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Biden Says Diplomacy Is Still Best with Iran; Biden Going to Saudi Arabia to Promote U.S. Interests; Biden to Address Yemen Conflict with MBS; Lapid Says Two-State Solution Is Guarantee for Democratic Israel; Biden to Meet Palestinian Leader in Bethlehem on Friday; Russia's War on Ukraine; Emirates Slams Heathrow's Passenger Cap. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 14, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hello and welcome to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, coming to you live

from the Red Sea port city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where the scene is set to welcome the U.S. President Joe Biden here tomorrow on the second leg

of his first presidential trip to the Middle East.

We begin today in Israel, where the American president is wrapping up what has been a busy day of meetings and events. And if one message rings loud

and clear from his meeting with Israel's prime minister, it is this.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, you and I also discussed America's commitment to ensuring Iran never obtains a nuclear

weapon. This is of vital security as is to both Israel and the United States and I would add this is vital for the rest of the world as well.


ANDERSON: He appears ready to back those words with action. Mr. Biden signed a statement with Yair Lapid. It says the United States stresses that

integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that it is prepared to use all elements in its national

power to ensure that outcome.

Mr. Biden said he does still hope for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program but, quote, "won't wait forever" for Iran to come back to

the nuclear deal currently stalled. Just a short time ago, I talked about Mr. Biden's comment with John Kirby of the National Security Council at the

White House. Have a listen.


ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: President Biden has been very, very clear that he is not going to take any option off the table with

respect to staying true to our commitment that Iran cannot have a nuclear weapons capability.

But he also was very honest and you heard that today, that he still believes diplomacy is the best path forward to achieve that outcome.

Now, look, the Iran deal negotiations are pretty well complete. There is a deal now on the table. And the president, as you heard him say this today,

he believes the onus is on Iran to take that deal, to accept that deal. Then we can move past where we are right now.

ANDERSON: Some people say that without a return to the JCPOA that limits Iran's nuclear program, Tehran will reach the threshold of nuclear weapon


Does that concern you?

And are the Israelis asking you to prevent Iran from reaching that threshold?

KIRBY: We are obviously concerned about increasing -- nuclear material being developed inside Iran. It is no secret that they are closer now than

they were when our administration took office, because the previous administration pulled out of the deal. They lifted those constraints. They

got rid of those rigid inspection regimes that were in place.

So obviously we are concerned about the discontinued development by Iran of that fissile material. That is why, again, we still believe that the best

outcome is Iranian compliance with the JCPOA, so that we can prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon capability.

ANDERSON: But if not, does that beg a preemptive strike?

KIRBY: I won't speculate about military operations one way or the other. The president has made it clear, Becky, that he is not going to take any

option off the table. But the preferred option still remains, in the president's view, a diplomatic path. And he still believes that there is

time and space for that.

But you heard him say today, that we are not going to wait forever. There's a deal on the table. We want Iran to accept that deal so that we can make

the region safer for everybody.

ANDERSON: What are we talking about here?

Are we weeks, months away at this point?

KIRBY: No, I won't speculate about a timeline, I think the president was very clear that we are not going to wait forever.


KIRBY: Again, I want to say it again and I know I sound like a broken record here but there is a deal. And we need Iran to accept that deal.

There has been a lot of hard work done by diplomats, not just American diplomats but from our European colleagues as well, to get to this point.

So there is still a chance. But obviously, as you heard the president say, we are not going to wait forever.

ANDERSON: Ahead of this trip, the White House also messaged about Iran supplying drones to Russia.

Is it your assessment that Iran has drone building capacity and technology to be a significant player in this arena?

KIRBY: Well, we know that they have the ability to build and manufacture and to field their own drones. They have used some of that technology

against our interests and our troops in places like Iraq and Syria. Clearly, they have the domestic production capability.

I don't know the parameters of the deal that Mr. Putin struck, so I can't speak with specificity about how well Iran will be able to step up to this

requirement. But I think there are two things that are obvious here.

Iran is also an isolated nation and so is Russia. So Russia turning to Iran for help I think speaks volumes of the degree to which both nations, for

their actions in two different areas of the world, have been increasingly isolated by the international community.

