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Connect the World
Belarus says it's Waiting on Decision from Germany; Europe Battles Case Surge While Trying to Protect Economies; Analysts Warn of Intensifying Arms Race Across Asia; Workers Told to Stay at Home and Nightclubs to Close Early; New Delhi Schools Close as Toxic Smog Engulfs Indian Capital; Self- Portrait by Frida Kahlo Sells for $34.9 Million. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 17, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Dubai. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this hour we take a deeper dive into the growing prices on Europe's border. Belarus and Russia
flexing their military muscles that's causing neighboring countries namely Ukraine to scale up security.
Last hour, I spoke to Ukraine's Foreign Minister who told me Vladimir Putin is orchestrating the tracks of diplomacy to extract concessions from the
EU, more on that interview in a moment. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World".
First up let's begin with some relief finally for about thousands of those migrants stranded in the bitter cold at the border of Belarus and Poland.
They've been moved to a processing center inside Belarus about a kilometer and a half from the border crossing.
And today the European Union allocated close to $800,000 dollars in humanitarian assistance to deliver items like food and first aid kits to
them. Well, meanwhile pressure is building on Belarus; Polish officials accused the country of trying to destabilize Poland and the entire EU by
luring migrants to the border, which Belarus has denied.
And the EU is calling on Belarus to take urgent action to restore security at the Belarusian Polish border after anger boiled over into violent
clashes Tuesday between migrants and Polish guards. Well, about thousand migrants at that border crossing demanding entry into Poland are still
refusing to leave.
But as I mentioned, others are being moved out of the cold and in to a processing center which has been converted from a cargo facility. Matthew
Chance got to look inside earlier today and filed this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are right in the middle of this processing center that over the course of the
past just 12 hours or so since last night after that violence ended. Belarusian officials and forces have been moving the migrants from that
forest camp, bringing them indoors at this location about a mile back from the border crossing with Poland.
It's still you know, pretty you know, rudimentary conditions that people are in. But at least we are inside with some shelter from the increasingly
cold weather conditions outside; you know people have got mattresses to sleep on. They've got blankets to put over them. They're being given food
outside; they've been given hot tea and bread.
The Belarusian officials that we've spoken to say, they aim to provide these people with at least one hot meal a day, still not very much. But
it's better than no hot meals a day. And you can see, the general atmosphere here is a lot sort of, I wouldn't say happy that people are a
lot more comfortable than they were outside in the freezing forest camp right up against the razor wire of the Polish border.
The big question is, of course, what is going to happen next to these people? Are they ever going to achieve their, you know, objective of
getting into the European Union, it doesn't look like at the moment the reaction of the Polish authorities yesterday, spraying the crowds with
water cannon to push them back from any prospect of getting near to the barricades was an indication that the polls at least in the European Union
in general, are reluctant to take these people in.
And we're being told by better Russian officials that they are waiting for a decision from Germany, about whether there is some kind of humanitarian
corridor that could be open, possibly via Poland, possibly by air straight from here to Germany?
But that is not confirmed at all. And in fact, over the past couple of days, the Germans have made it clear. They don't intend to take these
people in either. The alternative according to Belarusian officials is that these people will ultimately be deported back to their countries of origin
for the most part that would be Iraq. The majority of people here are from Iraqi Kurdistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the majority of those people let's not dehumanize them they are men, women and children Matthew Chance reporting from Belarus.
ANDERSON: I want to bring in Frederik Pleitgen now. He as a view from the Polish side of the border and what do you understand to be the situation
with the other thousand or so migrants who are, as I understand it still on the Belarusian side of the border up very close to that razor wire faced by
these Polish security forces.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, it seems as though from the last pictures that were not information that we've
actually gotten from the Polish side that there are still maybe about thousands of them who are still camped up against that border fence. So
certainly, it doesn't appear as though that situation has been fully resolved.
Of course, many of them have been able to go to that shelter that Matthew was just talking about there. But all of them, of course, still very much
in limbo as to what could potentially happen next.
One of the things, of course, that we've been talking about, Becky, is the fact that the EU has now said that it will donate some 700,000 euros in
order to at least alleviate some of the worst suffering that's going on there amongst those people, obviously, getting food and possibly getting
blankets working together with NGOs that are operating in Belarus.
But one of the interesting things that Matthew was just talking about there was the prospect of those talks between Angela Merkel and Alexander
Lukashenko and obviously, some of the migrants waiting for some news as to what could happen there.
