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UK Government Announces Financial Aid for Struggling Businesses; U.S. Diplomat Denies Reports of Secret Discussions; Tigrayan Leaders Withdraw Rebel Forces from Two Regions; Volatile Turkish Lira Rebounds on Erdogan Support Plan; Libya Holds Elections Amid Political Strife; HBO Max Releases "Harry Potter" Reunion Trailer. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 21, 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: Welcome back to the show. Wherever you are watching you are more than welcome any moment now.

The German Chancellor will reveal his country's response to the Omicron Coronavirus surge. So far Germany has not been feeling the same impact as

for example, the United Kingdom where Omicron has pushed COVID-19 cases to new daily highs but there is an awful lot of concern there about what could


And Germany is poised to implement tough new restrictions starting next week, while other countries in Europe are already under various degrees of

restrictions and lockdowns, all throwing doubt on upcoming holiday gatherings of course in and beyond Europe.

The top U.S. Infectious Disease Expert is telling Americans not to cancel their plans if they aren't vaccinated and to take precautions. Dr. Anthony

Fauci says perspective is needed when considering the impact of Omicron particularly if it causes less severe illness compared to other variant.

Have a listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You obviously want to pay attention to the number of infections

because they could be the forerunner of severity. But if you have a lot of infections, and less severity, it's much more important to focus on



ANDERSON: Well, that's the sense stateside, let's get you to Europe where Ben Wedeman is connecting us today from Italy and Salma Abdelaziz is live

in London. Ben, let's start with you. We are waiting on this news out of Germany. What should we expect?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand that the Chancellor and the leaders of the German States are considering

announcing that for instance, private gatherings will be limited to 10 people that discos and nightclubs will be closed.

But it's important to point out that this decision, if it's made, is not expected to go into effect until the 28th of December. That's a few days

after Christmas. So if they're worried about a spread of the Omicron variant, it may be a little bit too late on the 28th of December, Becky.

ANDERSON: What's the story in France?

WEDEMAN: Well, France is reporting the highest number of severely ill COVID patients around 3000. That's the highest number since May of this year. So

it's in France is well into its fifth wave. Officials there say they expect it to peak sometime between Christmas and New Year's another joy kill


ANDERSON: Salma, Christmas plans likely to have to be re-evaluated in the UK? What's the sense there?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, everyone has just sat down over the last couple of weeks Becky and reconsidered Christmas, a lot of

people just pulling into isolation themselves because they've been in touch with the COVID case or they're scared about getting sick.

I mean, we have had days and days of record breaking numbers just in the last seven days, the number of positive cases every 24 hours that number

has increased by 61 percent. You're looking at a massive caseload. I think the most difficult thing to get in London City right now is those lateral

flow test those rapid test they're about the most precious thing in the city.

So many people need to get tested because of a because of the spread of the Omicron invariant. And that's exactly why Prime Minister Boris Johnson has

been under so much pressure to put tougher restrictions in place yesterday he held an emergency cabinet meeting, but no further measures were


He did however; say I reserve the right to continue to review the data every 24 hours. But this is why there's been accusations of lockdown by

stealth because businesses have had to simply close their doors just because of so many cancellations and staff sick outs due to the surge and

today of course the Chancellor of the Exchequer responding to that and announcing more support for businesses take a listen.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Well, I know the current situation is very difficult, especially for those in the hospitality

industry. So today we're announcing three new measures to help people and businesses.

Firstly, we're announcing a billion pounds in financial grant support which means eligible hospitality companies will be able to claim a cash grant

worth up to 6000 pounds. Secondly we're providing 30 million pounds to top up our successful cultural recovery fund to support institutions like

theatres and museums/


SUNAK: And lastly, we're reintroducing our statutory sick pay rebate scheme so that small and medium sized companies can claim compensation for the

government for the cost of sick pay for their employees. Taken together, I'm confident that these measures will help hundreds of thousands of

businesses and the millions of people that they employ.


ABDELAZIZ: Look Becky if you ask this country's scientific advisors, those who advise the government the sage body, they will tell you this is not


They wanted to see more restrictions come into place over the weekend, the scientific adviser - advisors published a paper that warned that up to 3000

people a day could be winding up in English hospitals winding up in hospitals across England with COVID-19 If tougher measures are not

introduced before the end of the year, so very stark words there, the government still for now, waiting for more information, Becky?