Number two, it is indicative of Mr. Putin's problems in terms of replenishing his own defense needs to prosecute this war in Ukraine. We

know the sanctions are biting. We know the export controls are biting.

We know his ability to replenish precision guided munitions and now UAVs are limited because of the pressure that the rest of the world is putting

on Mr. Putin.


ANDERSON: That is John Kirby, just delineating the issues that the world faces at this point, as Joe Biden makes what it is his first visit to the

Middle East. A lot to cover here. CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joining me here.

What do you make of what you just heard from John Kirby?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: On the Iran question, the specific question is, would you use a strike against them?

Sort of equivocating there; Saudis are watching this very closely of course because they have said, Mohammed bin Salman has said that if Iran gets a

nuclear weapon, they're going to want one as well. No one wants to see the whole region get into a nuclear arms race. So that is what is on the table


I think what we have heard from both the Kremlin -- and if you read between the lines from Tehran through Hezbollah, through Hassan Nasrallah speaking,

both the Kremlin has been very clear. Russia doesn't want to see its security interests in the region undermined. Neither does Iran at the


Read into that what you will but you certainly get the feeling that how the United States positions Israel and allies here in the Gulf against Iran,

that is something that could really push Russia particularly and potentially Iran into a worse and more negative place.

Therefore, getting that Iran deal is tougher; therefore, the strike question becomes a more pressing question.


ANDERSON: This trip from the perspective of the White House is mostly, it seems, focused on, let's be frank, mending relations with Saudi Arabia.

To your point, promoting Israel's further integration in the region, which is already happening, both overtly and covertly, and consolidating a

regional alliance against Iran, that, Biden says, is in America's national interests.

For his domestic audience, those issues are really important, that his audience back home will get.

Can we expect anything of substance that the American president can take home from this trip?

ROBERTSON: On the Israel issue of improved rapprochement between Saudi and Israel, very unlikely. The reason is, for Saudi Arabia, it is the home of

Islam's holiest site. The king is a custodian of that holiest of sites.

It would be a huge thing for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel, to improve relations. Therefore the price that they would expect for that would be a

very high one. Let's face it, President Biden is coming here, already asking them for something, which will be an increase in output of oil. That

is key to U.S. strategic interests.

Because quite simply, if the price doesn't come down, Biden's ability to lead the world order in the fight against Russia in Ukraine, particularly

European allies now facing United States high oil prices, that is going to be --


ANDERSON: It is really interesting to see how these regional heavyweights --


ANDERSON: -- and I'm talking here Saudi and the UAE -- of course Joe Biden will be meeting all GCC leaders plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. But it is

interesting to see the cards they hold, the Americans at the moment.

Around the Gulf and the Middle East, regional leaders are promoting the de- escalation of tensions and the bolstering of regional ties with economic and security ties. These efforts are well underway,

I live in the region, I've been watching these efforts now for some time. It is a region intent on building back better together to a certain extent.

I'm wondering what you believe, what role you believe the Americans can play in this bolstering of regional security, the regional alliances that

we are seeing coming into play.

What do they bring to the table at this point?

ROBERTSON: The stronger, the more reliable the umbrella, the bigger the commitments from that umbrella, the United States in terms of security for

regional partners here, then the stronger those regional partners can enter play with the knowledge that they have a little more scope and flexibility.

You're talking about a regional competition, a regional move to change and move forward. Saudi Arabia is really trying to catch up with the UAE right

now. You see that here. The reputation of the crown prince, having this huge and ambitious vision and the drive to get rid of corruption and cut

away the lethargy within the system that has held the country back, to cut away through that.

We've been out on the streets taking a look at it. What that actually means in terms of bricks and mortar, it is messy, take a look.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): President Joe Biden might see this on his way to meeting Saudi's leaders, whole neighborhoods of the kingdom's historic

second city, Jeddah, erased for modernization.

Or he may see this, thousands upon thousands of new homes being built on government orders.

