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Connect the World

CNN Talks with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok; Sudanese PM: Very Concerned about Conflict in Ethiopia; Ex-Aide: Former Israeli PM was Obsessed with his Media Image; Sources: U.S. Weighing Weaponry, Advisers for Ukraine; Thousands Protest Water Shortages in Iran; Portugal to Bosses: Don't Text or Call Employees after Work. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 23, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour an exclusive interview with Sudan's newly reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. I'm

Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World".

It's welcome development but only a first step those pointed words directed at Sudan's newly reinstated Prime Minister from the U.S. Secretary of

State. A spokesman for Antony Blinken says the task now is for Abdalla Hamdok and Sudan's Military Leader to continue the democratic transition

that was interrupted by last month's coup.

Mr. Hamdok is defending the weekend deal that he's struck to return to power in the face of widespread criticism from Sudanese pro-democracy

groups. He says it was necessary to prevent more bloodshed. On this show yesterday, I spoke with a man who helped mediate those talks.

He told me that the Prime Minister had to and I quote; accept humiliation to make the deal with the Army General who first ousted then detained him.

I spoke with the Prime Minister himself in an exclusive interview, Abdalla Hamdok started by offering more insight on why he took the deal, and told

me what he thinks is ahead for Sudan have a listen.

ABDALLA HAMDOK, SUDANESE PRIME MINISTER: There is no perfect agreement. There is a good agreement, there is a workable agreement, there is a

possible agreement that would allow things to be normalized and allow the country to move forward.

We basically signed this agreement for us to save the lives of our people, avoid bloodshed, and be able to put the country back. There are so many

other reasons that compelled us to go into this agreement. Among them, I think we would like to preserve the achievements that we have achieved in

the last two years, specifically, in two areas, in the economy and peace, and I could elaborate further.

It is also an impasse, nationally, domestically and internationally. This agreement has a great potential in unblocking this. And I think more

importantly, is to allow us to go back to the political process that would allow us to reach the election point and hand over power to unelected

people and allow us various people to choose the government of their choice. That's why he went into disagreement.

ANDERSON: Personally, do you feel humiliated by it though?

HAMDOK: No, I don't feel humiliated for one reason. I had to take the right decision in the interest of the country. It's not a personal issue for me.

ANDERSON: You have spoken to the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who as I understand it, told you that this agreement was only a "First

Step" in restoring Sudan's democratic transition. Have you had conversations about restarting the $700 million aid at this point? Is that


HAMDOK: We hope so. We hope as we progress in implementing disagreement, we will be able to restore the momentum that was created over the last few

years. There is a lot, you know, that needs to be done, both domestically and internationally and all that. But I think we're determined to take the

country in that direction.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the agreement itself then. You signed a deal with the same military who just recently had you under house arrest, the

same military who led a coup last month and has killed over 40 protesters? Why would you sign this agreement and why do you believe this agreement is

the way forward for Sudan?

HAMDOK: We regret all the bloodshed, the loss of our people. The Sudan is blood is very precious. But we signed this agreement precisely to avoid

further bloodshed further catastrophes.


HAMDOK: We live in a region we know so well, if you do not go into a serious process of reaching a compromise that would allow things to

normalize and get back, the alternatives, could be even having more consequences and could lead to even more bloodshed.

So what we do - what we did is precisely to stop that. The guarantees for this agreement to be implemented, we do not have sight check to say that it

will be implemented, but that will rely on the goodwill of both sides and on the will of our people.

As I said, there is no perfect agreement. We will address its deficiencies, its problems. And I think we will put it to the test. The final outcome

will be determined by the Sudanese people.

ANDERSON: Well, before that, you've said that you're relying on the will of all sides. Are you confident that the military will stick to their promises

with this new agreement? This is the same military who dismantled the previous agreement dissolved the government arrested government officials

and killed scores of protesters killing one 16 year old boy just an hour after the agreement was signed?

Do you truly believe they will hand over power peacefully and securely to a civilian government when it is time?

HAMDOK: I believe so. And I think we are going to start working on a road map in the next 18 months, it is just about enough to organize a credible

election. We will set a firm date, which is now we're talking about July 2023 and work - to establish a fair roadmap that will lead us to that date.

