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U.S. Executives Flock to Saudi Davos in the Desert; New U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Seeks Stability; Saudi Ambassador on Ukraine War, Oil; IAEA to Inspect Ukraine Sites for "Dirty Bomb"; Russian Court Denies Griner's Appeal; At Least 40 Journalists Arrested amid Iran Crackdown; Top U.S. Bankers Head to Riyadh. Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired October 25, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson and welcome to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. We're here at the Future Investment

Initiative or FII, where world business leaders have gathered to discuss the pressing issues of today, the likelihood of a global recession and how

the war in Ukraine is impacting this region and others.

Top of the agenda for the U.S. is the frosty U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia after a refusal to increase oil production and proceeded to cut it.

The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. said that decision was based purely on economics.


REEMA BINT BANDAR AL SAUD, AMBASSADOR OF SAUDI ARABIA TO THE UNITED STATES: It's clear we're at a point of disagreement. Many people have tried to

politicize this but you're hearing it from the horse's mouth. This is not political.


ANDERSON: More in a few minutes.

Britain's new prime minister is hitting the ground running. Rishi Sunak says he's been elected to fix mistakes and he begins immediately.


RISHI SUNAK, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis. The aftermath of COVID-19 still lingers. Putin's

war in Ukraine has destabilized energy markets and supply chains the world over.


ANDERSON: Mr. Sunak became Britain's fifth prime minister in six years. Although this is a day of political triumph for the U.K.'s first PM of

color, Sunak knows he is entering Downing Street at a critical moment.

CNN's Scott McLean is in Downing Street.

We've just descended some of the challenges facing Sunak.

What are his proposed solutions?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I think who Sunak ultimately chooses to be part of his cabinet will say a lot about the direction he

plans to go in.


MCLEAN: Jeremy Hunt, the current chancellor, the finance minister, was brought into right the ship with Liz Truss. He has been an avid Sunak

backer. He is also the favorite to stay in his position, given there is a fiscal update coming on Monday.

And what is not clear though, is how much tinkering or how much changes Rishi Sunak will be proposing to his political ally, Jeremy Hunt.

And the other big question mark is Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary. He is a man who has made clear that he wants to stay in his current job and he

also has made clear that he is a big supporter of raising defense spending from 2 percent of GDP, the NATO standard, up to 3 percent, something that,

given the holes in the budget, Rishi Sunak may not be able to actually stick to.

So watch that space and watch carefully what happens with that position. And Rishi Sunak also pledged to bring back economic stability and he

pledged to be compassionate toward the challenges this country and also to unite his party, saying this.


SUNAK: I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson, for his incredible achievements as prime minister. And I treasure his warmth and generosity of

spirit. And I know he would agree that the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual.

It is the mandate that belongs to and unites all of us. And the heart of that mandate is our manifesto.

I will deliver on its promise a stronger NHS, better schools, safer streets, control of our borders, protecting our environment, supporting our

armed forces, leveling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate and create jobs.


MCLEAN: Just quickly, Becky, couple of points, improving the NHS, anybody trying to use it in this country knows that it is not in the best of shape.

That will take some serious reform or some serious improvements. And we don't have a lot of indication as to what he might do there.

And the other thing is that he may go back to the manifesto, that's on border control. That would mean a reversal from Liz Truss' proposal to

relax immigration laws and go back to something a little bit more limited, which is what a lot of people in the Conservative Party believe this

country was trying to say when they vote for Brexit in 2016.

ANDERSON: Scott McLean is on the story.

Incredibly, just seven short weeks ago, it seemed as if it might all be over for Rishi Sunak. Now he is making history. We have plenty of insight

at or, of course, on your CNN app on your smartphone.

To the part of the world where I am today, relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, they have been strained of late. That is after OPEC+

decided to slash oil production. And Washington has not held back in its rebuke of the kingdom.

Joe Biden tells CNN that Washington must rethink its relationship with Riyadh. It was particularly stinging because of Mr. Biden's efforts, just

months earlier, to repair ties with Saudi Arabia. The U.S. President was welcomed on the tarmac by the kingdom's ambassador to the U.S., Princess

Reema bint Bandar.

She was also the only Saudi woman in the room with the president during his meeting with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Princess Reema took on the

role of ambassador at a particularly low point in Saudi-U.S. Relations. It was mere months after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the

Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

She had a tough task of mending relations back, then and it seems like she is back at it now. I sat down with Princess Reema bint Bandar to discuss

all of that and the kingdom's role in energy security. I started by asking her to describe the tone of current Saudi-U.S. relations. Have a listen.