ROBERTSON: What Biden is unlikely to see are the people we met, who told us they're unhappy their homes were demolished but are afraid to speak out


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The housing changes are a fragment of massive reforms authored by the kingdom's leader in waiting, crown prince Mohammed

bin Salman, whom Saudi critics outside the country say is failing to deliver.

YAHYA ASSIRI, NAAS PARTY: It's very clear that it's a big fail for the vision, basically, because it is a one-man vision.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Yet stroll Jeddah's old streets as we did and you'll find plenty of fans of the crown prince.

Abdul Majid (ph) was one of one of them.

Nabil Abdallah another.

NABIL ABDALLAH, JEDDAH SHOP OWNER: My dream, our children get a good chance. Now we are see this, in new vision 2030.

ROBERTSON: Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030?

ABDUL MAJID (PH): I'm with him, I agree with him.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Where generations of his family lived and worked, the crown prince's renovations bringing ancient homes back to life.

ROBERTSON: But what happens if he doesn't deliver?

If he can't deliver?

ABDALLAH: Why do you think negative?

We already now see the positives when something happen.

Why do you think the bigger -- if (INAUDIBLE) here, the think about negative, we cannot go forward one step.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But MBS' dreams are big and could make or break the country. Neom, a futuristic city yet to be built, its epicenter -- and

if the crown prince has his way its economic engine for generations to come.

Yet despite several years in the making, developers' videos are all we have. Government permission to shoot there hasn't yet been facilitated.

Grandiose visions of kings are nothing new here. The last king, Abdullah, had his version. I covered it 15 years ago.


NIDAL JAMJOOM, FORMER CEO, EMAAR KAEC: It's going to be half the size of Bahrain and three times Manhattan.

ROBERTSON: Three times the size of Manhattan?


JAMJOOM: -- yes.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Reality never caught up with imagination. Hundreds of thousands of proposed jobs never materialized.

ROBERTSON: MBS' vision will be the test of him at every level. If there are jobs and a brighter future for most people, then happy days.

But if his reforms falter, even fail, how will he respond?

If it's through repression, then his relationship with President Biden and other Western leaders could crumble.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): For now, leverage is mostly on MBS' side, a pivotal, regional power with vital energy supplies at a time of U.S. need.


LINA AL-HATHLOUL, SAUDI ACTIVIST: He managed to basically make the Biden administration back down on all its promises regarding Saudi Arabia and


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hathloul's sister, a women's rights activist, was freed from Saudi jail but not the country not long after Biden called for

her release early last year. She fears MBS will read Biden's visit as approval for more arrests.

AL-HATHLOUL: (INAUDIBLE) as MBS is in power. It's about the person he is. And the only thing that can change things is accountability from the

international community.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Biden's time in Jeddah will be a harsh reminder, a realpolitik at its toughest.


ANDERSON: The region, certainly, the kingdom, if not the region's argument would be to Biden and the West, support the crown prince in his Vision 2030

-- this is a country that wants to do business, wants to grow, wants to involve. He needs support, not criticism in this.

Your thoughts?

ROBERTSON: Saudi Arabia, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, because he looks set to become king for a couple of generations to come, it's hugely

important to U.S. national security interests and widely around the world.

Because this is a major power player in the region. If it's economically successful, look at all of the foreign workers, for example, that come

here. Saudi Arabia is a fountain of sometimes very poorly paid wages but supports more than what you see here in Saudi Arabia.

It supports economies --


ANDERSON: -- around the region, around the world.

ROBERTSON: And it's vital to stability. If the West was to work against MBS and not allow his vision to come through, then it's going to face

domestic issues. That's going to create tensions, it could create instability.

This is a massive country that produces a massive amount of oil. And the world needs that right now. To let that slip away, rather than seeing it

prosper and become a generation for growth and an engine for the economy, not just here but in the region, I think that's what Gulf partners --


ANDERSON: Well, it's certainly a very different country from that which Joe Biden will have last visited, for good, bad and indifferent. It has to

be said. We still see the issues in Yemen, in Libya, in Lebanon and, of course, in Syria. Thank you, Nic.

Well, you can keep up with all the biggest stories and trends out of the Middle East by subscribing to our newsletter.