And I think we will establish those benchmarks and we will take it one at a time hoping that this will create the momentum for us to reach that dotted


ANDERSON: What's your message to the protesters on the streets today, the ones calling for an end to the military rule, even some were calling your

move a betrayal.

HAMDOK: I fully appreciate and understand their anger, their frustration. But I want them to understand also the consequences could have been much

graver much more serious.

ANDERSON: Several major pro-democracy groups have come out against this deal, opposing any new political partnership with the military and saying

that the perpetrators of the coup should be brought to justice ultimately, do you agree and if so, what will you do to that end, going forward?

HAMDOK: There is a perfect agreement. And there is a workable agreement. If you will be waiting for a perfect agreement, you will wait for so long, and

it will be too late. What we did is to save our country, we know as imperfect, I has deficiencies. It has problems. It disappointed so many

people appreciate that.

But I think we took this decision in the interests of our country and our people. And we do not want our country to take the same route and the same

fate of catastrophic examples in our region.

ANDERSON: Sir, have all of the political prisoners now being released?

HAMDOK: Not all of them. There are about 30 - 31 prisoners up yesterday evening. They have released nine of them. We're working on releasing the

rest. This is number one agenda item in my calendar, my table, and I will not rest until all of them are released. This is key and this will put this

whole agreement to test.

ANDERSON: Ibrahim Mudawi told me he thinks the future of Sudan is looking quite bleak. Is that how you said?

HAMDOK: No, that's not how I see. I see a bumpy road. I see a challenging road ahead of us.


HAMDOK: I have always been an optimist. That's why I'm still continuing this job. The day I feel I could not do anything I will not be staying

here. My job is to create that hope and give the Sudanese people reason to look for a brighter future.

ANDERSON: The region is fragile at present, let's be quite frank, how concerned are you about what is happening next door to you, in Ethiopia?

HAMDOK: We are we were very much concerned. We have voiced this so many times. We know that anything happened in Ethiopia, affect us and vice versa

through the initiative more than 110 million.

And God forbid if anything stopping to Ethiopia come to a close collapse or anything like that Sudan will be at the frontline receiving all the

consequences and the challenges and the problems that we already suffering from that thousands and thousands of refugees came from there from the

start of the war.

And if this intensifies, we will be at the receiving end of this. So we are very much concerned. And we hope the region will prevail. And Ethiopia will

be able to address its challenges and problems through - there war is not a solution.

ANDERSON: The newly reinstated Sudanese Prime Minister. Well, Sudan is home to many refugees fleeing the conflict next door in Ethiopia and we are

hearing some ominous words from Ethiopia's Prime Minister.

Abiy Ahmed says he will personally lead the fight against the slow but relentless rebel advance. He tweeted that he would go to the front today,

he called on his countrymen to "Rise up and join him" his comments raising fears that the yearlong conflict could descend into all out Civil War.

Fighters from the Northern Tigrayan region say they are now just 220 kilometers from the Capital Addis Ababa. Meantime sources tell us the

Pentagon has special operations forces on standby in Djibouti. They're positioned to help the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia if the situation worsens.

Let's get next door to Kenya where CNN's Larry Madowo is connecting us with the story, Larry.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, if Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has in fact gone to the frontlines of this war, there's no evidence of that yet,

because state television or the government mouthpieces have not reported it.

But he sees this according to him as the final fight to save Ethiopia from internal and external enemies. And he is not giving this call to arms for

the first time. But this is the first time that he's promising to go to the battle lines himself.

I want to read for you a part of his statement, which is translated from Amharic. He says those of you who aim to be one of Ethiopia's children who

will be celebrated in history rise up today for your country. Let's meet at the waterfront. And he goes on to say in the past and in the present the

needs and lives of each and every one of us are below Ethiopia. We would rather die to save Ethiopia than outlive Ethiopia.

So it's a really significant moment in this war as these rebels, a coalition of them claim to be advancing on Addis Ababa. Now the Prime

Minister who spent months and months writing up the rhetoric who has spent months talking up nationalist sentiment now saying he will be fighting on

the frontlines.

The last time an African Leader went to the frontlines to fight against rebels and unfortunately, he died. That was back in April. It was Debbie of

Chad, so I'm not sure how much of this is posturing, or just per formative.