Anderson: Is it clear at this point how big an impact this surge in cases is having on the National Health System? I know you're talking about what

people are saying about what may happen going forward? Is there any evidence that the - these cases are more severe at this point, and putting

people in hospital in ICU departments?

ABDELAZIZ: That's really the question. And I think that's absolutely what Prime Minister Boris Johnson's argument was yesterday. His explanation was

yesterday that we simply don't have further information on the lag time between infections and hospitalizations.

We're looking right now at what appears to be the peak right? We're having this record breaking number of cases, so many positive cases. In the past

during these variants, these surges, there's been a 17 day about a two week lag time between when you see a surge in positive cases and when people

wind up in hospital.

Now anecdotally we know from South African hospitals and from other doctors that Omicron is potentially milder, but you're also looking at a huge

caseload. So that ratio out of that caseload could still result in very high hospitalizations.

But if you're asking for evidence, I think Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government also want to see it. But I think this is not just going to

be about the science Becky. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson right now is being accused of ineffectiveness, essentially, of being afraid of his own

party, and that that's part of the reason why he's not rolling out new restrictions.

Remember, he faced a rebellion in Parliament recently, last time, he tried to roll out these measures that are in place now the plan B measures, and

those real fear that he would face yet another rebellion if he tried to put tougher restrictions into place. So as with everything, it's not just about

the science here. It's also about the politics, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. We will keep an eye on what's going on in Germany. As we get more information on what the German Chancellor has

announced. We will bring it to you for the time being both of you, thank you very much indeed.

Well, Iran, bracing for the impact of Omicron. It has reported its first case that was Sunday in a man who had just returned from the UAE. And

earlier today, Iran announced its top diplomat in Yemen Hassan Irloo, died from COVID-19 days after being flown home for treatment.

Now all of this comes of course, amid the ongoing standoff over Iran's nuclear program, a seventh round of talks between Iran and world powers

ended last week in Vienna with little visible movement towards a deal American and European officials warn that the window for returning to the

nuclear deal is growing smaller, as Iran makes advances in its nuclear program.

Well, the U.S. of course abandoned the deal under the Trump Administration and re-imposed economic sanctions. Iranian officials insist on the

immediate removal of all sanctions before reversing any of its nuclear progress. Iran also wants U.S. to guarantee that no future president will

withdraw from any potential deal.

Well, the U.S. President's Special Envoy for Iran expressed optimism as those latest well, that latest round of talks started in an interview

recently with Al Jazeera. He said and I quote, we're fully committed to a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA. We think there's still time to

do it if Iran comes back and says they are prepared to roll up their sleeves and do it, too.

Rob Malley joins me now from the State Department in Washington. Good to have you, sir. When will these talks resumed? Let's start there.

ROB MALLEY, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR IRAN: So we're not sure it's up to the European Union Coordinator to decide and we'll be hearing from him we

assume sometime this week about when the talks will resume we hope relatively soon. I mean, we were not in favor of the - we were not the ones

who instigated this break. The Iranian delegations needed some time and we're waiting to go back soon as the EU the European Union tells us its



ANDERSON: OK, the Iranians, Rob say that the last round of talks were a success, because they say they've introduced two new texts into the

discussions and have made sanctions relief a priority. Where there talks a success from your side?

MALLEY: I think there was very modest incremental progress in terms of further defining the basis for the talks. But let's be clear, and you said

earlier that I expressed optimism. I don't think that was optimism. That was determination on our part, as well, as I think on the part of all of

our partners in the negotiations in the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, to conclude a deal if Iran is ready.

I don't know that that's optimism. But it is a statement that we are prepared to move forward. The progress that took place, we really have to

be quite measured about what it was its Iran. And the other negotiators coming back to the point where we were more or less when we left off in

June, which is an agreed text on the nuclear side about how we're going to proceed and what is the agenda of the open issues?

But to say that we've agreed on what the agenda was is a far cry from saying that we've resolved those issues on that agenda. So I'd say it was a

step forward, but a very modest one. And the hard work still remains to be done.

As I said earlier, in the other interview, your reference, we have time to retrieve it, but not much time. And it's really up to Iran to decide what

path it wants to take.

ANDERSON: OK. Well, you've said that time is, is running out, certainly Washington and Europe have said that a number of times. The JCPOA's nuclear

safeguards will lose meaning, of course, once Iran reaches a nuclear threshold, do you think the Iranians are playing for time here?

MALLEY: So I don't know, I think if you just look at what they're doing, it seems pretty clear that their plan is to try to build more leverage by

expanding the nuclear program and hoping to use that leverage to get a better deal.