Meanwhile in the Middle East, the web address is on the screen. Enter your email address. I'll tell you, you'll really get a lot out of that. It's

full of really good stuff.

Ahead on the show, the conflict in Yemen high on the agenda as Joe Biden meets with Saudi leaders. We'll speak to the U.S. envoy to Yemen about the

major humanitarian and political issues at stake.

Plus as U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to meet with Palestinian officials, one family wants the president's help in getting answers from

Israel on the death of a Palestinian American journalist. All that coming up -- after this.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. President Joe Biden is headed here from Israel on Friday. He is set to meet with King Salman and his advisers, including crown prince

Mohammed bin Salman. Some U.S. officials said the president is likely to bring up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He was the journalist who went to

the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 and never came out.

But Mr. Biden stopped short of promising to raise the issue.


BIDEN: My views on Khashoggi had been made absolutely, positively clear. And I have never been quiet about talking about human rights.

The question -- the reason I'm going to Saudi Arabia, though, is much more broader. It's to promote U.S. interests, to promote U.S. interests in a way

that I think we have an opportunity to reassert what I think we made a mistake of walking away from: our influence in the Middle East.


ANDERSON: With his trip to the Middle East, Mr. Biden is actually embracing one of Donald Trump's signature achievements, the Abraham

accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab countries. But he is taking a different path when it comes to the Saudis,

have a look.


ANDERSON (voice-over): When Joe Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia on Friday, don't expect to see scenes like this.

It was then Donald Trump's first foreign trip back in 2017, underscoring the importance he placed on America's relationship with the kingdom.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It's a great honor to have the crown prince.

ANDERSON (voice-over): But his successor chose to signal a different approach.

BIDEN: I would make it very clear, we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them. We were in fact going to make them pay the price and

make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Since taking office, Biden has avoided directly engaging with the kingdom's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman also known

as MBS over human rights violations.

MBS has denied he ordered the killing of "The Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 but has said he bears responsibility. But

geopolitical challenges may have forced President Biden to adopt a more conciliatory approach than candidate Biden promised.

He will fly into Jeddah after wrapping up a visit to Israel, a flight that has never before been taken by a U.S. President and a clear example of the

improving ties between Israel and Arab states, first initiated by the Trump administration and the Abraham accords.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remain seated for the signing of the documents.

ANDERSON: Behind me is where Joe Biden will meet with leaders from the GCC plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, in the coming days. He is keen to provide

support for further normalization efforts with Israel and provide a unified regional front against Iran, as talks to revive the nuclear deal continue

to stall.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Another key priority, energy security. Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and subsequent Western sanctions on

Moscow have left the world short on supplies.

That means Washington needs Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies to increase oil production to help bring down prices at the pump and curb inflation at


While the White House has confirmed Biden's upcoming meeting with Saudi officials will include MBS, it also announced new COVID measures, reducing

presidential touch, raising questions about whether the administration is trying to avoid the optics of a Biden-MBS handshake.

ANDERSON: Optics aside, President Biden's visit here to Saudi Arabia will be key in resetting Washington's relationship with its Middle Eastern

partners skeptical of America's commitment to them.


ANDERSON: And it may bring about a regional security arrangement in the coming months.

ANDERSON (voice-over): So while it is unlikely Biden will be received like Trump was, the stakes couldn't be higher for a U.S. President, whose

domestic agenda hinges on the success he finds abroad.


ANDERSON: Another central piece of the conversation, if you will, is Yemen. U.S. officials are hoping that the Saudis agree to extend the truce

between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels backed by Iran, of course, for six more months.

Joining me now is the U.S. special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking.

You are incredibly involved in the brokering of that cease-fire. Just days before Joe Biden left for this trip, a very bleak assessment by the U.N.

detailing the limits of the cease-fire in Yemen, suggesting that a humanitarian catastrophe is, and I quote, "about to get much more worse."

What is your assessment about the situation on the ground?

TIM LENDERKING, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO YEMEN: My assessment, Becky, is that the truce has brought an incredible opportunity for Yemen. Really, it is

the best opportunity that Yemen has had for peace since this conflict began.