And if Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed really intends to go to the frontlines in fight against the Tigray People's Liberation Front and the coalition have

assembled to try and kick him out of office.

ANDERSON: Our viewers have just heard the discussion that I had with Sudan's newly reinstated Prime Minister, talking about his significant

concerns about an all-out civil war in Ethiopia and the impact that it will have not just on Sudan, but around the region.

That of course, is a country Sudan, which is going through its own issues at present. What did you make of what you heard from Abdalla Hamdok?

MADOWO: I think the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok, was spot on because there's significant regional concern that if Ethiopia is

destabilize them the Horn of Africa the wider Eastern African region is at risk.


MADOWO: And so despite the many challenges they have in Sudan, he's also looking through at his neighbor and wondering what's happening there, when

you hear many Western nations tell him the citizens to leave, starting to pull out the diplomats. When you hear this, all these movements to try and

get the warring factions to come to the table and to agree and to talk.

And they don't seem to be listening to any of that. Then you understand why Abdalla Hamdok while dealing with on his own problems on the home front is

also casting a weary glance across the border to his neighbor.

And I've only recently been in Ethiopia. Do you see how much of a concern this is in the country and the very strongly held positions but those who

support the government and those who disagree with it?

ANDERSON: Larry it was a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed for your insight Larry Madowo reporting to you there from Nairobi in Kenya. More

intense "Control freak" one time aid unleashes on the Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in court what else he had to say is up next?

We live in Jerusalem for you. And the French Prime Minister Tests positive for COVID-19 an update on how he is doing? And why the Belgian Prime

Minister is now in quarantine himself?


ANDERSON: The French Prime Minister says he is doing well half the testing positive for COVID-19. He apparently contracted the virus despite being

fully vaccinated. The Belgian Prime Minister and four other Belgian government ministers are now reportedly in self-isolation.

They'd met with Mr. Castex in Brussels. This is the World Health Organization warns that Europe could hit 2 million COVID deaths by March.

As you can see here, daily deaths have doubled since the end of September. One and a half million people in the region have died from COVID-19


Well, even with the danger rising objections have emerged across Europe over vaccine mandates and new lock downs. But vaccines do appear to be the

only way forward. Austria seeing more people taking the shots since the country announced that everyone must be vaccinated by February.

It's also in its second day of what is a very strict national lockdown. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joining me now live from the capital in Vienna and we

are seeing a real carrot and stick approach by not just Austria but other European governments in order to combat what is this extremely worrying

wave question is will it work? Let's start with where you are in Austria? What's the latest there?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, I mean you have all these European leaders now dealing with this very small portion of the population

in the case of Austria, so other large portion of the population that are still unvaccinated.


ABDELAZIZ: And you can understand why doctors are worried about this portion of the population because that's where they say is the breeding

ground for new variants. So it's absolutely a priority for every leader across the region to get as many people vaccinated as possible but how?

That's the question.

Here in Austria, they're trying both approaches. You have a vaccine mandate coming into place, February 1st; they have restrictions, specifically

targeting the unvaccinated. So even though it's a nationwide lockdown, now when it's lifted, the unvaccinated will remain under these restrictions.

And if you ask the authorities, they'll tell you, it's working, because we're seeing a huge uptick in the number of people coming to get their very

first shots. I'll give you an example, November 19th, the date that the chancellor announced even more measures to the unvaccinated was the highest

number of shots given in 24 hour period since the start of the vaccination program in the country.

Huge record numbers that you're seeing now at vaccination centers, but at the same time, the public broadcaster here was announcing a lottery prize

for people who are getting vaccinated. Now you could get a smart TV, you could get an electric car; you could get a new house as the biggest prize.

So there's a real sense of urgency here to push people to get vaccinated. Of course, experts are saying public messaging is key here for the

government. So you're trying to see how you can reach that segment of the population that is radically unvaccinated?

And that's the most difficult part, Becky, because vaccinations aren't going to be enough. You're still going to have restrictions in place and

you're still going to have to push people to get those shots, while also accepting that they're going to have to follow some rules.

ANDERSON: Salma Abdelaziz is on the story. Thank you! Scathing testimony from a key witness bringing the corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu back

into the limelight - really caught on Monday.

