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Connect the World
Global Concern Over Omicron Variant Grows Amid New Appeals, New Restrictions on the Unvaccinated; Blinken and Lavrov Meet Amid Tensions over Ukraine; China Responds to WTA Decision to Halt Tournaments There; Patrick McEnroe: "Gutsy Decision" by the WTA; United Arab Emirates Celebrates 50th Anniversary; Ghobash on UAE Changes as it Becomes a Global Player. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired December 02, 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: And you are joining us live from the EXPO 2020 in Dubai where celebrations have been underway all day
to mark the 50th anniversary of the UAE's foundation. Well, hello and welcome back to "Connect the World" more from here later.
Global concern over the Omicron Coronavirus variant is increasing as global appeals to the unvaccinated to get that jab grow louder and louder the
Africa's CDC Director today announcing a 153 percent increase in new COVID- 19 cases in Southern Africa over the past month driven by the new variant the Premier of South Africa's largest province urgently calling on people
to get vaccinated immediately in what he calls a situation of great concern.
Well, away from Africa in Germany patience for the unvaccinated has worn out the incoming and outgoing Chancellor's today banning the unvaccinated
from all but the most essential businesses and restricting their contact in private settings.
The American President Joe Biden set to announce an outreach campaign today for those reluctant to get the shots ahead of a possible winter surge.
Well, our reporters are connecting us to the latest from Europe and from Africa.
Fred Pleitgen is in Berlin. I'm going to get to you momentarily. But I want to get to David McKenzie first in Johannesburg. I mean, given what we've
said about-- what we've reported about this exponential rise in COVID cases by African CDC.
I just want to get your response to Dr. Michelle Groome who I spoke to this time yesterday Head of the Division of Public Health at South Africa's
National Institute for Communicable Diseases. David have a listen to what she told me?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHELLE GROOME, SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: There's some early evidence that you know of increasing
reinfections, which I think is a little bit worrying in terms of possible immune escape. Our case numbers are really increasing very rapidly.
I think probably the fastest spread that we've seen since the start of the pandemic. But it's really unclear whether this is due to increased
transmissibility of the Omicron variants or due to immune escape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And it is still unclear at this point, just what we're dealing with it?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it is. But what's important to note, as your experts said there, the cases are rising
exponentially. South Africa was expecting a fourth wave of the virus at around this time.
So teasing out whether its transmissibility or reinfection is very hard at this early stage. I mean, its South Africa is believed to have very
widespread immunity, certainly in some portions of the population that should prevent at least severe disease and even infection with COVID-19.
But there is some evidence that was also announced today that really there is potentially a level of reinfection, meaning someone who has had earlier
variant of COVID-19 can get this variant. But the expectation is that those infections will be less severe.
One piece of good news and we have been kind of feeling this out for several days Becky it does appear that those who are vaccinated are getting
more mild disease. And in the hospitals even now, as cases are surging the vast majority of people there are not vaccinated.
So the question is like, is whether in a couple of weeks we get a sense of this variant is just sort of similar to Delta with a few other
characteristics that might display some infection. Because as you're seeing in Central Europe, and parts of Eastern Europe, there are very big surges
that have nothing to do with this particular area. Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, David, thank you. I want to get to Fred. Germany, just announcing a lockdown for the unvaccinated explain?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the reasons from what that stems is that the German government, the outgoing
German government, government and the incoming government, Becky are essentially saying that the vaccination rate here in this country is simply
And of course, Germany right now is in a massive wave of infections anyway, and is now really seeing the Omicron variant take hold here as well.
PLEITGEN: And so Angela Merkel today and her Designated Successor Olaf Scholz they placed this essentially a lockdown on unvaccinated people. And
the way that it works is that it's not just most businesses that unvaccinated people are not going to be able to get into, but really large
parts of public life.
You look, for instance, at cultural institutions, theaters, movie theaters and the like indoor sports facilities, restaurants, it really is going to
become very difficult, as Angela Merkel says that it is time for people to get vaccinated, and it is time for the government to get top. Here's what
Angela Merkel said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: We haven't - we have access to cultural and recreational facilities and events throughout Germany. Regardless of
the incidents only to those who've been vaccinated and cured? It is also possible to do an additional test for those with a complete vaccination
plan. The 2G Rules are also extended to retail trade, that everyday shops like supermarkets are excluded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So when Angela Merkel talks about the 2G rules, she's obviously using the German word - which means vaccinated or cured. And those
essentially are the only people who are going to have access to public life.