It appears as though and actually we've gotten confirmation just now, Becky, that there was actually a second call between Alexander Lukashenko
and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, you have two different readouts of that, on the side of Alexander Lukashenko. This comes from the Belarusian.
And I've literally gotten this in, but I do want to give it to our viewers, because of course, it is very important. They said, in the same context, he
said that they obviously talked about the problem at the border. In the same context, the decision will be made on the wish of refugees to go to
That's from the Belarusian side, from the German side actually also just got a tweet from the German government spokesman as well. And he says that
this call took place. He said that Angela Merkel underlined the need to ensure humanitarian care and return opportunities for the people affected
with the support of the UNHCR.
So obviously, the Germans not committing to anything there, but certainly we can confirm that a second call has taken place between Alexander
Lukashenko and Angela Merkel. At the same time, we always have to point out that the Polish side continues to say that those people are not going to be
able to enter the European Union, at least not through that border crossing where of course, you have all those Polish forces so that people there
still very much in limbo.
Some of them at least in a better situation than before but of course, Poles also saying they don't believe that this crisis is going to be solved
anytime soon in fact, the Polish government today said they believe that the situation could go on for years Becky.
ANDERSON: The story on both sides of that Belarusian Polish border, and indeed, the view in Germany. Thank you. Well, there are accusations that
Russia may actually be behind the chaos along that border.
My colleague, Sam Kiley, just returned from Moscow told me on the show yesterday that Russia is working hand in hand with Belarus in a two pronged
effort to sow chaos in the West. It was said to be encouraging migrants to come to that to Belarus border and then try and cross into Western Europe.
CNN experts I've spoken to say the other part of Vladimir Putin's plan involves Ukraine. Russia already annexed Crimea in 2014. As you're well
known, Russian backed separatists control portions of eastern Ukraine. Russia has recently been seen moving more troops and more weapons into that
area, perhaps signaling that another invasion is a possibility.
Even though Ukraine is not a formal member of NATO there are, of course close ties and cooperation between them. Earlier this week, Ukraine's
Foreign Minister went to NATO Headquarters to talk about the growing threat that Russia poses to Kiev. Here's what NATO's Secretary General had to say
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: In recent weeks, we have seen large and unusual concentrations of Russian forces close to Ukraine's
borders, similar to Russia's buildup in Crimea and the Black Sea region earlier this year. NATO remains vigilant. We are monitoring this situation
And we continue to consult among allies and partners such as Ukraine and the European Union. Any further provocation or aggressive actions by Russia
would be of serious concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, you see then how all of this has implications far beyond the borders of Belarus, or, indeed Ukraine. Last hour I spoke to Ukraine's
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. I asked him how worried he is about Russian troop movements near his country's border have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, we are concerned indeed we Ukraine have been fighting this war for seven years. There were ups and
downs in this fight. But this moment seems to be extremely tense, not only because of the military buildup of Russia along our border, but also
because other element of the crisis that we observing in Europe.
When Russia uses gas as a weapon, migrants as a weapon, and is bringing more weapons to the border with Ukraine.
ANDERSON: You see, all of this is interlinked, do you?
KULEBA: Yes. We think President Putin orchestrates these tracks of diplomacy and of aggressive diplomacy and aggressive military actions in
order to kind of invite Europe to a dialogue and to press out concessions from them.
ANDERSON: Question is how serious is Moscow about its intentions with Ukraine? Are you confident that NATO the U.S. the EU will come to your aid
and risk a confrontation with Russia? Should it decide to cross the border into Ukraine to invade Ukraine?
KULEBA: Well, back in 2014, Russia already crossed the border with Ukraine and launched a war here. And it had a very ambitious plan. It was the
sacrifice of our soldiers of the people of Ukraine, and systemic support political and economic support coming from the West that helped us to ruin
So we did not expect that any foreign power will come and fight for us, we will fight this war to defend our country. But of course, we expect
systemic and efficient pressure coming from our partners in on diplomatic, economic, and military tracks to first deter Russia. This is goal number -
objective number one is to deter Russia from taking aggressive action.
ANDERSON: How important is the latest U.S. military aid package to Ukraine? And do you need more?
KULEBA: This package is a result of an agreement reached between President Biden and President Zelensky in early September in Washington. It arrived
in a very timely manner. It is a message of support in itself. It's much appreciated. It strengthened Ukraine's defense capacity.
And we do need more of this support coming from different corners. And we are working with U.S. partners to achieve that. And this was one of the
topics I discussed with U.S. partners in both Washington last week and in Brussels this week.