BANDAR: It is a clear but a point of disagreement. And obviously, that comes from the decision of OPEC+ to cut the production of oil.


BANDAR: And I would have to just remind people that it was a decision made by 22 countries based on an economic survey that understood that there is

going to be a downturn. And many people have tried to politicize this.

But you are hearing it from the horse's mouth. This is not political, this is purely economic based on the expertise of 40 or 50 years of mapping and

trends. We do not engage in the politics of anyone. We engage simply as a balancer and a stabilizer of the economy through the energy market, as

we've done historically.

ANDERSON: Let me provide as a counter argument, the White House perspective. The White House has accused Saudi Arabia of siding with


Is the kingdom siding with Russia?

BANDAR: The kingdom has a policy of engaging across the board those that we agree and those we don't agree. With the relationship that we had with

Russia is what allowed us to free prisoners of war, two Americans, five Brit, one Croat and a selection from other countries.

We view our role as a mediator and a communicator. We've supported Ukraine humanitarianly. We've given them $400 million. We collaborated with Ukraine

and Poland to give $10 million for the refugees coming out of Ukraine's billion to Poland a safe landing. That is what we do. That is the value of

our engagement.

Is it siding with Russia?

No. We voted with the United Nations twice to condemn the annexation and condemning the incursion. We absolutely view the decision by OPEC as

nonpolitical and, if you look at the markets, Becky, what happened?

They are stable. They are stable.

ANDERSON: The White House says the kingdom knows the decision will increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions.

Have you personally spoken to the administration about this?

What is the communication there?

BANDAR: I deal very regularly with the administration. It's an administration I have respect. For I have only had the most gracious and

direct communication. That's how partners communicate with each other.

By the way, it is OK to disagree. But the important thing is recognizing the value of this relationship. Our relationship by the way is more than

the sale of arms; it is more than the exchange of oil.

It is about the people to people relationships and you are going to see it at the FII. The number of U.S. businesses that are working here, Becky, why

are they here?

Opportunity today. And you've seen it.

ANDERSON: Joe Biden, the U.S. President, says that there will be consequences for the actions taken by Saudi Arabia as a lead member of

OPEC. Several lawmakers have touted a number of punitive measures, the stopping of arms selling to the Saudis and pulling U.S. troops out.

What is your message to Joe Biden and to those lawmakers and how concerned are you about these consequences?

BANDAR: I hear a lot of people talk about reforming or reviewing the relationship with the kingdom and I think actually that that is a positive

thing. This kingdom is now what it was five years, ago not the kingdom was 10 years ago.

So every piece of analysis that existed, it is no longer relevant. We are a young population. We have young leadership and we have an aspiration and a

goal to engage with the world in a way that we never did before.

And the transformation that is happening in the kingdom is one the world should bet on because it will not only transform us but it will create this

other pillar of hope that is coming from a very dark region.

ANDERSON: You recently argued in an op-ed for "Politico," which I thought was fascinating, that that relationship should take on a new form. And let

me just quote you here.

You said, "Long gone are the days where the U.S. and Saudi relationship could be defined by outdated and reductionist oil for security paradigm.

The world has changed and the existential dangers facing us all, including food and energy security, climate, change, cannot be resolved without an

effective U.S.-Saudi alliance.

BANDAR: When we come to America and we're, saying we are your partner in energy, holistically, it means that we want to do business with. We want to

invest in your companies. We want to make you as good as we are. And we want to have this next chapter of clean energy as a partnership.

Because what would that look like?

That is the future, Becky. This, today, this argument about OPEC is today because the world is tense. But it is not the conversation of the future.


ANDERSON: That is the Saudi ambassador to Washington speaking to me, earlier and we talked a lot more about that future and indeed about the

role of women here.


ANDERSON: You can see more of my exclusive interview with Princess Reema bint Bandar in the next hour.

Ukraine hoping to prove Russia's dirty bomb allegation is a dirty. Lie inspectors are expected soon in Ukraine, as the Kremlin takes, its claim to

the U.N.

And some big protests in the West Bank. We will look at what set off these demonstrations and at tensions between the Palestinians and Israel, which

are on the rise again.




ANDERSON: Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected in Ukraine shortly, according to the foreign minister. There

Ukraine invited the IAEA in to debunk Russia's unfounded claim Kyiv plans to detonate a dirty bomb in the country and blame Russia.