I think it has brought some significant changes on the ground. I think they are experiencing that. When there is more fuel on the market, the hospitals

can run and the transportation network can run. The mills are processed getting food and commercial flights opening up Sanaa airport for the first

time since 2016.

And you have medical patient and families able to visit and get outside the country. These are really momentous developments, I think, for Yemen. But

you are absolutely right to point out there is a long way to go. This is not peace in Yemen. We are not there yet. There are some very hard

decisions still to make going forward.

ANDERSON: Do you share the U.N. envoy to Yemen, Hans Bloomberg's concerns, of quote, "worrisome, escalatory rhetoric" by the parties questioning the

benefits of the truce. He said that just last week.

LENDERKING: No, I saw that. And I am very in close touch with Hans. I think he's doing a great job as the U.N. envoy in some very difficult


We do have to watch the rhetoric because, as we see the positive developments that I referred to, which bring tangible benefit to Yemenis, I

think Yemenis are feeling this and seeing the benefits of the truce.

We have to also watch the media space and who's using inflammatory language to try and hype a situation or create more of an escalatory --


LENDERKING: -- truce we started on April 2nd was -- April 2nd was then renewed again on June 2nd to August 2nd, that is the point at which we will

be looking at what happens next.

It is very much our hope and what I think the president will discuss with the Saudi leadership and his Gulf contacts, is building on the truce. We

don't just want to extend the truce. We are at a point where we can look toward a truce that leads to a durable cease-fire and a comprehensive and

inclusive political talks.

ANDERSON: The goal of the Biden administration is, quoting the president here, "to move expeditiously toward a comprehensive and inclusive peace


Hand on heart at this point, do you believe that is a realistic goal anytime soon?

LENDERKING: I do. I really do and I think that reverberation that you are feeling inside of Yemen is allowing Yemenis to see that possibility. That

builds pressure inside the country on all of us and on the conflict parties to take the necessary steps to go forward.

So the situation in Yemen's third largest city is very alarming from a humanitarian point of view. We are stuck on Iraq with the Houthis refusing

multiple U.N. proposals to open up access roads. This is all part of the humanitarian outlook that we want to see.

So we want to see the Houthis show some good faith and deal with the U.N. proposals in a positive manner. I think if we see this and we see other

steps by the parties to continue to adhere, then we can look at extending the truce and aiming for that cease-fire and political talks.

ANDERSON: Because it couldn't be more important at this point.

How concerned are you that Yemen is a casualty of Russia's war in Ukraine?


ANDERSON: Both in terms of soaring food and fuel prices and in terms of priorities from international donor countries. You talked about the

positive, tangible benefits you can see on the ground. You talked about food and fuel.

But the price of food, not just in Yemen but in so many countries around the region, it is sky-high at present. And we are not looking at tamping

that down any time soon.

LENDERKING: I think that is a very valid point because Ukraine-Russia conflict has reverberations all around the region. In the case of Yemen, it

is hurting wheat imports. Yemen is a food import-necessary country, dependent country.

So it is already facing the world's worst humanitarian situation. We need to get that food in there. There needs to be open ports to get foods and

the fuel to drive the transportation network. And then the access issues, to make sure that food and other humanitarian products get to these people.


ANDERSON: -- dropping off people's radars as we see what you have described in so many other parts of the world briefly.

LENDERKING: I do, I do. And I think this moment here in Jeddah is an opportunity to raise the profile of Yemen, because I think the Saudis, the

United States and the regional partners -- if you look at Oman and some of the other countries, they played an instrumental role in getting us to this


So I think it's a great moment to be highlighting Yemen among this group on the president's trip.

ANDERSON: Well, I applaud your optimism. Let's hope that even some of what, if not much of what you just expressed, comes to fruition. We really

appreciate it, thank you.

We're taking a very short break, back after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Returning to our top story, "We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."

U.S. President Joe Biden making that declaration to Israel and the world a short time ago. During this high stakes Middle Eastern trip, he and the

caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid, putting that in writing. He was then asked where he stands on a two state solution between Israel and the

Palestinians. Here's what he had to say.



YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: About the two-state solution, I haven't changed my position. A two-state solution is a guarantee for a

strong democratic state of Israel with a Jewish majority.