ANDERSON: Who are you leaning on for that support, specifically in Europe?
KULEBA: Well, first of all, you know, we count on ourselves. When it comes to our partners we have excellent, trustful cooperation with the United
States with the United Kingdom with Central European countries like Poland. And but again, in this big diplomatic and military game, every partner can
add a piece to the puzzle to make the general effort efficient.
ANDERSON: Moscow has said countless times sir that there is no point trying to reach a consensus with Ukraine because it is merely a puppet of the West
that is being used as a tool to harm Russia to which you say what, sir?
KULEBA: Well, the best answer to your question is today's remarks of Minister Foreign Minister of Russia Lavrov, who commented on the joint
statement issued by German and French Foreign Ministers in the aftermath to the trilateral meeting with me.
So Minister Lavrov said today that that German French statement was dictated by Ukraine. So one day, they're saying we are the puppets. And the
other day, they presented in a way that it's Ukraine, who dictates Paris and Berlin, how to treat? How to approach the situation? So it's just
Russian classic disinformation propaganda, which I would simply disregard and focus on serious stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that was the Ukrainian Foreign Minister speaking to me last hour, important stuff. Well, Europe is facing a surge in new COVID 19
cases. Ahead on this show how nations are making it harder and harder for unvaccinated people to participate in public life?
ANDERSON: And even with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, Ireland is re-imposing restrictions. The Deputy Prime Minister tells us why
ANDERSON: On top of Europe's migrant crisis, the continent is dealing with a surge in new COVID cases. Several more German states are imposing
restrictions for the unvaccinated to participate in public life. The Czech Republic reporting its highest ever number of daily new cases the
government there considering new strict lockdown measures for people who are not vaccinated.
Slovakia expected to approve similar restrictions after also reporting a record high case count and Poland just reported its highest number of new
daily infections since mid-April. Now only 53 percent of its population is fully vaccinated well below the EU average of around 66 percent.
Well, CNN's Melissa Bell joining me now live from Paris with more on what is Melissa, the European situation?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, the World Health Organization had been warning for some time that Europe was fast becoming the epicenter
of the pandemic, once again, as you say these alarming rises in infection rates in so many European countries, particularly in Eastern Europe.
But also in those countries where the vaccination rates are higher than that including Ireland, of course where they are above 89 percent of those
eligible to be vaccinated that is over those 12 years old. So an extremely worrying picture in Europe where once again those infection rates rather
that are rising alarmingly fast and so many countries are now threatening once again, the freedoms and the health of Europeans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL (voice over): These sparkling decorations in Parisian windows, a celebration of the return of the Christmas season, also returning the
threat of more COVID restrictions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why we came here as soon as we learnt that the decorations were up to make the most of what little free time we might have
BELL (voice over): Already two regions in France announcing the return of mandatory masks in outdoor spaces. New infection rates in France are
GABRIEL ATTAL, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN: Close to 10 days ago, the virus was taking the stairs. Now it's in the elevator.
BELL (voice over): This new wave of COVID-19 already harshly impacting France's neighbors, Germany battling its worst infection rates since the
pandemic began again in hosing restrictions in Berlin. Allowing only people who've been vaccinated or who recently recovered from COVID-19 to enter
restaurants cinemas and sports facilities.
DR. LOTHAR WIELER, PRESIDENT, ROBERT KOCH INSTITUTE: We have to assume that the situation throughout Germany will get worse. And without additional
measures, it will be unstoppable.
BELL (voice over): Austria seeing their cases exploding, taking more extreme measures, placing some 2 million unvaccinated people on partial
lockdown. The new mandate unvaccinated people in Austria age 12 and older can only leave their homes for work food shopping, or emergencies.
ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR: If the incidents vaccinated people are down, it continues to rise exponentially for the unvaccinated.
BELL (voice over): The lockdown which began on Monday enforced with random spot checks and police patrols being stepped up for at least the next 10
days; the move causing an outcry from some Austrians about the disparity of treatment and proximity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here today because I want to fight for my rights. These measures are absolutely discriminatory.
BELL (voice over): In the Netherlands, protests against lockdown measures announced last week amid a jump of new COVID-19 infections, reaching a
tipping point over the weekend. With police firing water cannons on angry demonstrators perhaps most alarming about the rise of new infections across
Europe, new cases striking areas with fairly high vaccination rates.