A onetime aide testify that the former Prime Minister wanted total control of his image in the media saying that his former boss went beyond being a

"Control Freak" who spent as much time on media, as he did on security matters. Hadas Gold following the trial she joins us live from Jerusalem,


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky while other former aides have turned against their former boss in this corruption trial, the man who

began testifying on Monday of all of them likely work the closest with the Netanyahu's. Nir Hefetz is a former journalist turn spokesman for the

family. Now he's a key witness for the prosecution.


GOLD (voice over): Benjamin Netanyahu back in court for his corruption trial, but the now former prime minister in a familiar spot, the center of

attention surrounded by lawyers and journalists, how are you feeling when asks among you, like I'm at home Netanyahu responds.

A few moments later near Hefetz leader's onetime aide and confidant now turn star witness against him. A man ready to lift the lid the prosecution

believes on the alleged wrongdoings of Israel's longest serving prime minister, with cameras ushered out proceedings began.

Hefetz describing a man driven to entirely control his media coverage, if we use the term "Control Freak" he is much more than that and everything to

do with media he demands to know it all down to the smallest detail Hefetz said. He spends at least as much time on media matters as he spends on

security matters.

Israel's news media plays a central role in three of the four charges that Netanyahu faces. The most serious of those charges is for bribery for his

alleged role in facilitating regulatory changes for a telecoms entrepreneur in exchange for positive coverage on Wallah, the businessman influential

news website.

In meetings and letters exchanged and alleged arrangement was reached Hefetz claimed. Hefetz said Netanyahu, his oldest son Yair became convinced

the Wallah website was failing to keep its side of the bargain.

But when the wife of the businessman began to oversee coverage of the prime minister, the situation changed. Netanyahu had the greatest control over

the Wallah website including what the headline would be, and where it would be on the homepage Hefetz told the court even the most supportive media

didn't give him that degree of control.

Outside the court, a small but noisy contingent was getting their message out that Netanyahu was a liar while his supporters stood their ground.

Israel's ex-Prime Minister denies all the charges and may not reappear in court for some time. Nir Hefetz is expected to spend weeks giving evidence

and the trial itself could take years.


GOLD: And Hefetz's testimony continued today, Netanyahu was not in corporate Hefetz delve deeper into just how much of an obsession and

control the Netanyahu seemingly had over this Wallah news website?

Even saying that the owners would not appoint candidates for editors - editor positions without the Netanyahu approval Hefetz even saying that the

only one who could veto a decision was Netanyahu himself Becky.


ANDERSON: Hadas does how long is this trial expected to last out of interest?

GOLD: Well, Becky, this trial could last for a very long time, possibly even years. Hefetz himself is expected to testify for weeks. And there are

many, many witnesses in this case, we do not expect to see an ending to this case anytime soon.

And as of course, we know the political machinations in Israel could continue, we could see that Benjamin Netanyahu potentially trying to run

for office again while this trial is ongoing. Keep in mind that this trial started while he was still Prime Minister.

ANDERSON: Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem, Hadas, thank you. Joe Biden trying to soften the blow at the gas pumps, well the U.S. President plans to do to

ease rising gas prices for Americans this holiday season. And a new accusation from Ukraine as fears of a Russian invasion grows. How the U.S.

may hope to counter that threat that is all just ahead?


ANDERSON: U.S. President Joe Biden planning to release 50 million barrels of oil from the country's strategic reserves. Biden is hoping it will help

ease economic pressure on frustrated Americans who frankly are facing inflation and gasoline prices on the up.

The oil releases in coordination with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK to counter low oil supply, which of course is keeping these prices

high. Well, a top White House Economist says consumers should see the effect soon.


JARED BERNSTIEN, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: It's a pretty powerful punch. And once that gets out there, we start to see

deliveries of oil probably mid-December. But again, we already have oil markets moving on this news. And so we believe that's going to show up at

the pumps helping middle class low income consumers as they get through this period.


ANDERSON: Well, let's bring in Matt Egan who's covering the story from joining us live from New York. And I just want to bring up the prices of

Brent and WTI crude while we are speaking because both are slightly higher Brent over 80 bucks now 81.61.

