaction of the Security Council. They should have taken action earlier. So should have the Human Rights Council.

So that's clear.

The United Nations, we have acted as soon as we could, both in terms of humanitarian and human rights, as well as engaging in political dialogue

behind the scenes.

But to really, I think it is very, very clear that we have laid out the facts, we have demonstrated how this civilian population is suffering to

the deepest extent, whether executions, whether it is rape, whether it is torture, killings; their livelihoods have been destroyed; 400,000 people in

Tigray live under famine-like conditions.

So now it is for those in power to act. It is not only about accountability, it is about the aid getting to those who need it before

they die.

ANDERSON: You make a very obvious and good point.

What are the consequences of this report, for our viewers, who might say, well, we kind of knew what was going on on the ground. We have been hearing

this for months and months. We've got this report. It is very troubling in its findings.

What are the consequences?

What happens next?

SHERIFF: Well, look, we -- first of all, the report is one of the first of its kind in terms of an impartial account that has actually managed to talk

directly to victims because most of the other reports have been remote monitoring.

So, yes, we confirmed the scale and the horrific nature of the violations. We affirmed t and we've laid down enough evidence so that this could lead

to legal -- further criminal investigations and legal prosecutions of those responsible.

Because just as well as an imminent cease-fire cessation of hostilities, political dialogue is important. The victims told us that they want to know

the truth and they want the perpetrator to be condemned and to be -- to be paying for the crimes they have committed.

ANDERSON: Is it this an impartial report?

It was put together, written with the support of the Ethiopia state- appointed human rights commission.

SHERIFF: It is impartial. It is impartial because we insisted on the methodology that is impartial, that is tried and tested. And it is

impartial in its findings, it's a faithful description of the facts we found.

But we're not neutral because we're on the side of the victim. So the report is not neutral. The report is on the side of the victim, portraying

their suffering because, in the end, both parties are guilty.

And depending on the time of the conflict and the time scale, some part during the first part of the conflict, it clear the Ethiopian forces and

the Eritrean forces committed the majority of the violations.

But at the same time, when Tigrayans took over, they also engaged in a lot of serious human rights abuses. So the constant here, Becky, during this

past year is the suffering of civilians and the horrendous human rights violations they're undergoing -- without accountability.

ANDERSON: You clearly have done an awful lot of work to understand what is going on or has been going on on the ground. There is now a state of


What are your concerns at this point?

You documented the suffering of, the human suffering over the past year.

What happens -- are you concerned this is now on the brink of full-scale war?

SHERIFF: Well, certainly there is the concern because now the conflict is nearing the capital, the civilian population; the suffering is expanding

but also the humanitarian aid is not getting to those in need.

So which means there will be more people without food, without water, without essential medication. Children are being drafted into the conflict.

Their education is interrupted. The health centers are destroyed.

So all these issues are really undermining. On the other hand, and compounded by this sort of incitement to ethnic hatred, the kind of

statements we've heard in the more recent days, the shelling of Mekelle and other civilian infrastructures, is really means the conflict is escalating

at the moment to tragic proportions.

ANDERSON: Well, we thank you for giving us the time and we will continue to report on this story, as we have been doing on an almost daily basis

since this time last year. This is --

SHERIFF: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: -- sadly the one-year anniversary of a conflict that the prime minister of Ethiopia suggested would last just weeks.

Still ahead, more countries are pledging to phase out coal at the climate summit, which underway, as you all now know, in Scotland.

Will coal mines soon be a thing of the past?

A reality check and live report is coming up.


ANDERSON: Even as the fight against fossil fuels intensifies, pressure is mounting on OPEC and its allies to pump more oil.

What will the alliance decide at its big meeting today?

We'll do more on that after this.





ANDERSON: A new U.N. report warns the world is not adapting fast enough to the climate crisis. This as Britain declares that the end of coal is in

sight. At COP26 in Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland, 23 new countries made commitments to phase out coal.