In the Netherlands, almost 85 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated. In France, that number is almost 75 percent, Germany more
than 65 percent and Austria almost 65 percent leading many to wonder a watch if anything will be able to stop as seemingly never ending pandemic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Now there are Becky of course many factors at play here. The colder winter months are driving people inside immunization levels may be dropping
because people have been vaccinated for some time and booster shots have not become available to the general European population.
But there is that problem of the unvaccinated when you look at the incidence rate amongst the unvaccinated populations within European
countries. They are of course, much, much higher than within vaccinated populations. And as we heard from the Austrian Chancellor just a few days
ago, they are those unvaccinated populations, the ones that are behind they are driving this resurgent the big resurgence the beginning of this fifth
Hence these determined efforts to try and target those populations. So the Netherlands and Ireland, dealing with things like curtailing the hours of
bars and pubs but countries like Austria, much more hardline 2 million unvaccinated people essentially being confined to their homes Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, and more to come on this hour for the time being Melissa thank you. Also on our radar today, the U.S. and China have agreed to ease
visa restrictions on journalists from each other's countries and issue that has been a source of contention between the two sides.
This development follows what was a high stakes summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Under the
agreement that countries will issue visas well for a year, up from the current three months and will allow multiple entries the issuing of new
journalists visas was largely halted after China expelled a number of American journalists during Donald Trump's last office - last year in
President Biden says he made "Progress" on the topic of Taiwan when he virtually met his Chinese counterpart. The two leaders spent a good part of
Monday's summit discussing Taiwan which has been a source of recent tensions amid Chinese military aggression as far as U.S. is concerned.
Mr. Biden said Taiwan "Makes its own decisions" and later clarified a comment when it came to Taiwan independence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I said that they have to decide today Taiwan not us. And we are not encouraged you to read and
encouraging that they do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires. And that's what we're doing. Let them make up their mind period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, from Taipei CNN's Will Ripley with the latest for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting virtually this week, as the world
faces what analysts call a growing threat an intensifying arms race across the Indo Pacific, potential flashpoints across the region, raising the risk
of a nuclear conflict, threatening the U.S., its allies and the world.
PETER LAYTON, VISITING FELLOW, GRIFFITH ASIA INSTITUTE: If you have a serious conflict, you could end up with the nuclear weapons being used. And
we're not talking atomic bombs. We're talking hydrogen bombs and this is a different level warfare entirely.
RIPLEY (voice over): The world's most assertive nuclear power China new satellite images suggests Beijing is building nuclear capable missile
silos, testing more ballistic missiles than the rest of the world combined the Pentagon says, including what the U.S. calls a potentially game
changing hypersonic weapon a claim China denies.
The Chinese navy now the largest in the world, with a catch most of their warships are small, but they are getting bigger. A new aircraft carrier in
Shanghai could launch early next year. With technology rivaling the larger more advanced U.S. carrier fleet.
RIPLEY (on camera): How long does it going to take for China's Navy to pose this credible threat to America's Navy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they still need to a lot of time.
RIPLEY (on camera): Are we talking years are we talking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Years, 20 to 30.
RIPLEY (on camera): 20 years?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20 years.
RIPLEY (voice over): Full size mock ups of U.S. warships dot the desert in Xinjiang, possibly for target practice analysts say. China also flexing its
flight muscles flying warplanes near Taiwan in record numbers. The islands leaders warn cross strait tensions are at 40 year highs, Taiwan racing to
modernize its military, new ships, more missiles, billions of dollars in American made weapons all to guard against an invasion Taiwan's defense
minister says could be possible by 2025.
A war that could involve the U.S. and other Democratic allies Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen told CNN last month in this exclusive interview.
RIPLEY (on camera): Is Taiwan strategy to try to be able to defend for a period of time before other countries could assist?
TSAIN ING-WEN, TAIWAN PRESIDENT: We definitely want to defend ourselves as long as we can. But let me reiterate, it's important that we have the
support - the support of our friends.
RIPLEY (voice over): Taiwan's closest friend, at least geographically, Japan, signaling support for Taipei, a thinly veiled warning for Beijing.
NOBUO KISHI, JAPANESE MINISTER OF DEFENSE: What could happen in Taiwan would likely be an issue for Japan, in which case Japan would need to
RIPLEY (voice over): Japan is staging its largest military drills in decades, moving missiles radar and troops to its southern islands about 100
miles from the Taiwanese Coast, sending ships to the East China Sea, the site of territorial disputes with China.
Japan also facing a threat from North Korean missiles - believes to be ramping up production of uranium for its growing nuclear arsenal. South
Korea speeding up its own weapons development, including submarine launched ballistic missiles.