Having failed to get any help from the OPEC plus producers the U.S. President have been leaning heavily on those oil producers to raise their

supply to take the sort of you know the noise out of this market. He's resorted to Plan B which is opening the taps on the U.S.'s strategic

reserves which you could argue is what those reserves , which you could argue is what those reserves are for. Correct?


MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, I mean, that's right that this is not Plan A, Plan A was for OPEC that OPEC has refused. So we moved on to Plan

B. And that is that the United States and oil consuming countries are coming together to say, alright, if you're not going to act, we will.

So we have Japan, China, South Korea, India, and the United Kingdom, all doing this coordinated release. It's the first coordinated release in a

decade, the U.S. alone is committing 50 million barrels. That's the largest U.S. release on record.

Now everyone wants to know, what does this do to prices? Well, it's so important to remember that as Jared Bernstein had just alluded to, oil

prices have actually already reacted in some ways. They've come down by about 10 percent on the rumor of a coordinated release.

Now, what does that do to gas prices? Well, the decline from the recent highs has put a lid on gas prices, they're hovering at around seven year

highs in the United States. That is an improvement from what you had previously been seen, which is that they were going straight up.

Now the energy experts that I'm talking to, they do think that gas prices could tick even lower. But no one's really expecting a dramatic decline

here. Not even the White House.

I mean, President Biden was advised that, you know, tapping the SPR was not going to alleviate all of these problems. And that's because it's not

really a long term fix.

It doesn't solve the underlying supply demand issue, in part because countries have a finite amount of oil in these strategic reserves, they

can't go back to the well every single month and release more barrels and so it is interesting, Becky, to see what we're seeing in the oil market,

which is that prices have actually gone higher.

The market does not really see seem all that impressed by this release. The big wildcard here is what is OPEC do in this tit for tat? Do they

retaliate? Perhaps by saying you know what we were planning to increase our production by 400,000 barrels per day, in December.

Maybe we're going to hold off now. They could cite COVID fears they could type site this SPR release. But that is the big wildcard and if they don't

go ahead and pump more than you could see oil prices go even higher.

ANDERSON: Yes, sell on the rumor bar. And the fact if you watch these markets, it's no real surprise that we're seeing the price of oil tick

slightly higher as we you know, ultimately find out what's going on?

What we don't know at this point is what these other countries have committed to in terms of how much they are going to release from their own

strategic reserves. Correct. I mean, that that may be another reason why at this point, we are seeing these prices tick high. It's clear what the U.S.

is prepared to do, but not what the others do at this point.

EGAN: Yes, Becky, I think that's absolutely right. We know the U.S. committing 50 million barrels; we know that there were rumors of around 100

million barrels in a coordinated release. So far, we only have those 50 million barrels.

We don't really know the details on what if anything the other countries are committing to most notably, of course, is China, one of the world's

biggest consumers of oil, and country does have some strategic reserves there.

So if this ends up not really meeting the hype, which was around almost 100 million barrels, then I do think that that would be a - you know, a

disappointment to the market.

And again, we could see prices go higher from there. And it's also worth noting that, you know, the impact today is it is significant. I mean, we're

not seeing just the oil prices tick higher. I mean, it's two and a half percent gain.

It is significant, especially from relative where prices were when the news came out with prices fell 2 percent, when the initial headlines came out,

now they're up around 2 percent. It's a big move in one day.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Matt, thank you. Matt Egan is on the story for you. Russia, increasing its combat readiness that is a strong accusation

from Ukraine aimed at Moscow.

Kiev, says Russian controlled forces are conducting large scale exercises in the occupied Eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. This comes at a

time when the West is already worried that Russia may be planning another invasion.

Sources tell CNN the Biden Administration is weighing sending Ukraine a lethal aid package including Stinger missiles and that is because he ever

started to warn publicly of a possible invasion as soon as January. I spoke to the Ukrainian foreign minister recently, just have a listen to what he

told me.


DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We do 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 - objective number one is to deter Russia from taking aggressive action.



ANDERSON: Well, that was the Ukrainian foreign minister talking to me just days ago, the Kremlin says any U.S. military aid for Ukraine will only

aggravate tensions.