ANDERSON: But almost no one is expecting any major breakthroughs on Friday when Mr. Biden is expected to meet with the Palestinian Authority president

Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. More with Hadas Gold, who is in Jerusalem.

What have we learned of the U.S. position on Palestine during this trip?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, President Biden has reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution. He said on the tarmac,

yesterday. and in his remarks at a press conference.

But it's clear, they understand, President Biden said it himself, a two state solution is nowhere in the near solution. We heard John Kirby

speaking just in the last hour or so, saying both sides need to want it.

If you look at the internal political situations of the Israelis and Palestinians, they seem to be calcified. I think Americans recognize that,

as much as they want to say they support a two state solution, they know it's nowhere in the cards in the future.

When you speak to the Palestinians, they were so hopeful when President Biden took over from president Trump, hopeful that things would turn back

toward their way, especially after so many of president Trump's policies leaned so heavily toward Israel.

And yet it's become a long list of disappointments in the American administration. The American consulate in Jerusalem that was shuttered by

president Trump, that mostly served Palestinians, was a symbol for Palestinians of what they thought was going to be a future, a American

embassy and a future state of Palestine.

That still has not been reopened in the face of Israeli opposition. The Palestinian political office in Washington has not been reopened. While

funding has been restored, the Palestinians feel as though there hasn't been enough done to shore up support for them.

There have been some small gestures, some small confidence building gestures from the Israelis. More work permits, building permits, no new

border expansions. There's talk of 4G expansion.

But Palestinian officials say any pronouncements on a two-state solution are meaningless if there's no substance there, that shows there's some kind

of political horizon toward a two-state solution -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Hadas Gold, thank you.

U.S. President Joe Biden's next stop is Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian officials. One issue sure be on the agenda is the death of the Palestinian

American journalist killed in the West Bank earlier this year. Palestinian officials want Mr. Biden to hold Israel accountable for her death.

The U.S. State Department said her death was likely caused by gunfire from IDF but it could not reach a definitive conclusion.

Joining us now from Jerusalem is Lina Abu Akleh, the niece of Shireen Abu Akleh, who you heard from in the previous report. I was unable to share

that with you.

First off, I'm so sorry for your tragic loss. Shireen was a household name in the region for the courageous work that she has done over the years.

How are you and your family doing?

LINA ABU AKLEH, SHIREEN'S NIECE: Thank you so much, Becky, for having me on your show. We're OK. We are doing a bit better but we're still in shock.

We are still trying to process this tragedy. It's quite traumatizing what we had to experience.

It has been very -- it's mentally -- it has impacted us. But we're still here for the fight for justice, for accountability. And we will continue,

regardless of anything that happens.

ANDERSON: Your family has demanded a meeting with Joe Biden while he's on this Middle East tour. So far that doesn't look likely. Antony Blinken

invited you to have a meeting in D.C. instead.

Will you go?

ABU AKLEH: Well, of course, we are considering at this moment. We really appreciate the invitation to go to D.C. It's important to sit and to

engage, face to face.

But at the same time, this is where she was born. She was born in Palestine. She grew up in Palestine and she was killed here.

So it's important for us to be able to sit with the president himself and to hear our demands, our concerns and also for him to understand what she

meant not just for our family but for millions of people who are watching her and were inspired by her.


ABU AKLEH: So we were really looking forward to meet with the president and hopeful something might take place tomorrow. We still haven't heard


ANDERSON: Earlier I spoke to John Kirby, the U.S. National Security Council coordinator. Have a listen to what he told me.


KIRBY: We have also stayed in touch with the families. Secretary Blinken just had a recent conversation with the family in recent days. We will

continue to do that. We will continue to make sure that we are staying in touch with them and that we are giving them as much information in as close

to real time as we can.


ANDERSON: No suggestion that Joe Biden has actually made time for your family on this trip, I'm afraid.

Do you have hope that you will ever get justice for the killing of your aunt?

ABU AKLEH: Yes, we do have hope, although it is very difficult. But we will, we are hopeful. She was a very optimistic person and I continue to

get strength from her optimism and her hopefulness.