Australia will get nuclear powered submarines part of a deal with the U.S. and the UK to counter China's rapid expansion militarizing manmade islands
in the South China Sea. Another military buildup in the Himalayas, the site of deadly border clashes last year between China and India, another nation
with nuclear weapons.
LAYTON: Our military forces are definitely being built up. Getting into those sorts of those arms races like that is certainly a difficult path.
RIPLEY (voice over): A path charted primarily by Presidents Biden and Xi today and whoever leads tomorrow. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, be it today gone tomorrow, you won't be able to find a pint in Ireland after midnight as the government imposes new COVID restrictions.
We asked a top decision maker why now?
ANDERSON: In Ireland, life was just getting back to normal. Digital vaccine certificates meant a return to the inside of pubs, for example, for months
of dining indoors outdoors, and for a few blissful weeks very few restrictions existed as nightclubs stayed open until the early hours.
But as the country lurches into a new surge of COVID 19 cases, a midnight curfew will again be imposed on the hospitality sector. Cases are at the
highest they've been since January with more than 4400 recorded yesterday alone.
That's despite Ireland having one of the highest vaccination rates in the European Union. And in fact, the world more than 92 percent of adults there
is fully vaccinated versus a rate of 76 percent across the EU and European economic area.
My next guest Leo Varadkar is Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister he said last month that COVID could be with us forever, adding that it could become an
endemic virus one that is perhaps seasonal in nature. Leo Varadkar joining me live here in Dubai this evening.
Ireland cases are surging you do as I say, have one of the highest vaccination rates worldwide worryingly, the Intensive Care numbers are also
rising. Do you say the virus will be around forever? But you can't keep hopping in and out of these lockdowns. How does the curfew for example on
LEO VARADKAR, IRISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, the idea of that is to reduce the amount of people who are mixing, reduce socialization; reduce
the number of different groups who meet each other. It's not the only restriction we have; of course, there's capacity limits and hospitality.
We're extending the vaccine past to more settings, and asking household close contacts to stay at home. But, you know, it is a difficult situation.
Things were going so well. I think as a nation where we're a little bit crestfallen, it's a bit heartbroken that we're back into a difficult space
when it comes to COVID.
We do have among the highest vaccination rates in the world; around 94 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, the 5 percent that
are not are causing a lot of the trouble about 5 percent are not fully vaccinated. But about 50 percent of people in hospital ICU are not fully
So even that 5 percent can create a lot of difficulty. And then also, it's very evident now that immunity from the vaccines is waning. And we can see
that happening across Europe. And that's why we're going to need to give people a third dose. And that's what we're pushing to now at present.
ANDERSON: So you are looking at boosters at this point?
VARADKAR: Well, more than that we're providing - what we're now calling - I'm now calling the third dose, because I think this is going to be a three
dose vaccine. Some vaccines require three doses; two isn't going to be enough.
So we're extending that now to more than half the population and anyone over 50, and then anyone under 50 medical conditions. And I would
anticipate that will offer the third dose to everyone, as has been the case in other countries.
ANDERSON: Listen, do you envisage more restrictions before Christmas? Because that, of course could be extremely damaging, given people wanting
to come home travel to Ireland, particularly from the States, for example.
VARADKAR: But you know, I hope not we're going to reassess the situation in about two weeks' time and see if cases have stabilized. And hopefully
they'll be falling by then. But there's no guarantee that's going to be the case.
I've always had that I felt we need to get through another winter before we could say this, this pandemic safely behind us. And as you suggested
earlier, it may be the case that this becomes a problem that we have to deal with every winter. We need to make sure we prepare for that through
vaccination and also other measures around test, trace and isolate in particular.
ANDERSON: Can you imagine as we are seeing in other European countries, unvaccinated people in the end being prevented from participating in public
VARADKAR: Well, we have a vaccine pass system in Ireland. So to enter a certain indoor settings, you do have to present your ID and a vaccine pass.
ANDERSON: But other countries are going further aren't they?
VARADKAR: Yes, we've never done that. And to be honest, we're reluctant to do that. One of the things that our constitution does is, is protect
people's right to livelihoods. So we've never said to anyone that they can't work if they're not vaccinated.
And ultimately, it is a personal choice and questions around bodily autonomy and personal freedom do matter. But what I would say to people
that are enough vaccinated, you know, 5 percent of our population is not vaccinated 50 percent of people in hospital in ICU are.