Now keep in mind, the U.S. has been sharing intelligence on unusual Russian troop movements for weeks with NATO partners. But now, Ukrainian sources

say those briefings have changed. They say they are more specific and there is more alarm.

We've got team coverage for you, White House reporter Natasha Bertrand is in Washington, CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robinson is in

London. And Natasha, let me let me start with you. What else are we hearing from U.S. sources at this point?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, the U.S. has really begun to sound the alarm in a very serious way to allies to the Ukrainians about

the possibility that Russia could be weighing an invasion here sometime in January or February.

And that has led to renewed discussions inside the Biden Administration about what the United States can do to help Ukraine fend off a potential

incursion by the Russian military, as we've seen kind of Russian forces built up near Ukraine's borders.

What they're debating right now is sending more javelin and anti-tank missiles, mortars, Stinger missiles, and perhaps even Russian made

helicopters that were originally going to be sent to Afghanistan.

But after the U.S. withdrawal in August, now maybe redirected to Ukraine, because they are going to need them potentially, if there is a Russian

aggression here.

So a lot of debate happening inside the administration about how best to respond to the Russian provocations on the border without further

heightening tensions further provoking the Russians in that they see the West kind of coming to the aid of Ukraine in a potentially provocative way.

The administration is still trying to determine what Russia's intentions actually are. It's --there's no smoking gun at this point that says that

Russia is actually going to invade and that that is a definite plan.

But they're not taking any risks here, especially after 2014 with the Russian invasion of Crimea, and the invasion of eastern Ukraine and backing

of separatist forces there.

ANDERSON: Natasha, I spoke last week to the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for regional security, Mira Resnick, and we spoke about the U.S.'s

concerns with regard Ukraine. Have a listen to part of our conversation.


MIRA RESNICK, U.S. DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR REGIONAL SECURITY: Russia is clearly being provocative on the border with Ukraine.

And that is why we are looking for every opportunity to help our Ukrainian partners to make sure that our security commitment to them is strong, so

that they can defend themselves and deter a Russian buildup.

ANDERSON: Are you worried about an invasion?

RESNICK: We're concerned about any Russian buildup on this on this border, because as you said, they do take advantage. And they're looking for every

opportunity to build up. And that is really concerning to all of us.

ANDERSON: So the current state of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, and what sort of hardware is involved in that package?

RESNICK: So we have seen in recent weeks shipments of, of military equipment that are in U.S. stocks. This is a really unprecedented

commitment by the United States, including javelins, which we hope will deter Russia's future troop movement.


ANDERSON: Yes. And very much speaks Natasha to the narrative that you've just been sharing with us. Nic, what's the talk amongst NATO members at

NATO HQ at present?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO needs to be clear eyed

about this. And this does seem to be a clear response to the position in the United States has a believing that there is a potential here for Russia

to make an incursion into Ukraine of what type of incursion, it's not clear.

You know, I think that what you heard from the foreign minister of Ukraine, when you interviewed and they talked about, what we look to our allies for

is not just that military support, but he said, you know, political and diplomatic as well as military support.

And I think that's the mode that you find NATO in at the moment, clear eyed, and Stoltenberg says, making sure that they have a plan of action, a

joint understanding of what they'll do. But I think what we're hearing at the moment, particularly when we hear what could be supplied by the United

States to the Ukrainians, this is very public gesturing.

This is very clear the political diplomatic messaging to President Putin at the costs of an incursion. And what we've seen from the British for example

is you know their defense secretary Ben Wallace was in Kiev Ukraine just the week before last.


ROBERTSON: He was putting the finishing touches to an agreement with Ukraine that will supply their navy with two minesweeping vessels with

eight with eight missile vessels and refit some of their older vessels with more updated weapon systems.

So there already is this sort of concerted effort to support Ukraine. The balance in President Putin's mind who believes that he has historic Russia

has historic relevance and inch should have influence over Ukraine is, is essentially, NATO, particularly the United States crossing over a subtle

red line.

We know Ukraine is not going to be admitted to NATO, but does all this military support amount to what President Putin fears could come further

down the road, bringing Ukraine further into Europe and NATO sphere.

And that's the moment that we're at. But I think at the moment, what we're really hearing here is the language is a very strong and loud language of

politics and of diplomacy. And it's being the things that are being put on the table to reinforce that are the military tools of battle.