It won't work. I mean, I think we've said this very clearly, we're prepared to go back to the JCPOA, the nuclear deal as it was negotiated in 2015, and

2016, neither more nor less. So they try to build more leverage.

Number one, they won't get a better deal, because what we say we're prepared to do is what was negotiated way, five years ago. But secondly,

they their strategy is going to backfire if that is their approach, because as they move forward with a nuclear program, we and the Europeans have made

clear, we're gradually going to be losing the nonproliferation benefits for which we bargain.

And at some point in the not so distant future, we will have to conclude that the JCPOA is no more, and we'd have to negotiate a wholly different

deal. And of course, we'd go through a period of escalating crisis. So if that's their plan, I would strongly urge them to revisit it because our

message has been consistent.

It's been the message that everyone has sent, including Russia and China, by the way, they need to come back to the table and reach a deal soon or

this opportunity will be lost.

ANDERSON: How far in the future? Are you talking about? I mean, what is your assessment about Iran's ability to make a deal at this point?

MALLEY: I mean, you know, it really depends on the pace of the nuclear progress. If they halt the nuclear advances, we have more time if they

continue the current pace. We have some weeks left, but not much more than that. At which point I think that the conclusion will be that there is no

deal to be revived.

Again, it depends on how quickly they negotiate. And how quickly or slowly the advanced the nuclear program.

ANDERSON: You've talked about some weeks there, have you had any meetings or interactions with the Iranian side in Vienna?

MALLEY: No. And that's because the Iranians their position is clear. They will not meet with the United States, as long as the United States is not

back in compliance with the deal. That's their choice. We think it's an unfortunate one, because it leads to slower negotiations, misunderstanding,

miscommunication, but that's their decision.

ANDERSON: So reports that we have heard of secret discussions are not true, correct?

MALLEY: Correct. I've not seen those reports. But if they exist, they are inaccurate.

Anderson: Is there a political will in Washington to make a deal? There are reports and some say that President Biden doesn't want to spend any

political capital on reviving a deal that will get pushed back with Republicans on the Hill.

MALLEY: So number one, and present Biden was clear during the campaign and since he's been in the Oval Office, that he wants us to come back into

mutual compliance with the deal, if Iran is ready. That's what I've been negotiating with our team. That's what Secretary Blinken and everyone else

has been committed to, so there should be no doubt.

And we've made very clear to everyone in these negotiations, what we're prepared to do, which is to lift all of the sanctions that are inconsistent

with the JCPOA. And by the way the reason why President Biden has made this his policy is because we have experienced the results of President Trump's

decision to withdraw from the deal in 2018.


MALLEY: We've seen an expanding runaway Iranian nuclear program, and the more belligerent Iran on the under regional scene. So it was a catastrophic

decision that was made, we're prepared to reverse it, it really is up to Iran to decide whether it wants to go down that path or chooses a different

path of an escalating crisis. But the political will is there because it's in the U.S. national interest.

ANDERSON: Iran wants all sanctions lifted, not just those associated with the JCPOA. And Washington has, indeed, instituted more sanctions recently

on Iran and Iranians and others associated with certain industries. So you're saying just the lifting of sanctions associated with the JCPOA,

correct? That is what you are agreeing to at this point?

MALLEY: That's right. And I'll tell you Iran's position is not entirely clear. We don't know exactly what they're insisting on. That's why we want

to go back to the end to hear what their position is on sanctions. But I think, again, it's the view of everyone who is involved in these


I'll put Iran on a slide for a second, that what we're talking about is a return to the JCPOA. That means the lifting of sanctions inconsistent with

that deal.

ANDERSON: The Iranians want a commitment that the U.S. won't pull out of any deal in the future. Can you give them that commitment?

MALLEY: So again, I'm not sure that is the request. Sometimes it's been that at other times, it's been that President Biden would not withdraw.

That's something that President Biden has said. He said it publicly that the U.S. would not withdraw that he would not withdraw from the deal as

long as Iran is in compliance.

There is no doubt the prison Biden would not be negotiating would not have sent his team to negotiate if his intent was to withdraw for no good

reason. If Iran stays in compliance, the U.S. will stay in compliance; we cannot bind a future president, that's for sure. And we said that to the


But the sooner we get back into the deal, the more it shows its results, the more we can build on that deal, the more likely it is that a future

president will stick to it, particularly with the lessons that we've learned about the consequences of the withdrawal of the - from the deal in


ANDERSON: We know the big issue here is how you sequence Iranian compliance with the deal and American and European steps to provide sanctions relief,

just explain if you will, briefly how that sequencing would work.