So, yes, we are hopeful that we will get justice. And of course, this is important, because justice for Shireen is justice for all Palestinian

journalists who were targeted and killed. And justice is important to obtain accountability as well.

ANDERSON: You know, I'm in Jeddah, which is, of course, the second leg of President Biden's Middle East tour after Israel and, indeed, of course, the

West Bank.

He and the Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid just hours ago signed a new joint declaration aimed at expanding the security relationship between the

nations. I want you to have a listen to what the Israeli prime minister had to say.


LAPID: Mr. President, you will meet with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Iraq. I would like you to pass them all a message

from us. Our hand is outstretched for peace.


ANDERSON: And Yair Lapid looking for other Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, for example, to normalize relations with Israel.

Given that there has been no progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, given what you are going through as a family, what is your message to other

Arab nations, who might be looking to further relations, if not normalizing relations, with Tel Aviv?

ABU AKLEH: Well, at the end, it is important that they continue to call for the respect of human rights, call for democracy. And we hope that

Shireen's case will remain a priority at this point because, even during the visit of President Biden, until today, there has not been any mention

of Shireen, even though he spoke a lot about human rights.

So we were hoping that there would be a mention of her murder, considering the fact that he was talking about human rights. And what happened to her

was a huge violation of that. So we hope that all other Arab nations continue their call for protection of human rights and continue to asked

for accountability and justice for Shireen.

ANDERSON: With that we will leave it there. I do hope the family gets more from the Biden administration. Let's wait to see. Please stay in touch.

Condolences from the team at CNN, thank you for joining us.

Still to come, the calm after the storm: we will check in on Sri Lanka's massive protests and answer the question, where is Sri Lanka's president


Plus, schools, hotels and apartment buildings, Ukrainian officials say these are some of the latest civilian targets hit by Russian forces. More

on Russia's deadly attacks in Ukraine after this.





ANDERSON: Well, there are two major questions surrounding the Sri Lankan president today.

Where is he and why hasn't he formally resigned?

The answer to the first question is Singapore. It's believed he arrived there a short time ago aboard this plane. Singapore has given him

permission to enter the country on a private visit but it has not granted him asylum.

Meanwhile the Sri Lankan parliament says it's still waiting for his formal resignation letter. A new leader cannot be named until he formally resigns.

Things are relatively calm in the Sri Lankan capital, a curfew has taken place. Protest leaders say they're handing occupied buildings back to the

government, except for the presidential office.

The nation of Pakistan worry that it may soon face economic problems similar to Sri Lanka. It has reached an agreement with the IMF on a

bailout. The plan will pump over $1 billion into Pakistan and allow the government to access additional billions if needed.

The IMF released the funds after Pakistan agreed to impose new taxes and cut energy subsidies.


ANDERSON: Russia is striking civilian targets in Ukraine, again. Today, three Russian missiles hit the central city of Vinnytsia. No one on the

front lines. Ukraine authorities say at least 22 people, including children, were killed by an office building and two apartments were


This is Russians first attack on the city since the war began. And then this.


ANDERSON (voice-over): That is a school, getting hit in a massive missile attack in the southern city of Mykolaiv. The regional governor says the

city was shelled by more than 10 missile strikes. A hotel and a bus depot were also targeted.


ANDERSON: Earlier this week another school in Mykolaiv was also destroyed by a Russian rocket. Ivan Watson shows us the extent of the damage there.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This used to be a classroom in School Number 60 in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

That is until before dawn on Tuesday, when what appears to have been a Russian rocket slammed into the building.

Nobody was hurt, thankfully, perhaps due to the time of day and it's summer vacation right now.

But, look what's left. The principal says that this school was constructed more than 100 years ago. It's completely devastated, now. And the Ukrainian

authorities here, they say the same morning, the city was hit by nearly two dozen other impacts, including a hospital. Which just goes to show that

nothing and nobody, really, is safe in this conflict zone.

VITALY KIM, GOVERNOR, MYKOLAIV REGION: This is terrorism. And that's it. Because it's like a strategy of Russia to scare civilian people, to make a



WATSON: What is your message to your own residents when a school can be blown up like this?