If it were not the case, if everyone was vaccinated, we wouldn't be imposing the restrictions we're imposing now. And the other thing I'd say
as well is that people are not vaccinated are now at higher risk than ever of getting the infection because it's so prevalent in our community.
And while you may acquire immunity by getting infected, you may also end up in hospital, you may also end up with some of the long term side effects of
getting COVID. And I'd really encourage anyone who's not vaccinated to still come forward to do so. And that is happening. We are actually now
seeing an increase in people who had shied away from getting vaccinated up until now. Now coming forward, and that's a positive.
ANDERSON: Well, Dubai is one of those places where you have an extremely high vaccination rate. One of if not the highest in the world, this city is
on the move again, and we are at Expo here in Dublin to Dubai, it's about 5000 miles.
You're here for Ireland's largest trade mission since before the pandemic began. I've just been looking at some figures. Let's give these to the
viewers on screen now. Exports from Ireland to here and Saudi Arabia raised despite the pandemic combined market value more than $365 million as I
understand it. Why is this region becoming increasingly important to Ireland and Irish trade so far from its shores?
VARADKAR: I suppose because there's so much happening here. And so many opportunities for Irish companies, whether it's aviation, equine sector,
food, tech, real opportunities for Irish companies. And as a country, we're trying to diversify our trade portfolio.
Back when I was Prime Minister, I set the objective of Ireland doubling its global footprints, doubling our impact on the world by 2025. And that's
very much underway. Whether it's opening new embassies and trade offices around the world, whether it's trade missions like this, we want to make
sure that we don't have all our economic eggs in one basket.
And we've been diversifying our economy at home, but also diversifying our trade portfolio in terms of where we trade with and where we invest?
ANDERSON: And Saudi Arabia is one of those options, of course, you've just come back, what was your experience of the country considering friendly,
there are very different political and to a degree, cultural, cultural outlets in both countries?
VARADKAR: Well, a really interesting place. So I'd love to go back again, very well received. GOV meetings are very high levels made to feel very
welcome. Our whole mission was it's obviously a very different country to Ireland, it's a monarchy, we're a democracy, and they use the death penalty
They don't have equality for women and people from LGBT backgrounds, like me. So it's a very different country to Ireland. But one thing that was
interesting, I spoke to Irish people on the ground there who were living there.
And they said to me, in the past five or six years, they've seen more changes than, than they've ever seen in the country that is becoming more
modern, that is moving on, you know, I met ministers in the government who were female business executives who were female, in the streets, or women
don't cover their heads and faces.
So it's not perhaps as conservative maybe I thought it was, and it does appear to be a country that's on a journey towards greater modernity. But
that doesn't excuse all of the human rights violations that do happen, whether it's at the treatment of journalists, or the treatment of women and
minorities, for example.
ANDERSON: That's this region, UAE, Saudi, and you're on the move. I want to get you back to Ireland and Northern Ireland, once again, finding yourself
at the center, but what a very fiery Brexit talks, during most of which you were the man in charge, of course.
You were a teashop Prime Minister, a possible trade war looming if the UK triggers article 16 which, to the viewers who aren't imbued in the
machinations of the issue is effectively a handbrake for them on the existing Brexit deal?
Speaking to the states national broadcaster last week, you said no, one quote you hear plans were being made to essentially dust down and restart
contingency preparations. Should Ireland get into difficulty if trade is curtailed, what did you mean by that? And what are these players?
VARADKAR: Well, if the United Kingdom fingers article 16th, then there will have to be response from the European Union. And that response might take
the form of as suspending elements of the trading cooperation agreements.
VARADKAR: Because the deal on Northern Ireland, the withdrawal agreement was linked to the trade deal that Great Britain secured with the European
Union. So they do kind of go together. Now, nobody wants to be in that space. But we do need to be honest with the UK Government, that if they
withdraw from one part of the package, the other part of the package is in jeopardy.
But I think the most important thing an international audience needs to know is that the protocol on Northern Ireland is working. There is no
border between heart and center between North and South, its - looks exactly like it did before Brexit. Trade between North and South in both
directions is increasing. And our position in the single market has actually worked.
ANDERSON: Got it. Do you believe though the Boris Johnson is serious about Australia?
VARADKAR: I can't speak for him. But, you know, I think he is serious and what he says. But again, bear in mind, this is a protocol that's working,
there are some difficulties on the movement of goods from Britain to Northern Ireland, and we're willing to sort them out.
