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Connect the World

One-on-One With the UAE Energy Minister; European Commission President Vows to Stand with Ukraine; Life in Bakhmut Upended as Fighting Intensifies; Search for Last Missing Victim to Resume Wednesday; Turkey Faces Pressure from U.S. to Approve NATO Expansion; Art in the Middle East in 2023. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back. This is the second hour of "Connect the World". Coming up,

we're going to get you an update in the aftermath of Russia's attack on the Dnipro, where 90 percent of the apartment wreckage there has now been

dismantled but 25 residents remain missing.

Plus, we'll take a look at where the war in Ukraine is headed with this strategic and crucial battle for Bakhmut? And finally we'll discuss China's

sharp slowing economy recording one of its worst GDP figures in nearly half a century, and the ripple effects for the rest of the world.

We begin though today with a conversation about where the global energy market is at the beginning of 2023. And China plays a part in this. This is

how oil prices have started the year dipping before rising a bit in the last few days.

Well, natural gas prices have actually decreased a bit from those incredible highs. We saw at the start of the war in Ukraine. There are a

couple of key factors on the mind of big oil producers. China, as we've been reporting is reopening after ditching its harsh zero COVID policy.

Then you got Russia now it's still might respond to the West's price cap on its oil products and what that might do to the global energy markets. And

most importantly of oil - of all what is the future of the fossil fuel industry's global efforts to tackle the climate crisis ramp up in a year

where a major oil producer this country the UAE gets ready to host COP28.

So an awful lot to unpack. And earlier today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, I've got a chance to do just that with one man who has an insider's

view of all of this the UAE's Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei. My main question to him was how an oil and gas producing nation like his defends

itself while hosting the next big climate conference COP28? But first, I asked him, how he expects China's reopening will impact the oil market

short term, have a listen.

SUHAIL AL MAZROUEI, UAE ENERGY MINISTER: Well, definitely there is a demand pickup with China opening but also there is a slowdown that we have noticed

in the demand from the many countries due to the economic situation and how things are.

We are also having a mild winter this year, luckily, for gas consumption so all of these have helped also the demand side. There is an issue in supply.

There is an issue that we've been always talking about, which is the lack of investments. And we are at a very important transition. And we need to

have resources available. The group is there. They will OPEC Plus they will always do their best.

ANDERSON: How does the UAE's plans to increase production to 5 million barrels per day from the current just over three plays into that equation

because that is a significant increase in production and it is way above your current OPEC quota?

MAZROUEI: We are transitioning as I said. One thing that is not helping is a high volatile commodity prices, whether it's oil. So we're trying to

avoid what happened in the gas by encouraging investments. We spoke with everyone we encourage everyone we saw very slow response.

Therefore, we brought forward our target of 5 million to 2027 to provide the maximum support to this transition toward clean forms of energy. This

leadership that we have in UAE led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed have a vision and the responsibility as a responsible producer,

toward our partners and our customers.

And we study it very well. And we thought bringing it forward will help stabilizing the prices avoiding high volatile oil market. And we are trying

to do it with the growth. We need to make the energy prices affordable during transition.

People are thinking about three things, but they prioritize them differently security of supply, affordability and sustainability. We need

to work on the three of them not only pick one and say this is the most important and forget the other two.

ANDERSON: You say the United Nations Chief has made it clear that the continued use of an investment in fossil fuels puts the world on a climate

highway to hell.


ANDERSON: As this country get set to host COP28 at the end of the year, there are critics who say that upping investment in oil and I know there

are plans to up investment in gas here as well fundamentally puts UAE in conflict with those global climate goals to which you say what?

MAZROUEI: There is no base load currently that is available to consumers and countries that is a totally 100 percent Green, unless you're talking

about nuclear. So being practical, we know that the highest contribution will come from renewable energy. That's why we believe in it, we're

investing in it. But at the same time, someone needs to be investing in the base load; someone needs to be investing in hydrocarbon.

ANDERSON: So let me ask you this. What sort of oil and gas investment do you believe is needed before sufficient renewables are installed for base

load? And base load for the benefit of our viewers who haven't heard that term before is the amount of power to meet fundamental demand by consumers?

MAZROUEI: Let's assume that with the daily consumption of the oil of around 100 million barrels a day is there, the decline that we are seeing is

between five to 8 percent. So we lose five to 8 million every year. And a level of investment to bring five to 8 million barrels every year, just to

replace to stay where we are no to account for any growth is $300 to $400 billion annually.