The single biggest contributor to climate change but not signing up, some of the world's biggest coal consumers and emitters, including the U.S.,

China and India. Earlier, at least 20 countries agreed to stop publicly financing or public financing for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of

next year.

But some climate experts say the focus only on coal falls spectacularly short of what is needed to tackle the climate crisis. Let's get the latest

from COP26, start there. CNN's Phil Black is at the summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Phil, how significant is this pledge, nonbinding, I hasten to add, from countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, to phase out their use of coal-fired

power and stop building new plants?

What is the sense?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we've had a lot of deals announced today, Becky. That's one of them.

It is, on one hand, thought to be significant. It signals there is a continued shift away from coal.

The weakness, of course, it doesn't have it didn't have the biggest users on board yesterday. But the list of countries is growing. The ambition and

the timeframe, that's not quite what some people with like to see, either. It is talking about developed countries doing so, committing to doing so by

the end of the 2030s, developing countries by the end of the 2040s.

The hope was that would be at least 10 years earlier in both cases. So this is progress of a kind but not as much as people had hoped.

You mentioned another deal there; this is a commitment by 20 countries to no longer invest public finances in fossil fuel projects abroad. This one

has been described by analysts as historic. This does include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, some other European countries and,

interestingly, some developing countries as well.

This is important because you might recall, G20 countries recently said, we're not going to fund coal projects abroad anymore. This goes further

because it is not just coal; it is other fossil fuels. It is gas. It is oil as well.

This is something that sends a pretty powerful signal because a lot of countries, well, some countries looking at giving up coal, transition in

the short-term to natural gas. It is carbon -- it is less intensive in a carbon sense but it is not zero carbon, which is what everyone should be

aiming for.

This sends a pretty powerful message, we're told, that, from both the developed countries that fund these projects and the developing countries

that signed on to it, they believe that you don't need to continue investing in carbon fuel to ensure economic growth, particularly for those

developing countries.

So that is a significant announcement, one that is said to have a really big impact in terms of just how international and public international

finance will be directed in the coming years.

What it indicates is that a lot more of it is going to be going into renewable energies. And this has the backing of key developed countries and

developing countries as well, who are still looking to prosper and increase the quality of life for their citizens.

ANDERSON: Phil Black at the COP26 meeting.

And while stakeholders there try to put an end to coal-fired power stations and really minimize the impact of fossil fuels going forward, OPEC+ is

meeting this hour in a video conference, OPEC and its allies under intense pressure from oil-consuming countries to cool the oil market.

That means pumping more crude. Keep in mind, crude prices are at the highest level in seven years but the alliance isn't expected to open the

taps at today's virtual meeting.

Industry watchers say one reason is that oil companies aren't keen to ramp up production because of the uncertain outlook for demand and that is

largely due to the climate crackdown around the world, amongst other things.

I want to bring in CNN's Eleni Giokos reporting live from Dubai on this.

OPEC+ members are expected to keep oil markets very tight. And they're not going to turn the taps on anytime soon. That is the sense we're getting

from this meeting.

What does that mean for oil consuming countries?


ANDERSON: Let's just put America slam in the crosshairs here.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, it is such an interesting scenario that is playing out because you've got environment

ministers and leaders meeting at COP26, saying everyone needs to pull back, you shouldn't be investing in anything fossil fuel related going forward.

We need to wean ourselves off the dirty resources.

On the other hand, you have world leaders like Joe Biden, leaders from Japan and India, saying, OPEC+, you need to increase supply of oil because

these prices that you're talking about, sitting at seven-year highs, are basically causing inflationary problems. They're impacting households and

it could derail the economic recovery.

So here's the conundrum. It is great that we're talking about a transition into, you know, a better and cleaner environment when it comes to energy

consumption. But you cannot turn off the taps this quickly.

The other problem is you've got the oil producers being asked to commit to net zero plans. And many of them have and they're talking about a

transition. But in the meantime, they want to make sure they make as much money as they possibly can from these resources that have been their bread

and butter for such a long time.