MALLEY: So I'm not sure it's the biggest issue, it is one of the issues. And what we've said is we're prepared to negotiate a sequence, you know, we

take some steps, they take some steps, what we've said we couldn't do is we take all our steps, and then Iran a few months later decides to take its

own, we're prepared to our system where both sides will know who's going to do what when.

And we're prepared to negotiate that we have some ideas, we're waiting to see what Iran is prepared to do. But again, I think our position is

consistent with that of all of the other parties, Russia, China and the Europeans included --


MALLEY: --let's negotiate a specific sequence of steps.

ANDERSON: From where I'm sitting, there does seem to be a lot of side meetings going on between the Chinese and the Russians with the Iranians,

excluding Europeans and the Americans. So where - so where is this coordination? Certainly the National Security Adviser and your colleague,

Jake Sullivan, talks about this coordination the other day, it does seem to be lacking somewhat.

MALLEY: Well, I really would take issue with you, Becky, on that there's been and I think you could follow it because the Russian Ambassador, the

Russian representative tweets, all of our meetings, I meet with him. I meet with the Chinese. I've met several times with the Chinese and the Russians

have had conversations with the Russian the Chinese Deputy Foreign Ministers together in the recent weeks.

Of course, we coordinate with the Europeans that many meetings involving the Europeans, Russia, China and us, of course, many meet with the Iranians

as well as they should, but I think every configuration you could think of takes place other than us meeting with the Iranians. So there's that

coordination, a unity of use - sorry, go ahead.

ANDERSON: OK. OK. No, I wanted you to finish all your thoughts.

MALLEY: I'm saying there really is a lot of convergence, if I could just say a lot of convergence among all of us, Russia, China, the Europeans and

us on urgency and on the fact that we need to negotiate on the basis of what had been reached in June, and we don't have much time to do it. And

that's a very strong position we've all taken.

ANDERSON: Have a listen to what the Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President Anwar Gargash had to say recently about Iranian sanctions on your response

to this, if you will.


ANWAR GARGASH, DIPLOMATIC ADVISER TO UAE PRESIDENT: I don't see further sanctions are as a solution. I think there are already enough sanctions on

Iran - on Iran to move forward in my opinion. I think that diplomacy is the way forward.



ANDERSON: We've seen evidence of a reset in relations with Iran here in the UAE and indeed, around the regions. There is a sense that the U.S. is an

increasingly unreliable partner for it's as well, regional friends.

And there is some, as I say repositioning going on, not least with Iran. - do you have the GCC on board with your vision for the JCPOA? And second

question to you, is the U.S. increasingly an unreliable partner for this region?

MALLEY: So I think I was visiting the GCC countries not long ago, and we issued a joint statement, I think our position on the JCPOA is remarkably

harmonious for more so than it was in 2016. All of the GCC countries are in favor of a return to the JCPOA.

What Anwar Gargash said, you know, he's right, diplomacy is the way forward; we would prefer not to be in a position where we would have to

tighten our sanctions.

Again, if Iran is prepared to come back into compliance with the JCPOA, we will be lifting our sanctions that are inconsistent with the deal; they

have to make that decision. And we are perfectly willing to go down the route of diplomacy.

And I think the GCC will find us a very reliable partner on that pathway. And we've coordinated very closely with them. And we're committed to that,

as the President has said he would be from day one.

ANDERSON: Finally, so Jake Sullivan is going to visit Israel in the coming days and continues to lobby against a deal with Iran, Israeli officials say

they believe their concerns are getting better hearing in Washington. Are they?

MALLEY: So Jake Sullivan is actually in Israel as we speak, I think we are we have very, very, you know, very close coordination, transparency; it

doesn't mean we agree on everything. We know that Israel has a different perspective, partly informed by its location in the region.

But I think we are in very much the same page on the core objective, which is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, which may have some

tactical differences of use, which we try to align as much as possible. But our objective remains the same. The President is committed to that. And

we'll be working closely with Israel towards that, towards that end.

ANDERSON: Optimistic going through the holiday period and beyond.

MALLEY: I'm never optimistic or pessimistic, we'll do our best but at the end of the day, we all we could do is reiterate that we're prepared to come

back into the deal and prepare ourselves for a world in which Iran doesn't have that same interest.

ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there.

MALLEY: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Rob Malley, thank you very much indeed for joining us. A new day or more of the same coming up, we'll take a deep dive into this week's

election in Libya, with one of the most prominent voices on the subject. Plus a possible turning point in Ethiopia's conflict that's been tearing

the country apart for 13 months, stay with us.



ANDERSON: Welcome back after more than a year of civil war rebels in northern Ethiopia say they are making an overtures towards peace. President

of the Tigray region has announced a retreat; he's ordered units to withdraw from neighboring regions, a turning point in their conflict with

the federal government that Washington is welcoming.


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: If we do see a movement of Tigrayan forces back into Tigray that is something we would welcome. It's

something we've called for, and we hope it opens the door to broader diplomacy.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN's Larry Madowo has been covering this conflict for months. He joins me now from neighboring Kenya. Larry, Washington maybe

welcoming the news, but the Ethiopian government doesn't share their optimism at this point. Why? What have they been saying?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The European government is saying two key things here, Becky one that they have always supported a peaceful

resolution to the conflict in the northern Ethiopia, which has gone on now for 13 months.

But two that the TPLF are being dishonest that the only reason they're withdrawing from afar and Amhara, the two neighboring regions is because

they've been badly defeated by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

And so this is another strategic withdrawal according to the Ethiopian government, they have been beaten out of these places. And that the Tigray

People's Liberation Front on the back foot, that is what the Ethiopian government is telling Ambassador stationed in Addis Ababa.

And that is what the Ethiopian government told reporters today in Addis Ababa as well. In fact, their spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Billene

Seyoum responded directly to the Tigray People's Liberation Front right into the U.N. Secretary General calling for a ceasefire and immediately

negotiations and also called for an arms embargo. But on the question of the ceasefire, this is the Ethiopian government's response.


BILLENE SEYOUM, ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Ceasefire from who is the question the government has already been engaged in a ceasefire before

which has been evidently, you know, referred to as a sick joke.

So the federal government has got an obligation to maintain peace, to ensure the territorial integrity and the operations by the federal Defense

Forces will ensure that territorial integrity will be maintained. And that TPLF is no more a threat to the peace and stability of Ethiopia.


MADOWO: So Becky, the official line from Ethiopia is that the TPLF is an illegitimate organization. It's a terrorist organization that has no

business right into the U.N. asking for negotiations at all.

And yet also authorities say they're committed to peace, but they have to protect the territorial integrity and they are going to make sure that the

TPLF and the Tigray People's Liberation Front is defeated.

So they have been very critical of international media of the international community for essentially saying that the international community repeats

that TPLF narrative without questioning it, and yet the Ethiopian government has a right to defend itself.

ANDERSON: Yes, bottom line, no breakthrough here as of yet. Larry, thank you. You're watching "Connect the World" live from Abu Dhabi. Ahead the

Omicron Coronavirus Variant putting livelihoods at risk of collapsing once again we're going to talk about the UK's plan to help struggling

businesses. Plus the troubled Turkish Lira and the nightmare that it is causing for people struggling to buy the basics what Turkey's president is

doing to keep the currency out of free-fall.



ANDERSON: Well, Investors has spent the day clawing back from Monday's losses right now global markets, on the up fears about the spread this

Omicron variant, are they putting businesses at risk of collapse once again?

And the uncertainty really very, very destabilizing for very many people, you see a lot of empty tables, for example, in London in these images.

Today, the UK Government announcing a plan to help these struggling businesses.

You heard the detail of that plan a little earlier on. Let me bring in Anna Stewart, who is in London, and she joins me live. Anna, if you will just

expand a little bit on what we heard from Rishi Sunak today, who is the effectively the Treasury Secretary there in the UK.

And why it is important that the government has responded now to help businesses at least the hospitality industry get through this current

period after all, we really have no idea yet from the UK government as to whether they will restrict further lockdown going forward. It's very

unclear, isn't it?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It's really unclear. And I think that is a massive concern for so many businesses in different consumer facing sectors

including of course hospitality, what's coming up next.

But also what's happening right now because I can tell you cancellations just over the last two three weeks have been severe. Some revenues down by

40 percent just in the last weekend and this is such an important critical really season for so many businesses.

This is what they were hoping for relying on for the year and they need help and they've been called this now for weeks. But finally it is here.

And it's not as extensive as in lockdowns past, but it shouldn't be frankly, because these businesses aren't being told to lock down. They're

not closing their doors.