Reuters says that Russian diplomats will address the issue with the U.N. Security Council later today.

Western leaders have dismissed Russia's allegations as a false flag operations and n excuse to escalate the war. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us

now live from Kyiv.

When that team arrives, you can tell us when that is likely to be, where will they go for these inspections?

What do we know at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There are two locations for them to go to. One is here in Kyiv and the other is in the

center of Ukraine. We don't have a precise time. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, has not said precisely when

they will come.

But this is the Ukrainians attempting to be absolutely as transparent as possible, throwing open their doors in the face of these unfounded Russian

allegations here in Kyiv, to a nuclear research facility that, within the National Academy of Sciences and the mining and processing plant in the

center of Ukraine.

And so these are the two locations that the IAEA is going to go to. And I think we have a sense from Russia, who Reuters is reporting, that they are

having a closed door country to Ukraine, throwing open its doors, here. Russia's having a closed-door session at the United Nations Security

Council to debate this unfounded allegation that Ukraine is making a dirty bomb.

We heard earlier in the day from a Russian diplomat, at the IAEA in Vienna, saying that normally these inspections, it takes several months to get the

full results. And there could be preliminary results after a couple of weeks.


ROBERTSON: It is very apparent that Russia is trying to take these unfounded allegations and stretch them out in time and make them as big as


To what gain, it is not clear because, already, Ukraine's allies have said they are transparently false and the world will not be fooled if Russia

uses them as a pretext to escalate the conflict, which is the concern.

But as we know, President Putin escalates and his diplomats escalate the language which gets international attention. And that seems to be what he

is trying to do right now.

ANDERSON: Nic, President Zelenskyy has appealed to the West for help in rebuilding the country's infrastructure as more people frankly flee damage

in liberated areas.

Describe how bad things are, particularly in light of the coming winter. Things are going to get very cold.

ROBERTSON: One third of the electricity, one third of the country's electricity supply has been cut, according to the president. There have

been particularly close to front lines damage of the gas. This is a country that has a centralized heating system in the winter.

And that heating is provided through gas supplies. That has been damaged in a lot of front line areas. And the government told residents in those areas

over the summer they would not be able to reconnect and resupply them with heat coming into the winter.

We are now entering that period where it gets cold and people are having to take these very hard decisions that they've tried to put off, they hope

things will get better, they are not getting better and, in fact, because the electricity is being cut, they are getting worse.

So President Zelenskyy has said that he believes that one of the reasons that Russia's targeting the electricity is to force another wave of

refugees to leave the country. And so at the moment, the conditions are getting -- you have to look behind me to get a sense of it -- cold and wet.

The conditions for people without heating and electricity are becoming difficult. And in damaged houses and homes, that is going to force many to

leave. And that is the picture that is enveloping this country right now.

There will be another tranche of people that have to leave because it is, frankly, too difficult to stay in those homes through the winter.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Kyiv in Ukraine where the time is 5:22, Nic, thank you.

It's not the outcome that they expected. Lawyers for Brittney Griner say that they are very disappointed after a Moscow court rejected the American

basketball star's appeal just hours ago, upholding her drug smuggling conviction.

Her nine-year prison sentence will be slightly decreased for the time spent in custody, although it is not clear by exactly how much. CNN's U.S.

security correspondent Kylie Atwood is at the State Department.

Is this the end of the road?

As we understand it?

As far as court challenges to her sentence are concerned?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As far as the judicial process goes, this is essentially the final straw here. This

is the final hearing. There were hearing her appeal and, as you said, the verdict has essentially been upheld. Meaning that she is still being found

guilty of smuggling drugs into Russia.

The thing that has slightly changed here, though not in a substantive way, as you said, that nine-year prison sentence that she was given, the judge

said essentially that the time that she is already spent in pretrial detention will be counted toward that nine-year prison sentence. It will be

shaved off maybe by a few months.

But really what this means, the onus is on the Biden administration to continue, as they have been, doing to try to secure some sort of diplomatic

agreement that would bring home Britney Griner and, of course, Paul Whelan, another American who was wrongfully detained in Russia.

We heard from the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, today, responding to what has happened out of this court and saying once again

that they call on Russia to immediately allow Brittney Griner to return home.

And the Biden administration is working, in his words, through every channel available to them, to try to work with Russia to get an agreement

to release Brittney Griner. But as we talk to folks, the problem here has not been that Russia hasn't been engaging in those conversations, they

have. There's been a regular tempo back and forth.