ANDERSON: To both of you, thank you very much indeed for joining us. And what is an incredibly important story. Up next, one of Iran's most

important rivers is dried up spearing protests. We'll look at the reasons why after this.


ANDERSON: In less than a week talks over Iran's nuclear program are set to resume in Vienna. They are aimed at restoring the Iran nuclear deal known

as the JCPOA which President Trump of course tore up in 2018.

USN re-imposed harsh sanctions on Iran. Well, Tehran in turn slowly fell out of compliance with the deal while still remaining a party to it. Well,

now Iranian negotiators say those sanctions must be removed and the U.S. needs to provide assurances it will not abandon the deal again. Well, today

the head of the AIEA Rafael Grossi is in Iran to deal with some unresolved questions over Iran's nuclear issues. He says he wants to, "deepen

cooperation with the country".

Well, a lot of our conversations about Iran do tend to focus on its nuclear program or the U.S. sanctions that have quite frankly strangled its

economy. But right now, Iran is also dealing with another major crisis, a water crisis.

These were the scenes from the city of Isfahan over the weekend. Thousand scattered along and get this on the actual riverbed of the city's famous

river, once the lifeline of the ancient city it is now dried up.


ANDERSON: Iran blames and historic drought critics point to mismanagement by the government years of it. Farmers have been protesting the diversion

of the river to other areas for a very long time.

Well, joining me now is Kaveh Madani, he is the former Deputy Head of Iran's Department of Environment, he was once tasked with helping Iran find

sustainable solutions to its climate challenges. But politics got in the way and forced him out of Iran. He joins me now from Toronto.

We saw these water protests over the summer and they turned deadly in Iran. How likely are these protests that we've seen over the past weekend? How

likely are they to grow?

KAVEH MADANI, FORMER DEPUTY HEAD, IRANIAN DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT: They are very likely to grow of course, everything depends on disguise. If there

is rain, would be a band aid for a while. But if there is no rain, farmers are going to protest the way they want water in the fall for irrigating

their crops.

They're worried about the future. And as we talk, even in the past about it, we will see these problems appearing in different parts of the country

because Iran has not prepared for this situation. It's simply ignored.

Water has a limited growth, it continued to grow its agriculture, industry and cities in some places, which were absolutely dry very dry thinking that

with technology and money it can overcome the challenge this natural limitation, but we are seeing this situation today.

ANDERSON: I mean, this river has been a lifeline for many farmers in the region and a symbol of Isfahan for centuries. Just explain briefly to our

viewers what led to the river drying up if you will,

MADANI: This is a situation of water bankruptcy. And I think all your viewers should be familiar with this concept. We will see it more and more

around the world of water managers didn't anticipate the limitations that would be caused by drought and climate change didn't think about the

developments population growth and the new demands.

In the future they started allocating water to too many needs without thinking how much water they actually have. And now we have a lot of water

right holders and water users but not enough water in the accounts, so essentially, the system is bankrupt and it's about to collapse.

ANDERSON: And Iran is blamed the worst drought in 50 years for these water shortages. While sanctions, of course have absolutely crippled the economy.

What all do you believe sanctions have played on the environment in Iran?

MADANI: When you put a pressure on a country which has an a certain ideology, it's not going to give up on its ideology. It would adopt all

survivalist policies possible to be able to fight back.

And when the priority is that pursuing that ideology environment has no room no space in public policy, the economy becomes actually more natural

resource dependent. The rulers and governors start extracting more and more resources and using water to provide jobs to the poor and survive

economically. So sanctions are not the cause of Iran's water bankruptcy.

Climate change is not the cause of what a bankruptcy but they certainly have a role to play. Now it's easy for those in charge to blame the

external, you know, causes and the enemy for the problems that they had to plan for. You know, the problem in Iran is has been created by decades of

poor management, lack of foresight and unsustainable development.

ANDERSON: And you're right. I mean, authorities have been accused of mismanagement for years. Is there any evidence that's President Raisi has

any intention to address the concerns of protesters?

MADANI: I don't - I mean there will be promises like as always, the ministers, the president would go and make some promises they cut, they

start compensating the farmers for lack of water. They talk about some new water project.