Now, Germany's also saying that in the future, that vaccinations will inspire - will expire, so people do not need to get their booster shots as
well. They've also announced Becky pretty ambitious campaign to try and get more people vaccinated. And to get people who get their booster shots.
They want to administer 30 million shots by the end of this year. And also, they are now talking about this is something that the German parliament
will have to decide on next year, possibly making vaccinations mandatory. And that certainly is a big step for this country, Becky.
ANDERSON: What's the situation as far as COVID cases are concerned? And importantly, how severe they are at this point, how are the health
authorities? And how is your health infrastructure coping?
PLEITGEN: Yes. Yes, I mean, it really is very difficult. And Angela Merkel herself said that she is really depressed she said, by the current
situation. If you look at the new daily infections, they still are extremely high. The infection rate has gone down a little bit.
But if you look at the numbers in the past 24 hours, it's more than 73,000 new infections, so still very high. And the other thing that's happening
right now is that all this really is putting a strain on the healthcare sector here in Germany, this country does have a very robust healthcare
And certainly they've expanded especially the amount of ICU beds that they've had as the pandemic has gone on. But at the same time, a lot of it
is really under strain. And it's under strain to the extent Becky, that now the German military has been called in to fly patients out of hard hit
areas and to bring them to other areas where there are still ICU capacities that are vacant.
So right now Germany is not in a situation yet, where you would say that the healthcare sector is collapsing, but it certainly is under severe
strain. And, you know, having spoken to people who work at ICUs recently, they say that they believe that tougher measures certainly are necessary
because a lot of them are saying that their jobs have become difficult, if not impossible to conduct with the amount of new patients that are getting
ANDERSON: Fred is in Berlin; David is in Johannesburg, to both of you thank you very much indeed. Well, smiles handshakes and a promise by the U.S. and
Russia to pursue diplomatic efforts amid deepening worries over Moscow's intentions in Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov just held talks in Sweden. Ahead of their meeting, Lavrov
laid out Moscow's position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: No one has the right to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others. And the further
advance of NATO to the east will definitely affect the fundamental interests of our security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Behind the scenes another picture emerging a Ukrainian government source telling CNN that Blinken and Ukraine's Foreign Minister "Put Lavrov
in his place when he made accusations against Ukraine".
Let's get more on this from CNN's Matthew Chance in Kiev, in Ukraine. We are hearing that there was quite some - quite some robust words exchanged
in that meeting. What's your perception of where we are at this point?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that means you refer to that was a dinner and informal dinner that took place the night
before so Wednesday night before the essentially State Antony Blinken met with the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers in which there was a what
was described to me by a Ukrainian government source with knowledge of the meeting as a diplomatic clash in this private dinner over the issue of
CHANCE: And who's to blame for the ongoing situation there? In terms of the overall situation, I think, I think that diplomatic clash, underlines the
tension that is currently playing out both behind closed doors and in the public realm as well, because the Russians have made it quite clear that
what they want at the moment is for an ironclad guarantee legal guarantees to prevent NATO from expanding any further east towards their borders.
The Russians have made it clear for some time, but they're reiterating it now strongly that that's an important consideration from the point of view
of their, of their national security. And, of course, it goes a long way to explaining the military activities, the saber rattling that we've been
witnessing, close to the border of Ukraine by Russian military forces.
The United States, on the other hand, has made it quite clear that for this crisis to de-escalate, it's Russia that has to back down let's take a
listen to what Anthony Blinken the U.S. Secretary of State had to say on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's now on Russia, to de-escalate the current tensions by reversing the recent troop buildup, returning
forces to normal peacetime positions, and refraining from further intimidation and attempts to destabilize Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Alright, well, I mean, so that's Secretary of State saying the onus is on Russia, basically to de-escalate. In terms of NATO giving assurances
that it won't expand further, not only has there been pushed back from the United States and other allies as well, but the Ukrainians themselves have
come out and said, you know, that's not acceptable.
You know, when it comes to whether or not Ukraine joins the Western Military Alliance, Russia doesn't have a voice. And that its calls for
NATO, not to basically include Ukraine in the future, are illegitimate. And so there is a huge division diplomatically at the moment about what needs
to be done to prevent this crisis spiraling further out of control Becky.
ANDERSON: With reports of 100,000 troops amass on the border between Russia and Ukraine; is there a sense of crisis where you are with people on the
CHANCE: Well, I mean, it's a good question, because you think, wouldn't you that, with so many Russian troops, apparently poised, if you believe U.S.
intelligence reports, to undertake an invasion of Ukraine?