But mostly what Russia has been putting on the table is something that the United States says is just not a serious counter offer.


ANDERSON: Kylie, thank you.

Well, anger spilling onto the streets in the West Bank.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This after Israeli raids have killed five Palestinians, a sixth person was killed when a demonstration near Ramallah

turned violent. That is the killed by Israeli military forces in the West Bank in a single date in the year. The army says it targeted a bombmaking

site for an armed group known as the Lions Den.

The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas says that the killings are a war crime and he warned that the situation could reach a very

critical point. CNN's Hadas Gold joining us from Jerusalem with the details.

What is president Abbas referring to here, a critical point?

And what do the Israelis say about?


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this was the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in what is already been the deadliest

year for both Palestinians and Israelis since 2015.

The Israeli military say that they've conducted this major raid in Nablus to target this new Lions Den militant group. This is a new group that has

taken responsibility for several deadly attacks, specifically targeting usually Israeli security forces but also Israel says that they were

planning an attack in Tel Aviv.

This group has no affiliation with the traditional Palestinian factions. And as far as we understand, it's made up of mostly young men who have

become disaffected with the Palestinian leadership and really see themselves as the new resistance fighters against the Israeli occupation

and against Israeli settlers.

Israeli Defense Forces say they targeted what they saw was essentially a headquarter building, that they said was an explosive manufacturing

workshop and that during these clashes that resulted from this raid, they killed one of the leaders. This was something that was confirmed by the


And in a statement, the Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid says that our goal was and remains to inflict severe and lasting damage on terrorism and

its agents in Jenin and Nablus and anywhere where terrorists' nests grow.

We will not allow the existence of terrorist organizations that harm Israeli citizens an idea of soldiers.

What I find really interesting is, that the last few days, we have been talking about Israeli military on a daily basis but we are seeing

accusations that Israel's really escalating the way that they are targeting their militants.

The Lions Den group says that one of their other leaders was killed by an explosive that was placed under a motorcycle and they're also claiming that

one of the men died overnight in what they say was a targeted drone strike.

These sort of targeted attacks that are not part of the ground incursions, we have not seen targeted attacks like that in what some analysts have said

20 years or since the Second Intifada, 2002 and that is seen as potentially a major escalation in all of this, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, a general strike called for today. And you are scoring out what could be, as described by Mahmoud Abbas, a critical point.

Is that correct?

GOLD: Yes, Becky, for the last few weeks it feels as if this entire region is full of dry kindling on the ground and all it will take is a single

match to cause the whole place to go ablaze.

And the question that everybody has, what will be that match?

When people look at the Second Intifada, they often say it was Ariel Sharon going up to the Temple Mount, to the Al Aqsa mosque compound, this sparked

the Second Intifada.

Will it be an attack on Israelis?

Will it be a major military raid, a political gesture like what happened with Ariel Sharon?

And honestly right now, with Israeli elections coming up on November 1st, it doesn't seem like there's any political will on either side. On the

Palestinian side, you have an aging, increasingly unpopular Palestinian Authority and its president.

And it doesn't feel as if there's any effort, by the Israelis or the Palestinians or by the international community to stop what feels like a

boulder that has already started rolling downhill. And nothing feels like it is being made to try to stop this boulder from completely crashing --


ANDERSON: Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem for, you thank you.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar. After weeks of protests, Iran's charged over 300 people with

conspiracy and collusion to jeopardize national security. That is according to state aligned media.

Four demonstrators also faced a charge of war with God for allegedly drawing a firearm during the protests.


ANDERSON: The sentence for that is execution.

The Chinese currency continues to plunge. On Tuesday, the yuan fell to its weakest level in nearly 15 years. The volatility driven by fears following

the country's future direction, Chinese leader Xi Jinping's unprecedented third term and his tightening a grip on power.

In Myanmar, military airstrikes reportedly killed dozens of people at the weekend, at a festival organized by a ethnic rebel group. The group claims

that the video shows the aftermath of the bombings. The strikes are drawing international condemnation of the junta that seized power early last year.

And you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. I'm Becky Anderson. And after this short, break some of the top names on

Wall Street issuing warnings about the world's economy. They've spoken to my colleague, Richard Quest, here in Riyadh. And their predictions are up





ANDERSON: Welcome back to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson in Riyadh tonight, where the Future Investment Initiative or

FII is underway. This event called the Davos in the Desert and for good reason.