And the U.S. has made some very good proposals in that space and also, when it comes to the protocol, the majority of political parties, the majority
of members in the assembly, Northern Ireland.
The majority of people and business groups in the round are in favor of it. They would like to see it improved, but they don't want to see removed and
I would hope that the British government, and indeed, the Prime Minister who was the Minister for the Union, would listen to what the people of
Northern Ireland have to say about this.
Bear in mind, Northern Ireland was taken out of Brexit against his wishes to take them out of the single market, again, against their wishes, I think
will be very serious.
ANDERSON: Do you expect the support of the U.S. President Joe Biden on this?
VARADKAR: I believe we'll have a support. He's very much an Irish American. I've met him several times, not since became president, but he's very much
an Irish American, probably the most Irish American president since Kennedy, if not even more so. And I really feel he has our back.
ANDERSON: I'm running out of time with you. But one last question to you. I hear that you saw a clip of my attempts that I started with the river dance
through who are here a week or so ago. What did you think of it rating one out of ten, two out of ten?
VARADKAR: --beg to - posts, 10 out of 10.
ANDERSON: 10 out of 10! Thank you very much indeed sir with that, I'll let you go. The Deputy Prime Minister in the house for you, thank you. Next on
"Connect the World" officials are working to figure out what to do with India's capital chokes on polluted air?
Just ahead why critics are saying quick fixes won't work? And dying a slow death people living next to oil fields in Iraq for easy alarm about their
hazardous effects their fight for a cleaner future is after this short break. Please don't go away.
ANDERSON: Smoldered by smog, toxic haze hanging over New Delhi and it is raising the level of air pollution to dangerous levels. Schools in the
Indian Capital have shut their doors until further notice and private construction banned at least for now.
India's smog does usually get worse in November. They got authorities though scrambling to bring down hazardous pollution levels. CNN's Vedika
Sud explains what happening have a look at this is?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The toxic air in Delhi and neighboring states has residents gasping for breath. Waiting lines and
hospitals are getting longer as air pollution blankets the city. Medical experts say there's been a spike in respiratory problems.
DR. SURESH KUMAR, LNJP HOSPITAL, NEW DELHI: The air quality - when the air quality worsens some people suffer from chest infection and breathing
problems. Sometimes it gets so bad that we have to admit them.
SUD: After India's top court stepped in emergency measures have been implemented schools and colleges have been close to further notice. Non-
essential construction work and vehicle traffic have been halted for now. Six of eleven coal fired power plants around Delhi have been shut till
SUD (on camera): According to the World Health Organization, air quality index between 0 and 50 is considered good. In the last two weeks parts of
the national capital region have reported levels higher than 500.
SUD (voice over): India's Environmental Ministry Panel on Air Pollution has directed Delhi and other states to encourage private offices to allow work
from home. But for street vendors like Kumar, staying home is not an option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pollution is unbearable; the government must take some steps. We are forced to work because we can't stay indoors forever.
SUD (voice over): Environmental experts say quick fix solutions cannot be the answer to North India's toxic air levels.
ANUMITA ROYCHOWDHURY, EXECUTIVE DIR CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND ENIVIRONMENT: If you look at India, right now, through satellite, you will find that the
entire Indo-Gangetic plain in Northern India is wrapped in a blanket of smog.
And this is because this time of the year when you don't have integrated plan for the entire region and aggressive action to address each and every
source of pollution in the entire region. That's where we have to step up.
SUD (voice over): Delhi's air quality is an ICU and needs more than just emergency measures. For now Delhi's residents will be inhaling this toxic
air, which according to a report by the University of Chicago is 10 times worse in Northern India than anywhere else in the world. Vedika Sud, CNN,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, in the previous hour of "Connect the World" I spoke to the Indian Oil Minister about that smog crisis here is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
HARDEEP SINGH PURI, INDIAN MINISTER OF PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS: In India, whoever is giving you this assessment, I think they should have a reality
check the problem in India. This problem, as you yourself said is coming from stubble burning, which is agricultural waste.
So what we need to do that and some of this thermal inversion happens every year at this point of time, but the incidence of it is much lower this year
than any previous year. And it is almost to the point where we will solve the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that's the Indian Oil Minister. Iraq trying to clean up its act as oil production continues to have devastating effects on the
environment. And it's one of the most oil dependent countries in the world. All revenues have accounted for more than 99 percent of Iraq's export
according to the World Bank.