That would be but the truth is the country has got used to tens of thousands of Russian forces being poised in that position in an aggressive
position close to its borders. And in that sense, the situation has not significantly changed for them.
ANDERSON: Can you please use the 19 --? Thank you, Matthew. Just ahead, the Women's Tennis Association's getting an earful from China why Beijing is as
angry as worries persist about tennis Super Star Peng Shuai. And 50 years since UAE's foundation I'll speak to one man he's had a front row seat to
the incredible changes underway in this country.
ANDERSON: Beijing is criticizing the Women's Tennis Association or the WTA saying it "Firmly opposes any act that politicizes sports". Now this
follows the WTA's decision to suspend all tournaments in China over concern for the Tennis Star Peng Shuai.
The group says in its words, it has serious doubts that tennis star is safe and not subject to coercion. And caught in the middle of all of this;
athletes like Peng Shuai. Will Ripley take a look at the fallout from the decision?
PENG SHUAI, CHINESE TENNIS STAR: I shouldn't have come into this world but I don't have the courage to die.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The painful words of Peng Shuai Chinese Tennis Star three time Olympian sexual assault accusers.
SHUAI: Why did you have to come back to me take me to your home to force me to have sex with you? I couldn't describe how disgusted I was.
RIPLEY (voice over): Those allegations against a Retired Senior Communist Party Leader made one month ago on Chinese social media censored by the
government erased in less than 30 minutes. The Women's Tennis Association suspending a lucrative 10 year deal in China and Hong Kong, demanding a
full investigation and direct communication with Peng.
STEVE SIMON, CHAIRMAN & CEO, WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION: We're planning to suspend our events until such time that the Chinese authorities do the
RIPLEY (voice over): The Head of the WTA telling CNN China's leaders left him no choice.
SIMON: I can only imagine the range of emotions and feelings that are likely going through Peng right now.
RIPLEY (voice over): Two emails to the WTA supposedly from Peng walk back her accusations the WTA not buying it not backing down.
SOPHIE RICHARDSON, CHINA DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The WTA has really turned in an exemplary performance essentially saying that her well-being
is more important than business.
RIPLEY (voice over): The WTA's strong response in stark contrast to the International Olympic Committee's quiet diplomacy. The IOC now claiming it
held a second video call with Peng, offering her wide ranging support, including a personal meeting in January the IOC handing out this single
photo of its first video call with Peng last month in attempt to calm the controversy the Beijing Winter Games right around the corner.
DICK POUND, MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Best evidence we have --
RIPLEY (voice over): The IOC is longest serving member telling CNN that call alone is proof enough for them she's OK.
POUND: She's fine, and she's not under any kind of coercion or confinement.
RIPLEY (voice over): Chinese state media ignoring the story inside their country outside tweeting updates and videos upon videos activists say are
almost certainly staged aimed at a foreign audience to repair China's reputation ahead of the games.
One high profile state propagandist tweeting the WTA is coercing Peng Shuai to support the West's attack. China's Global Times tweeting the WTA's
decision was based on fictitious information. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing says China has always been firmly opposed to any act of that
The Chinese Tennis Association expressing indignation and firm opposition some of the world's most famous athletes praising the WTA for not staying
silent who is staying silent about Peng Olympic partner sponsors.
RICK BURTON, PROFESSOR OF SPORT MANAGEMENT, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: They are aware that taking a stance against an individual from China or against the
country itself can have damaging repercussions.
RIPLEY (voice over): With billions of dollars at stake.
SHUAI: I feel like a walking corpse.
RIPLEY (voice over): Peng Shuai's call for help goes largely unanswered. Will Ripley CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: Let's bring in Amanda Davies of CNN's World Sport, she's live from London. Amanda this move could cost the WTA hundreds of millions of
dollars of course. Let's have a listen to what former tennis player and current ESPN Tennis Commentator Pat McEnroe had to say about that earlier
to our colleague John Berman. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK MCENROE, ESPN TENNIS COMMENTATOR: This was a gutsy decision, John and this is absolutely going to cost the WTA a huge amount of money over
the next 10 years. They're supposed to play the year end championships and multiple other events in China over the course of the next decade but they
showed their gumption.
MCENROE: They showed their morals, their morals; they showed that they were in this for the right reasons like we need to know. OK, now we seem to know
John that Peng Shuai is safe. She's alive. But do we know is she sound is she sound of mind?