KIM: We will build it once again. It will be better than it was.

WATSON: The fighting is intensifying on Ukraine's Southern front. Ukrainian forces have succeeded in pushing back Russian troops in some

areas. And the Ukrainians also claim to have carried out some strikes deep

behind Russian from lines, destroying what they claim are ammunition depots and even a Russian military officer's position.

The Ukrainian government is urging residents of the nearby Russian- occupied city of Kherson to evacuate, if they can. They're anticipating

even more fighting in the near future.

In the meantime, the Russian military continues to lob back long-range munitions at places like Mykolaiv. And I want to show you this.

The teachers say that some other Russian artillery hit the courtyard of this school back in early April, spraying the walls of the nearby gymnasium

with shrapnel.

So this school has been hit twice since the Russians invaded Ukraine in February of this year. And with Mykolaiv, this city, so close to the front

lines, things could get much worse here in the near future -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Mykolaiv, in Southern Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Meanwhile encouraging signs that millions of tons of Ukrainian grain will now finally get shipped to help ease the global food crisis.

Talks in Turkiye have led to Russia and Ukraine agreeing to form a joint coordination center. This would secure Ukrainian grain exports through

Black Sea ports being blockaded by Russia.

Both sides could meet next week, where they may potentially sign a deal.

Well, Heathrow Airport wants airlines to stop selling tickets for the summer. Emirates says selling tickets is what it does and it won't stop

doing it. The details on that coming up.




ANDERSON: Emirates airlines describes Heathrow airport's cap on passengers "incompetent." The airport wants to limit daily passengers to 100,000 until

September. Back in 2018, before the pandemic, 220,000 people went through Heathrow daily.

The airport says it can't handle that many people, due to staff shortages. That has led to long lines and waits for baggage. Emirates says it's

impossible to make the change, so they won't.

Anna Stewart joins us from London with a closer look at Heathrow's woes.

The story here, really, is failure to prepare and then prepare to fail. Emirates did their preparation for summer travel.

Heathrow didn't, right?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heathrow, they would argue, they did prepare. They started recruiting for this busy summer season back in

November of last year. They would say it's been a real struggle to get people.


STEWART: There's been a labor shortage for many airports and airlines all around the world. And today they added -- they said this was the only

option, they had no other option.

Emirates telling a very different story. Becky, I haven't ever seen such a stinging response in terms of a corporate statement, calling the airport

incompetent, saying they're being cavalier and had no regard for their customers, whether it's airlines or passengers.

And just to lift a little bit of the statement, they said London Heathrow chose not to act, not to plan, not to invest. Now faced with a Armageddon

situation due to their incompetence.

They're pushing the entire burden of costs and the scramble to sort out the mess to airlines and travelers.

Willie Walsh, the head of IATA, the big airline association, pretty much agreed. He called the decision to cap the capacity and to tell airlines to

stop selling tickets as absolutely ridiculous. He said the airport was trying to maximize profits at the expense of airlines and travelers.

Lufthansa said they've already canceled flights, saying they wouldn't cancel any more. There's also been a lot of confusion around this.

Was this a request from Heathrow?

That's what we were told. They were requesting airlines to do this. But increasingly, it looks like it's been enforced. Looking at Emirates'

statement, they have been threatened with legal action and we're still waiting for a response from Heathrow, Becky.

ANDERSON: More to come on that. Travel chaos for Delta Air Lines, too, tell us about that.

STEWART: That was extraordinary. Delta has seen an opportunity here, one of their flights canceled as a result of the cap. They decided to fly a

large jet from Heathrow back to the U.S. with 1,000 bags on board. That's one of the biggest issues with Heathrow, not enough ground handlers.

Just picture, that 1,000 bags heading back to the U.S., for Delta's customers in the U.S.

How many bags are stuck in Heathrow?

That is one airline going to one destination. Think of Heathrow, being one of the busiest airports in the world. It makes you question how many bags

are stacking up there.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Anna, always a pleasure, thank you very much indeed.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live, from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Joe Biden due here within 24 hours, after he finishes the first leg of what is

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