Bu the country has signed major contracts to shift towards clean energy and it was part of the decision by OPEC and its allies to reject calls by Joe
Biden to pump more oil. I spoke to Iraq's Foreign Minister about the country's strategy with all moving forwards. I had that conversation
earlier this week. Have a listen to part of what he told me.
(BEGING VIDEO CLIP)
FUAD HUSSEIN, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: Gradually we are reaching the period of post COVID-19. So this all affects the economy in the world. There is -
economy of the world is growing, it means more demands on oil, and that that leads to higher price. And Iraq in fact, for it is economy we need
good price of oil, because that will help our security it will help our economy and it will help our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that's the Foreign Minister of Iraq. The UN says the country is the fifth most vulnerable country to the effects of climate
change. In oil rich areas like Southern - which contribute to global warming, are seeing other more immediate problems like serious health
issues. Jomana Karadsheh reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For decades - lived in the shadows of this thick, black toxic cloud that he says is suffocating
his Southern Iraqi town. When the wind comes that way the whole river dies he says in my house my trees in my garden are dead.
KARADSHEH (voice over): The flames burning in this oil field and many others in Iraq are known as gas flaring, burning off the natural gas
produced during oil extraction. It's a common practice as old as the oil industry, but it's one of the biggest polluters of the planet, and Iraq is
the world's second worst offender according to the World Bank.
It contributes to around 10 percent of the global flaring greenhouse emissions. Oil is a major driver for the climate crisis. But residents here
say it is also the cause of a local environmental disaster. It is killing the village of - Ahmad its mayor says.
Mayor Bashir-ul Jabari (ph) he says there's been a rise in cancer cases and respiratory illnesses in his village over the past decade. In one
neighborhood alone he says there are about 40 cancer cases in 130 households, many of them children.
Well, experts say there's no evidence of a direct link and it still needs more research. Everyone here blames it on the poisonous air they've been
breathing their entire lives. And it's not just this village that is suffering.
It is the entire province. Basra sits on some of the world's largest oil reserves, but its black gold may also be its curse. Officials with the
Ministry of Environment say everything from the remnants of war to industrial waste contributes to Basra's pollution. But the top polluter
they say is the oil industry.
FAIZA AL- RUBAIAE, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT: Health facilities, landfill sites sewage filtering stations, leather factories, power stations, but it
is the oil industry activities that are the mother of old pollution in Basra and other provinces. Imagine you keep breathing this every minute,
every day, every month and every year. That is why we have seen the rates of cancer, especially those related to air pollution increase on an annual
KARADSHEH (voice over): The Iraqi Oil Ministry says it is shifting towards clean and green energy. Iraq has also committed to eliminating all routine
gas flaring by 2030. But for the few Iraqi Environmental Activists like Falah Hassan, change can come soon enough.
FALAH HAASAN, IRAQI ENIVRONMENT ACTIVIST: The people of Basra at the midst of - they are dying a slow death. Basra is in hell. But people don't feel
the slow death because of the gradual environmental impact on their lives.
KARADSHEH (voice over): Years of war and sanctions have decimated the country's infrastructure. And with everything Iraqis have been through he
says raising awareness is a battle.
HASSAN: People don't feel environmental issues are a priority if you are trying to make it a priority. This is our calls.
KARADSHEH (voice over): Iraq is running out of time. According to a UN report it is the fifth most vulnerable country to the effects of climate
change. And many here say they are feeling the impact. We used to have lots of fish now it's gone. Fishermen - says nothing good comes from this river
anymore. Everything is gone. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, this just into CNN 10 people have been killed in protest against the military takeover in Sudan. Around 70 were injured as pro-
democracy protesters took to the streets in the Sudanese Capital of Khartoum.
This follows huge protests on Saturday across the country, the civilian allied Sudanese Central Doctors Committee says security forces find live
ammunition during today's demonstrations. The group also says there is a phone and internet blackout there. My colleague Lynda Kinkade will have a
lot more on this at the top of the hour on "One World" back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, finally tonight on "Connect the World" a self-portrait by renowned Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo has set a new record at auction. The
Oil Painting "Diego and I" sold Tuesday night for nearly $35 million, the highest price paid to date for artwork by Latin American artists.
Kahlo has seen teary eyed in the painting which also depicts her Husband Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera, on her forehead and it's been a big week for
Sotheby's on Monday, art lovers spent over $676 million most valuable single owner sale ever staged.
The auctions works come from the Macklowe Collection acquired by Real Estate Mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda they filed for divorce in
2016. And the judge ordered them to sell the collection - some lucky owners now. Thank you for watching. "One World" is up next.