This is something we have been seeing over and over. So I don't think anything different would be expected here. But if Iran wants to address its

water bankruptcy problem fundamentally, it must do it must revise its economic model.

It has to reduce the pressure of its economy on natural resources. And to do that you know, Iran also needs to think about its nuclear plans its

relationship with the rest of the world and so many other things. So this problem is not a water problem only.


ANDERSON: And we are expecting these talks to resume of course, next week, we will get a sense of where these discussions are with regard the U.S.

getting back into the JCPOA away and what's - what Washington's moves will be as, as far as sanctions are concerned.

Leaving that aside for a moment because we will, as a show, ensure that our viewers get a real sense of what's going on with that Iran file. The

country did join India at COP26 in objecting to the inclusion of fossil fuels in any agreement. What is Iran's approach to the climate crisis? Is

it clear?

MADANI: Clearly, Iran has consistently said in international forum that it considers itself a victim of climate change it believes in climate change.

So Iran is not denying climate change.

But then when it comes to action, Iran tries to remind the rest of the world that the acute the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions that Iran have

has produced since the industrial revolution is nothing compared to the you know, what the industrial economies have done.

So Iran asks for help for financial assistance for of technology transfer, and, you know, removing sanctions lifting sanctions to become a player.

Still Iran has to protect its fossil fuel revenues, its economy is dependent on fossil fuels and he cannot you know, behave radically. So it

tries to be keep up the face and be an international player while also blocking certain things which are not in its national interest.

ANDERSON: Good to have you on sir. Important stuff, thank you very much indeed. This just into CNN, the only person to remain convicted over the

murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy, is now a free man.

Rudy Guede's lawyer says he was released from prison earlier today. Now you will remember, Guede completed 13 years of a reduced 16 year sentence for

the 2007 murder of the British students. Do you ever feel like you are always on call for work even after your shift is through? Well, now,

Portugal is taking matters out of your boss's hands literally, that after this.


ANDERSON: Well for some people during the pandemic working from home means always working. Sound familiar? It can be a hard call it's a separate

company time from me time as it were when your house is your office. But now one country at least to try to change that Portugal is telling bosses

when your staff your workers are off the clock, keep them off the phone. CNN's Isa Soares explains.



ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The Portuguese Parliament here behind me has approved one of the most employee friendly labor laws and an

attempt really to preserve the work life balance as people continue to work from home.

Now, under this new law, bosses are not allowed to contact employees outside of working hours. And that basically means no phone calls, no text

messages and no emails, or else they'll be fined.

SOARES (voice over): The new law says employers must also pay working from home expenses, such as increased electricity, gas and internet bills. On

the streets of Lisbon, many told me this law was essential.

With working from home, there was an extension of our working hours. And unfortunately, some bosses could have had a tendency to abuse that. I know

what my colleagues and I went through and the lack of regard for working hours, because they're not respected. People nowadays have to be available

24 hours a day, because they have a company cell phone or work in future. People have to have their own lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there should be some sort of regulation in regards to questions working from home. I'm not sure that just because it's

been written in law, that it will be effective enough for it to be respected.

SOARES (voice over): Portugal's ruling Socialist Party is hoping the new labor law will attract digital nomads to their shores.

ANA MENDES GODINHO, PORTUGUESE MINISTER FOR WORK AND SOCIAL SECURITY: This gives power to workers that can choose the best place to live, and to work

to any parts of the world. Of course, it also gives a huge opportunity to companies that can have the best talent in the world, no matter where the

workers live.

SOARES (on camera): It is perhaps a bit too soon to tell how exactly this law will be implemented. But it was one of the last measures taken by

parliament before it was dissolved ahead of a snap election next year, where jobs and the economy are likely to be the main issues Isa Soares,

CNN, Lisbon, Portugal.


ANDERSON: Right. I want to tell you about something very exciting that we are doing in Portugal. CNN is just launched CNN Portugal 24 hour multi-

platform news operation in Portuguese.

We are bringing together some of the best in the business, give our audience there and around the Portuguese speaking while even more news and

analysis, it is available to millions on TV as well as online and across social media. Congratulations on the launch of that. Thank you for joining

us here on CNN. One World with Zain Asher is up.