And these videos are supposedly from the IOC and the reaction from them to us that she's OK. Don't worry about her. We can move on. We can brush this
under the table. There are ex athletes, Olympic athletes that understand pressure and they spoke to Peng. I mean, it's an absolute joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well a gutsy decision by the WTA, he calls it. Amanda, this is one organizations putting principles before profits. What about the others?
What about the IOC? What about these sponsors? Who are silent?
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, I mean, that is the big question, Becky. And there's no doubt that in the past, these major sporting
organizations governing bodies have generally back to down from any disputes against Beijing or China because it is such a lucrative market.
And you know the current men's world number one Novak Djokovic, the former world number one and erotic have both spoken about that how these governing
bodies will in far less stable financial situations than the WTA have never been brave enough to take this stance.
Simon himself has said he's very aware; it could be financially catastrophic for the WTA. But because of the platform on which the WTA was
built on equality, on fairness, on fighting for equal rights for women, they see it as no other option.
In terms of the numbers that we're talking about there have been no WTA events in China in the last couple of years because of the Coronavirus
pandemic. But in 2019, they held nine events, the flagship, of course, the WTA, finals at the end of the year, which Patrick McEnroe spoke about
In contrast, the ATP the men's tour in 2019 held four events. So it's not such a big market in terms of the calendar for them, but there's no doubt
it is a very crucial one. And the questions remain the pressure is ramping up on these other sporting bodies.
What will golf do? What will men's tennis do? What will the IOC do if there were questions after that first video call where they released that one
image of President Thomas Bach talking to Peng Shuai what they've said today that a second call has taken place, but then releasing no images, no
audio that is certainly not going to stop the criticism.
Stop the pressure on the mounting with as we know two months today, the start of the Winter Olympics you suspect the IOC's reaction most certainly
has something to do with that.
ANDERSON: Yes, we're going to do a bit on that momentarily. But we will get more from you of course on World Sport about 20 minutes from now. Amanda,
always a pleasure thank you!
That controversy over Peng Shuai, then isn't the only issue China dealing with, of course, just two months out from those Winter Olympics as the
Coronavirus, especially the new Omicron variant. CNN's David Culver takes a look at how Beijing is preparing.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Two months before the start the Winter Olympic Games, a new COVID variant is surfacing globally. But
Beijing is hoping its strict COVID defenses will keep Omicron away. It won't be easy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think it is cause for concern. This is the last thing that organizers would want. This is just not the big question mark
that anyone would want at this moment.
CULVER (voice over): While the new variant has not yet been reported within Mainland China, there are several confirmed cases in neighboring Hong Kong.
ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: A foreign ministry spokesperson is saying that the Omicron variant will pose some challenges,
but they're competent that Winter Olympics will be held smoothly and successfully as scheduled.
CULVER (voice over): China already has some of the toughest containment measures in place math testing by the tens of millions, strict digital
contact tracing and targeted community lockdowns all part of our daily lives here.
CULVER (on camera): This is as close as we can get to some of the iconic Olympic structures from 2008, repurposed for the Winter Olympics, but now
sealed off in a COVID bubble of sorts.
CULVER (voice over): On top of the health concerns, growing calls for Olympic boycotts, as Beijing continues to deny widespread allegations of
human rights abuses. The Women's Tennis Association suspending tournaments within China as it reiterates calls for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai to
be able to speak freely and openly. Peng briefly disappeared last month after she accused a top Communist Party official of forcing her into sex.
SIMON CHADWICK, DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR THE EURASIAN SPORT INDUSTRY: What we're now in the early stages of what I think is a full scale ideological
battle that ultimately could culminate in the United States and other Western nations engaging in a full boycott of the Beijing Winter Games in
CULVER (on camera): But it seems here within China, most folks are unaware of the controversies surrounding these Olympic Games. Instead, you've got
stores like this filled with Olympic merchandise.
CULVER (voice over): And folks here shopping seemingly filled with a lot of excitement and joy, even national pride.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are very excited. Beijing just hosted the 2008 Olympic Games, and now it's the Winter Games again, this is truly
CULVER (voice over): Even with mounting uncertainties, much like 2008, China is expected to put on a spectacular show. Question is, will folks
watching from the outside be wowed or see it all as a fancy facade, covering up an increasingly authoritarian state? David Culver, CNN,
ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live tonight from Expo 2020 in Dubai coming up. I speak to the UAE's former
ambassador to Russia and France about the country's role in the region today and what it means to be a young Emirati.
ANDERSON: As we've been showing you throughout this program today marks a very important milestone for the United Arab Emirates. It is turning 50,
The Golden Jubilee. Well, as those of you who may have spent any time here will know that the UAE is home to modern cities with world class
infrastructure and state of the art industries. But it wasn't always like this.