Right now OPEC+ leaders are meeting; we know they should be coming up with a decision very soon. It is unlikely, according to analysts, that they will

be increasing supply; they're doing so incrementally.

The demand destruction we saw last year, when oil prices went to zero and below zero level, now up by 60 percent, it caused incredible fiscal pain

for oil producers. Many are happy with the levels right now but it is causing an energy crisis and a major problem for the consumers of this

fossil fuel.

ANDERSON: Eleni, thank you.

A day after a missing Australian girl was found safe, the man accused of taking her is charged in her disappearance. New details are emerging as the

suspect appears in court. A live report on that is up next.

Plus, vaccinations brought the number of COVID cases down in many parts of the world. But Europe has yet to get a handle on that pandemic. We'll take

a look at some of the reasons why.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi, 27 minutes past 6:00 here. Back in a bit.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.


ANDERSON: The suspect arrested in the abduction of a little Australian girl appeared in court today on various charges, including forcibly taking

a child under 16. Four-year-old Cleo Smith was rescued on Wednesday, 18 days after she vanished from a remote campsite where her family was


She was found locked in a home about 50 kilometers from where she went missing. Ivan Watson with the latest developments from Hong Kong.

What else are we learning about the investigation and this incredible little girl?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The police force, they released some audio of what they say were those initial moments when

they found Cleo Smith in a locked house, in her hometown. Take a listen to the remarkable bits of audio.


BLAINE: Hi. Come here. I got you, bubby.

What's your name?

You're all right.

What's your name?

What's your name, sweetheart?

CLEO SMITH, 4-YEAR OLD: My name is Cleo.

BLAINE: Your name is Cleo.

Hello, Cleo.


WATSON: Now that moment, Becky, the police, veteran police officers say that the discovery, the rescue of Cleo Smith 18 days after she disappeared,

left a lot of veteran police officers choked up and in tears, because this had been a colossal manhunt, at least 140 police officers involved.

Now of course, Cleo has since been reunited with her very relieved family. And we are told that she is in good physical condition at this point.

As for the suspect, well, the police say they detained a 36-year-old man hours before that remarkable rescue, which -- they found Cleo, the 4-year

old, in the house at around 1:00 am with the lights on, playing with toys and awake by herself.

Now the man is a 36-year old. He was in police custody on Thursday and was briefly taken to a hospital because police say he conducted self-harm but

then was taken back and later taken to court.

Among the charges he faces, one count, as you mentioned, of forcibly taking a child under the age of 16. CNN's affiliates Channel 7 and Channel 9

report that the man's name is Terence Kelly.

And the police have said that he is not related to the family of Cleo Smith and that it appeared to be that the alleged abduction was a spontaneous


The police are also staying very quiet about how they found the suspect and Cleo herself, saying it was a hard slog, involving going through just

mountains of cell phone data and security camera footage and eyewitness testimony. The premier of Western Australia visited with the family of Cleo

Smith and said that she is doing a lot of sleeping and a lot of eating and of lying around and cuddling -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank God she's OK.

Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar now.

The U.S. is rejecting Iran's claims that the American Navy tried to confiscate Iranian crude oil aboard a tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Now

Iran's Revolutionary Guard says U.S. warships and helicopters chased the tanker in an attempt to take it over but failed. U.S. Pentagon calls the

accusations, quote, "absolutely totally false and untrue."

The U.S. Air Force has conducted an investigation into a U.S. drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians in August. It found evidence of children

at the site two minutes before the missile was launched but says that evidence was not visible to those who carried out the operation.

The review concluded that, though execution errors were made, the law, they said, was not broken.

Cash-starved Lebanon is trying to mend fences with some wealthy Gulf states. The Lebanese prime minister says he is determined to restore

relations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

They all withdrew their ambassadors over some critical comments from this man, Lebanon's information minister, about the war in Yemen, where Saudi

Arabia is fighting Iran-backed Houthi militants.

A group of activists in Cuba say the government there is openly harassing them for planning peaceful protests across the nation later this month. It

comes after historic demonstrations over the summit rattled the country and led to what was a major crackdown on dissent.