Just the fact of the matter is people just don't want to go out; they don't want to catch Omicron right before Christmas and spend their festival

season in isolation. So here's what's been announced from the Chancellor, 1 billion pounds in financial grants support that is aimed for hospitality

firms. They can claim up to 6000 pounds a little under $8,000 each. And to put it into context that's actually similar to levels of lockdown in terms

of grants which these businesses can access.

Also 30 million pounds $40 million top up in terms of the cultural recovery fund that supports institutions like theatres, museums, the ballet, they

are also seeing mass cancellations if you want to go see the Nutcracker right now, I'm told there are now finally tickets available.

I'm not sure anyone wants to. They're also reintroducing our statutory sick pay rebate scheme for the SMEs that will also help those who are seeing

many; many staff members having to take time off six they can now claw back some money from the government. Now, this has been really welcomed from

hospitality firms. The lobby group UK hospitality said having seen such a huge decline in revenues; this will definitely go somewhere to help.

Also the BCC the British Chambers of Commerce, but Becky, they see this as a starting point. Because they expect that if this continues for much

longer in terms of a self-imposed lockdown, or worse, if a real lockdown isn't posed, they're likely to need more.

Whether or not we ever go back to the dark depths of previous lockdowns with a furlough scheme being reintroduced, I'm not so sure that will happen

that costs $95 billion for the UK government between March last year and September when it wrapped up this year.

And it was really hard to take businesses off that life support. But the government will be looking at the economic figures here and they will be

worried inflation at a 10 year high last month, the economy barely growing and latest GDP figures for October. It's getting pretty concerning, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely, Anna, thank you for that. Well, that's a UK's story. Turkey in the midst of a currency crisis, although it is now getting

some help. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the wraps of what is the new savings plan that protects deposits held in Turkish Lira.

Now this has sparked a rebound and what is a very troubled currency from Monday's new low. But the Lira does still remain close to record lows

against the U.S. dollar. I want to head to Istanbul now and CNN's Arwa Damon. What do we know of the detail of this plan? This is a plan that was

announced later on.

And it has significantly provided support for the Turkish Lira or is of some very low levels. So what's the detail here?


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I think that's what everyone's trying to figure out at this point, including the

banks themselves.

I spoke to my banker, for example, asking if they knew at this particular bank exactly what sort of deal this was in terms of the savings accounts

and how the government would be compensating people in the event that they lost money in these fixed rate savings accounts that the President the

Turkish President has been talking about.

And they said that they hadn't received clear guidance just yet. But it's quite astounding, Becky, if you think that when we were talking at this

exact time yesterday, the Lira was at that all time, low, 18 Turkish Lira to the dollar.

The president a few hours later makes this announcement. People wake up in the morning this morning. And the lira is down at 11. I mean everybody

Becky was turning to one another and trying to figure out what was happening, you know what's going on. Everybody is watching these currency

fluctuations, because then throughout the day, it was bouncing around from 13 to 15 to 14. And this is what has this very deep psychological impact.

A lot of people you talk to will say that, look, if the lira was just steadily decreasing, that we can handle you can make certain adjustments

for that. But this ping pong in all over the place. It really has people worried.

Now, this deal is meant to basically give people torques, confidence, sufficient confidence to leave their money in Turkish Lira, they can put

them in these short term investment savings accounts for three, six or 12 months.

And at the end of that when these accounts reach maturity, if the money that they would have made off of them is not it's less than what the

devaluation against the dollar is. And as I was saying, the government is going to make up the difference.

There are also a number of measures that are being put forward to try to help support the export industry, local businesses, people who have their

retirement money, their savings. But really, Becky, this is such a confusing time for the Turkish population right now.

ANDERSON: And worries about public debt and inflation off the back of this. Not an easy situation. Thank you. Well, years of civil war have left Libya

battered and bruised, but there's hope that an election will certainly there was would bring some stability. We're going to take a look at that

after this break.



ANDERSON: Tragedy in the waters of Libya had at least 160 migrants are dead or missing after two shipwrecks on Friday and Saturday in the med. That's

according to the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration or the IOM many migrants are rescued like these you see here.

However, the U.N. says nearly 1500 have died this year trying to get to Europe. Well, this Friday is Libya's Independence Day marking 70 years

since breaking free from France and Britain. It was also supposed to be Election Day.