This is what this place looked like just decades ago, a collection of sleepy shaped limbs reliant on fishing or pearl diving and little bit of
commerce, but to developments change the course of this history's - country's history forever. First was the discovery of major oil fields in
the 1960s that ushered in a period of rapid development.
ANDERSON: And second was the unification of the seven Emirates that today makeup the UAE into a single state under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed
ally and the ruler of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, well, 50 years on the UAE isn't just an economic success story. It
also occupies an important geopolitical role in what is a turbulent region.
It's led efforts to normalize relations between Arab States and Israel. It's recently taken steps to bring Syria back into the Arab fold, finding
ways of improving ties with former ideological foe, Turkey.
And a delegation expected to visit Iran soon in an effort to "turn over a new page". Well, away from the diplomatic arena, UAE is looking to the
future making strides in developing its space industry with the Pope Probe successful journey to Mars and putting forward a green foot with a pivot
from fossil fuels to clean energy sources and a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2050.
50 years on the UAE is emerged as a confident regional powerhouse with global ambitions. Well to find out more about where this country is headed
next, I sat down with Ambassador Omar Ghobash. He was born in 1971. And as such, has had a front row seat to the transformation of the country both as
a diplomat and as an Emirati citizen. I began by asking him for his reflections on this, the Golden Jubilee.
OMAR GHOBASH, UAE ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CULTURE AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: Just remarkable to see where we are today, 50 years later, to think that we went
from a population of 300,000 to 1971, to a population of 10 million today. But in 1971, there were many, many people who thought that the Emirates
wouldn't, wouldn't succeed at all, as a federation.
No Federation has ever really worked in the Arab world and for semi- literate Bedouins, who are living on the edge of the Arab world, to be able to think that they might be able to form a federation that could succeed
with something quite remarkable.
That, of course goes to, to the credit of Sheikh Zayed, he and the founder of the Emirates and really, the major force to push for an idea of unity.
Now, we were in a much, much more controlled environment.
We have some of the best infrastructure in the world, all of this kind of shocks, people of my age, at the continual pace of development, the almost
anxious desire to move forward and make sure that we build something that is truly solid, truly independent of hydrocarbons, truly independent of
anything that can pull us down.
ANDERSON: I was recently struck by the words of Dr. Anwar Gargash, who is the UAE, presidential adviser and former Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs, who said recently, and I quote him here.
"You think more about the next 50 years, and then you think about the past 50, paving the way for the new generation to take over the flag, and the
responsibilities that come with that". The regional neighborhood, he says, is difficult and getting more so. As we look to the next 50 years for the
UAE, what is the country hope to be hope to represent here, regionally and wider internationally?
GHOBASH: I think if you go back 20 plus years, two interesting situations. First of all, the tragic events of September 11th which kind of showed us
the destructive power of radical Islam. For the last 10, 15 years, we've been very active in pushing an agenda of preventing Islamists from coming
to power; we don't like to see the use of religion for political purposes. We're very much focused on that technocratic, a results oriented
And our government is very much focused on pragmatic solutions to problems that we can easily identify. And that's what pulls us much more into the
global sphere, where we're interested in the issues around climate change.
We're interested in the issues around you know, the ethics of artificial intelligence, you know, the gender equality. These are all things that are
actually engaging us, and where we think that we'll be able to make positive contribution not just at the local level, but at a global level.
ANDERSON: That attempt to push back against political Islam has got the UAE over the past few years involved in the war in Yemen, in Libya; there was
an effort at present to reengage build bridges by the UAE, around this region and beyond. Just explain why.
GHOBASH: Firstly, I don't think that we think in terms of those relationships being damaged, we were standing up for very, very important
values. We were standing up for values that we felt were existential to our path. The other thing, another way of looking at it is that there are many,
many metals in the Middle East quite often from outside of the Middle East but including it within the Middle East.
GHOBASH: If we saw that political Islam or political Islamists, we're going to be armed with the resources of hydrocarbons, for example, in Libya, and
then it was imperative that we take, we take action, and I think we have taken that action, you know, to varying degrees of success.
But what we've clearly demonstrated to regional players who stand on the other side is that we're ready to put a blood and treasure behind our
values, and that we will stand up for them. It has cost everybody in the region. But I think also the region has now kind of moved on.