ANDERSON: Our man in Havana, Patrick Oppmann, has more.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the aftermath of widespread unprecedented protests in Cuba in July, the Cuban government

arrested hundreds of people and carried out mass trials.

Afterwards, government officials claimed the Cuban people have a legal right to protest peacefully, even though demonstrations here are quickly

broken up by police. Some activists sensed an opening.

"Cubans have spent too much time in silence," he says. "It is time to open our mouths with liberty and say what we think."

Yunior Garcia Aguilera is an award winning playwright and actor, who has put on shows approved by the Cuban government.

But Garcia Aguilera says he is increasingly being treated as an enemy of the state, after he took part in this protest outside Cuban State TV in

Havana in July and was arrested. He says he still doesn't know if he will face charges.

A group he helped form, called Archipelago, announced peaceful protests across Cuba in November. Cuban officials have threatened the playwright and

other organizers with prosecution, alleging they work for Cuba's cold war nemesis, the United States, something Archipelago organizers have denied to


"Its promoters, the political projections and ties with subversive organizations or agencies financed by the U.S. government," he says, "have

no open intention of changing the political system in our country."

Garcia Aguilera says he is increasingly being harassed by the Cuban government ahead of the unauthorized protests.

After apparently tapping his phones, Cuban officials aired a call of Garcia Aguilar's on TV. They say it shows he has been in touch with Cuban exiles

abroad. Garcia Aguilera alleges that, although he is under constant police surveillance, someone placed these dead birds on his doorstep, apparently

as a warning.

Cuban officials have not responded to his allegations of harassment. Even his group's name is apparently forbidden. After activists told me about it,

I thought I would give it a try. I'm attempting to text from one phone to another the name of the group in Spanish, Archipelago, and the date of the

protest and the texts simply don't arrive.

Apparently Cuba's state telecom provider is blocking all information about the group's protests, as it often does with words and terms that are

considered to be too politically sensitive.

The Cuban government announced the island will now carry out large- scale military exercises on the same date Archipelago had planned a protest for.

Protest organizers say that, by putting armed government supporters into the streets, the state is trying to scare demonstrators into staying home.

Garcia Aguilera says his demonstration will now take place five days earlier but he says, he may be arrested and face a lengthy prison sentence

before he ever has a chance to publicly demand change -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


ANDERSON: We are taking a short break. When we come back, in the world of football, Spurs get set for the start of their new chapter under a new


But will he, Antonio Conte, put this club back on or toward the top?

We'll look at that after this.





ANDERSON: Europe is still struggling to get a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. Germany has just marked its highest number of daily COVID-19

cases since the outbreak began. About a third of Germany has not yet been vaccinated.

The news is similar across the continent. While the infection rates decline, in many parts of the world, Europe is seeing the opposite. The

World Health Organization's European director calls the trend "a grave concern." Kim Brunhuber has the story.


KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters clashing with police in the Hague this week. They were angry over new COVID measures

after the Dutch prime minister announced that starting November 6th masks will be mandatory inside most public spaces like museums and gyms. Citizens

will also need proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to get in.

In the Netherlands, new COVID infections are surging, rising in the months since previous social distancing measures were eased. It's just one of

several European countries fighting new waves of the pandemic.

In Germany, infections, deaths and hospitalizations all growing. The health minister says the country is experiencing a massive pandemic of the


Now at least one border town is tightening rules as cases surge. Clubs and other entertainment venues will be off limits to anyone who has not been


In Greece, there were more than 6,000 new COVID infections Wednesday. The country's most in a day since the start of the pandemic. Russia and the

Ukraine also reaching record high numbers of new infections.

Some European countries like Spain, Italy, France and Portugal have avoided the same trend but the continent's overall average of new cases has been

rising for more than 5 weeks while infections seem to be declining in the world's other regions.

Tides are changing once again in the pandemic as countries in both east and western Europe struggle with new waves -- Kim Brunhuber, CNN.