ANDERSON (voice over): Libya's first presidential election scheduled for December, the 24th were meant to be a crucial step in what observers hoped

would put an end to the country's long running civil war.

But due to legal challenges and administrative issues, experts say those elections are likely to be postponed raising fears of a return to

dysfunctional squabbling factions or even armed conflict. Tensions are mounting over a number of controversial figures who plan to run when

Libyans eventually go to the polls.

Amongst them is renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who wants laid siege to the Capitol, and its commander of the Eastern based Libyan National Army.

Also Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of the former dictator he wants to run despite being wanted by the International Criminal Court and the Interim

Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah who heads the Tripoli based unity government; he pledged not to seek elected office when he took the post

earlier this year.

The country has been split between rival administrations supported by vast numbers of militia and tens of thousands of foreign fighters from countries

such as Russia and Turkey. International organizations and members of Libya's government have voiced strong objections to foreign interference in

the national vote, leading to the potential delay.

A shell of what it once was, the leadership struggles to allocate properly the country's natural resources, particularly oil. And another crisis

bruise offshore as hundreds of thousands of migrants uses Libya as a gateway to Europe.

Nearly 1500 men, women and children have died so far this year, trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya. The EU sent more than $500 million

since 2015 largely channeled through agencies like the U.N., which aims to be far Libya's Coast Guard.

There have been reports of abuse of migrants and Libya's Foreign Minister recently criticized the EU's migration policy in the region. Holding

elections won't solve these issues. But the hope is it will bring stability to a country desperate for peace.

For now, though, it's a waiting game. Well, my next guest was recently quoted as saying the elections may do more harm than good in Libya, given

the deep societal and political fault lines the necessary conditions for free and fair elections are not available. And Libyans are too divided to

accept or agree on the results.


ANDERSON: Well, Jamal Benomar joins me now live. He is the Chair of the International Center for Dialogue Initiatives. He's also served as the U.N.

Under Secretary General it's important to have you on today. Thank you. These elections were scheduled for December the 24th. That is the end of

this week, will they take place?

JAMAL BENOMAR, CHAIR, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DIALOGUE INITIATIVES: I doubt whether these elections will take place simply because there are so

many problems that haven't been resolved. The problem in Libya is that there hasn't been inclusive, all inclusive political processes that will

enable the Libyans to sort out discuss and sort out their differences.

So there has been a push, you know, from the international community for Libyans to have elections. They say elections as the panacea for Libya's

problems as the way to stabilize Libya. But I'm afraid these elections could become very divisive and could push the country back to more violent


ANDERSON: And it's a view shared by many people that I speak to. So if these elections won't bring peace or stability to the country, then what

will is the question? And what is holding up the official announcement that these elections will be postponed if indeed, you are convinced that that

will be the case?


BENOMAR: We'll look, Libyans want elections, there is plenty of evidence that the general population really is fed up of the 100 and so politicians

are dominated politics in the last 10 years. So they want a legitimate government and a legitimate government can only come through the ballot


And we see this as evidence from reports of the numbers of people who registered, you know, it was around 700,000 in 2014. Now, it's more than

2.5 million people who are ready. So there is no doubt you know, Libyans want elections.

But the problem here is that there hasn't been a political process that is Libyan led, not foreign led, Libyan led, that will bring all sides together

to develop first social pact. There is no constitution, I don't know of any country that will rush into election with no agreed constitution.

So the legal framework, the constitutional framework is not there, there is no agreement on it, you know, there is no consensus on it. And that's what

makes the point here.

ANDERSON: And so, you make a very good point here. Yes, and you make a very good point here. This process has not been Libyan led; it is a U.N.

sponsored political process that included these elections. Do you consider that then a failure? And if so, what were the shortfalls?

BENOMAR: Well, the history of the last 10 years in Libya, of politics in Libya has been a history of failed mediation. There have been many

international actors involved competing with each other, you know, we'll have the, you know, the French the UK.

More recently, you have main actors have emerged, you know, trying to decide Libyan politics or the Russians and the Turks. And then with the

U.N. they're sometimes playing a useful role sometimes is seen or, you know, as a fig leaf.

But what was lacking really is a Libyan led political process, one that is led by Libyans, and that has a Libyan agenda. All international actors who

are involved or meddling in Libyan affairs have economic security and other interests; they don't have the Libyan national interests at heart.

But then, you know, the neighbors could have played a role, but the laborers are often too divided. But they know better all the actors, they

have a better understanding of the situation in Libya --, hopefully, they will play a role in the future.