ANDERSON: When we look at the economic ties that are being fostered here, there's also the latest, Emirati, Turkish refreshment. Abu Dhabi followed
Saudi Arabia's lead in lifting the regional embargo on Qatar as a Syria file, the foreign ministers recent visit to Damascus, and then we see
outreach to Iran at present. There are observers who perceived the UAE's latest diplomatic and political actions as a retreat are they?
GHOBASH: Definitely retreat, they are recognition of change circumstances, everybody has agreed that it's time to move on and perhaps engage with each
other in a different way. You know, people can continue fighting, but it's just going to reach a stalemate, it seems we've all made our intentions
clear. We've all made our values clear. And it's probably time to move on to developing sort of a different set of ties.
ANDERSON: How do you read the recent rapprochement with Iran?
GHOBASH: I'm not sure the rapprochement is the word. I mean, we don't hide the fact that we have a huge problem with their nuclear program. We have a
huge problem with the way in which they're behaving across a large part of the Middle East, key countries, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen.
And this kind of behavior, we really can't, we can't tolerate. However, at the same time, we are very close neighbors. The Port of Dubai is a central
logistical hub for the Iranian economy. And we have continued, of course, in compliance with global sanctions, we've continued to maintain that
economic link to Iran. There's a sizable Iranian population here in the Emirates.
And our desire is to see Iran playing a positive role in the region, not to behave as such, as far as insecurity as the word and to follow us in a
sense and focus on developing their own economic resources.
Iranian people are incredibly talented, incredibly wise, incredibly, superbly educated. And they should be participating in a growing pie for
the region rather than in spending their money and turning other countries upside down.
ANDERSON: Your father safe, Ghobash. He was, of course, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and was sadly assassinated in 1977 when you were
just a young boy. When you look at your father's tenure, as a diplomat during the early years, what kind of lessons do you draw from that
GHOBASH: Far fewer lessons and more questions. I, as I look back on my father's life, I realized more and more that he was a person who was
oriented towards social and economic justice.
He wasn't necessarily a political animal, he wasn't there for, you know the promotion of his own career, or his own interests, personal or public. And
so the question then kind of became very clear to me that young people should also think about these things. Are you willing?
And under what circumstances are you willing to sacrifice your time and energy for a greater cause, which is in the case of the Emirates the
building of the country and, you know, provision of education and so on? What is the price of idealism?
ANDERSON: As an Emirati, what are your hopes? And what are your fears for the next 50 years?
GHOBASH: My hopes are that we, that we get on with, really building this country. And it's kind of I'm pretty sure that we're going to do that. My
fears are what happens when you become so we are compelled, essentially, to become a global player.
We're compelled by economic circumstance to open ourselves up to the forces of global economy. And that's very exciting to a large extent, and we're
attracting some of the best talent in the world. At the same time, we're exposing our local Emirati indigenous population to tremendous forces.
And we need to make sure that we're able to equip our young men and women and the next generation after them with both a sense of identity and a
sense of - I have to say ruthless, ruthless efficiency in understanding what we're doing, understanding how to take advantage of all of the
infrastructural spending that we have made in this country. And to make sure that the Emirati benefits from it just as much as the smart, savvy
ANDERSON: That's Omar Ghobash speaking to me here. At this pavilion, where I'm presenting from it belongs to DP World, the logistics giant is a good
example of how fast this country has developed.
You can see in the photos here, it all started with a single port back in the 1970s. But the leaders here quickly realized that connecting the East
and the West was going to be key to their success. Well, a few years later, Jebel Ali was unveiled the world's largest man made harbor, it alone
contributes to nearly a quarter of Dubai's GDP, taking a short break, back after this.
ANDERSON: Qatar is hosting the FIFA Arab Cup present a test one of sorts before it hosts the World Cup in less than a year. Right now regional teams
are using six of the eight stadiums built for that World Cup. CNN's Amanda Davies got a very special look at what are some pretty impressive venues.
She joins us now live. I hope you aren't afraid of heights because you certainly got up above that little kingdom in the Gulf, didn't you?
DAVIES: Yes, Becky, you know, when you realize a little bit too late, you didn't know what you were signing up for. That is definitely what happened
here. I mean the idea of being 1500 feet up in the sky with a helicopter door open I have to say it's not the most relaxing day at the office.
But we did get the most incredible unique view of what is going to be a World Cup of first isn't it not only because of the time of year, the fact
is in the Middle East but also the most compact World Cup ever. So we've got more of that coming up in a couple of minutes.
ANDERSON: Lovely, that's World Sports coming up. That's it from us tonight. See you same time, same place tomorrow.