It is Saudi Arabia's flagship investment conference which draws some of the biggest names in global finance. Wall Street heavy hitters from JPMorgan

Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bridgewater and others sat down for what was a in- depth discussion with my colleague, Richard Quest.

And we got some insight into what they are seeing coming down the tracks for the global economy, Richard joining me now.

These are the heavyweights. When these guys speak, it is well worth a listen. The last time I saw them all together, I think was in front of the

congressional banking committee, when they were being cross examined about what happened. You had them in the house today.

What did they tell you, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: It's a tricky one, Becky, because you want them to talk about the issue du jour -- interest rates -- but you also want to

talk about the bigger issues facing society, of which they are key players. Today, of course, recession was on people's minds as interest rates go

higher and economies become restricted.


QUEST: And unemployment will start to rise. David Solomon of Goldman Sachs was under no doubt the route we are heading.


DAVID SOLOMON, CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: When you find yourself in an economic scenario like, where inflation is embedded, it is very hard to get out of

it without a real economic slowdown.

And so too am in the camp that we likely have a recession in the U.S. going to happen and I think most likely a recession -- might be a recession in



QUEST: And we're all making great deal of the recession, whether it is a technical one a global one but the reality is that it is the underlying

issues causing the recession, with higher energy prices, global instability.

And that is why when Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase joined in, he was clear that the recession will not be as bad as the 1980s and it wasn't his

principal concern.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: Saudi Arabia and the United States have been allies for 75 years. I can't imagine any allies agreeing on everything

and not every problem. They will work it through.

And I am comfortable that folks on both sides will work it through and that these countries will remain allies going forward and hopefully help the

world develop and grow properly.


QUEST: And the gist of that is global, geopolitical issues are the number one target. And what he was saying of course, Becky, is that it is America-

China. It is Europe-China. It is, Russia-Ukraine. He was very clear about what we've all been talking about and you've been covering in detail.

The U.S.-Saudi disagreement, that goes on the back burner.

ANDERSON: And we just heard there from Jamie Dimon on the U.S.-Saudi relationship. I spoke exclusively to the Saudi ambassador to Washington,

while you and I have been here.

She says that she welcomes a review of the U.S. relationship. Remember that Joe Biden has threatened consequences off the back of that decision by

OPEC+, not just by the Saudis of course but Russia and 21 other countries.

She says that she welcomes a review but also says that there is a point of disagreement here, says that she expects this relationship to be one that

will continue and thrive for another 80 years.

It's really interesting, because we hear, this and this investment conference sits at the heart of Vision 2030, which was launched six years

ago by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman here to revolutionize what was a very different Saudi economy back then.

You are back here now. You and I both know that there's been an awful lot of change and an awful lot of reform.

Where do we see the challenges, where do we see the opportunities at this point?

What is your overarching sense of what we are hearing here?

QUEST: There won't be any shift. This will continue. This train is not only leaving the station but it is picking up steam. And you can have these

raucouses (ph) and fracas between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. But it is not going to fundamentally alter the need for both sides to need each other.

On terms of the change, the speed as it picks up is going to become a torrent. I think that there will be difficulties to maintain that, as we

get closer to 2030. Two things will happen. Targets will either be missed or they will be panicked at the prospect of missing them and more money

will be spent and there will be wastage.

But that should not underestimate the real difference here. Saudi Arabia, it is not your father's Oldsmobile, used to be the advertising slogan in

the U.S. Well, it is not your parents' or grandparents' Saudi Arabia. This is a young country and they want change and MBS to a large extent has given

them a degree of change.

ANDERSON: I mean the sovereign wealth fund here and others around the region have caused a wash with windfall cash from the high oil prices at

present. That is certainly helping there to be a very different impression here.

And as to that which you get from Europe and the U.S., watch this space as $1.4 trillion of windfall cash over the next four years. And we can see

that spent both here and by Saudi Arabia through their sovereign wealth fund here and across the world.

Richard, thank you.

Still on CONNECT THE WORLD across this evening, following a legend.


ANDERSON: How one French museum is showcasing the hero of France's first World Cup title. That is after this.




ANDERSON: Well, most of us should be able to send WhatsApp messages again after what was a widespread outage of the messaging app, which is owned by

Meta, earlier today. Meta said it fixed the issue and it is sorry for the inconvenience. What has caused the disruption remains unclear.