ANDERSON: So if these elections are postponed, and there has been no official postponement, to date, but there has also been no official

publishing of the list of candidates, of course, which means that nobody, has officially had any time to campaign.

And as I said, these elections are supposed to be held on Friday. What do you make of the candidates so far, namely, the two most prominent and

controversial names Saif al Gadhafi and Khalifa Haftar?

BENOMAR: Well first it's a long list of candidates. And you know, this list is still not completely, you know, agreed upon. So it's still not clear who

is officially candidate and who is not.

But what complicates, you know, this issue here is the fact that has never been, you know, a consensus and agreement on the criteria, you know, for

holding office, you know, the criteria for candidates that the candidate should have. And it's became a very controversial issue.

One thing that is very clear is that there are many faces, you know, from the past 10 years, you know, dominated politics in Libya, who are back

again, running for office, and these include Khalifa Haftar and Gaddafi sons, Saif al-Islam and others.

ANDERSON: Did I stand a chance either out of interest?

BENOMAR: Well, one thing that's very clear is that when the candidacy of Khalifa Haftar and Saif al-Islam were announced, there was a rush by

Libyans, you know, to register for elections. Are they registering, you know, to express you know, their support for these candidates?

Are they rushing to register in order to express their opposition we don't know? Elections, you know, will tell us if elections are held anytime soon.


ANDERSON: If elections are held anytime soon, what is at stake here if a solution is not found, sir?

BENOMAR: What is at stake really is stability in not just in Libya, but in the whole region. In the Maghreb and the Sahel we know how, you know, this

conflict in Libya has destabilized the neighboring countries, and it's the situation is very serious in Niger, Mali in the whole Sahel region.

And we need the - we see the political difficulties that are still going on in Tunisia. You know, it's, it adds, you know, to the mix of problems this

region is having, and this is just across, you know, the sea from Europe. So it's very serious, you know, what we can see is, what could happen is a

renewed process of more violence and mayhem in the country.

ANDERSON: And we are getting reports of violence and mayhem on the ground, as we speak, and in the run up to these scheduled elections. Why is it do

you think that the country has failed to overcome its deep and complex divisions a decade after the end of the Civil War?

And how long does one postpone these elections? If indeed, that happens to ensure that the mechanisms are in place in what is a deeply divided country

that the mechanisms are in place to hold a free and fair election? How long is that going to take?

BENOMAR: Well, let us not forget, you know that the situation changed the Libya the regime fell as a result of an uprising but an uprising that was

supported by a NATO intervention and in a country with no tradition of democracy, no traditions whatsoever, no culture of human rights and


The international community in 2012, you know rushed to pushing for elections, these first elections led to violence again in 2014. You know,

elections produced more division and violence elections by their nature, unleash political competition.

But unleashing political competition in a country with no states to speak of no institutions to manage conflict is a recipe for disaster. What was

needed really is a Libyan lead political process that could lead to a new social contract among Libyans.

So the international community put the cart before the horse what was needed really is for Libyans to agree on a system of values norms a

constitution. And rules of the game before elections you know can be held.

And don't forget you know that I always remind my European friends of this it took Europe you know, hundreds of years you know to get a culture of

democracy stop this is not going to happen Libya within you know, a few years. It will take time.

ANDERSON: Sir, with that, we'll leave it there and we'll have you back and we will continue to watch this story what is going on and grant it's

incredibly important, thank you. But if you think no one goes out to see movies anymore think again, next up, the startling box office whole, the

latest Spider Man movie - on that after this.



ANDERSON: In this age of pandemic reduced movie going one new release has weaved box office gold. Really sure that crowds flocked to U.S. theaters

over the weekend see Spider Man: New Way Home, a film taking in $260 million, the highest grossing opening weekend of any movie during the

pandemic and the second biggest ever.

Harry Potter fans magic is in the HBO Max which is part of CNN's parent company Warner Media just dropped the official trailer for its upcoming

reunion special "Return to Hogwarts, have a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I've seen kind of every stage in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When things get really dark and times are really hard there's something about Harry Potter that makes life richer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a strong bond that we always have.


ANDERSON: Well the original, the original - just some of the stars featured in the upcoming special - which celebrates 20 years since the first Potter

film was released Can you believe it? 20 years especially set to premiere January 1 on HBO Max.

Right, wherever you are watching, thank you, pleasure having you on board. "One World" with Zain Asher is next. But first more pictures, Superman.