The problem is the IOCs are reluctant, because of their shareholders. There is no clarity on who is going to invest and what is the demand in certain

countries moving forward? You need to juggle with the three challenges, sustainability, security of supply, and affordability.

ANDERSON: The UAE is heavily invested in renewables both at home and globally. You've invested something like 50 billion here, and are looking

to invest a further 50 billion. How realistic is an investment globally, of over a trillion dollars annually in renewable energy, which is what the

climate experts say is needed to reap the net zero target? Is that trillion dollars annually, a realistic sum for investment in renewables? I mean,

you're an energy man, you know this better than anybody is that realistic?

MAZROUEI: I don't think we're going to see that number personally. I think it's challenging. In order to do such large scale projects, you need

champions. We created the champion who calls it the Masdar and we pledged $100 billion or 100 gigawatts of renewable energy together with the United

States, let's say 5050. We haven't seen many, pledging and bringing the financing to such large scale projects. But we need to see to people walk

the talk like we did walk the talk.

ANDERSON: What you're saying is unplugging the existing system before the alternative system is ready, will cause more problems. Do you genuinely

believe that we will get to a point where we can switch off the old system and I'm talking here about fossil fuels?

MAZROUEI: No, I don't think so. Certain countries may be, group of countries maybe. But it depends on security of supply for many countries

and what's available for them. So I believe that we will find technologies to take care of the CO2. We need to fight the emissions, not the fuel.

ANDERSON: Let's turn to the World Economic Forum. Many of the world's top business leaders and politicians gathered for talks about our collective

economic future. CNN Business Editor-at-Large Richard Quest is there and he joins us now.

We have just been listening to Energy Minister Mazrouei talking there about the fact that he doesn't believe that there is a point anytime soon, where

we will see no need for fossil fuels because we will be at a point at which there are other fuels that will have taken over other alternative systems.


And we were talking at the beginning of that interview about China opening up and the need for an increase in supply to satisfy that, although he says

they're also seeing a slip in demand from other parts of the world.

Look, the economic picture here, frankly, as we move into 2023 isn't a clear one. It's not a clear one for energy ministers, like Minister

Mazrouei? I'm sure it's not a clear one for many of those that you have been speaking to there at Davos. What are you hearing?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: OK, first of all, Becky, that was a phenomenal interview that with the minister, and I'm not being -

flattering. The reality is, you know, he was speaking with tremendous honesty. The dirty secret that nobody wants to talk about is that we need

fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.

And that is a problem with climate finance. Fossil fuel companies are finding it now very difficult to get investment and CAPEX because people

just won't invest in them. The pressure is against them. But as for my goodness, gracious, but as the Minister said, as the Minister put it quite

clearly, you need to have both.

You need to create an environment where you're doing renewables at the same time. And I think what people are here at Davos, they're managing this. The

reality of the situation is sort of coming up on them.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? And it's going to initiate is absolutely crucial. There is not enough money, we talked about this.

There's just not enough money being printed up either by the public or private sector at this point, to even catalyze finance, for future


And yet there is this great argument that says, you've got to get rid of your fossil fuels because those are--

QUEST: Exactly.

ANDERSON: --what is causing the greenhouse gases and emissions. And that's true. It's true, which leads us to conversations about how do you maximize

energy and minimize emissions? That's a mantra you'll, you'll hear here. And it's, you know, there is some genuine sort of meat on the bone there to

discuss going forward. Look, what's the state of the global economy as far as you can make out?

QUEST: Right. Weak, weak and fragile, but not as bad or dreadful we're just about at the peak of the interest rate hike cycle, and maybe one or two

more hikes, inflation is coming off the top. But the problem is growth is going to be weak.

We are still in a risk of stagflation. And that means for 2023, particularly in the developed world, the U.S., the EU, UK, not so much

where you are Becky in the Gulf, although there will be spillover effects when tourists don't travel. But the reality is weak, bordering on

recession, and the slightest exogenous event tips you over.

ANDERSON: Listen, stick with us this week, you'll have a lot of really, really good conversations I know. And we need to hear what you're getting

out of those conversations. So looking forward to speaking to you enjoy, you're I'm just going to say - you enjoy the warmth of that woolly hat.

There you go. Good stuff. Thank you, sir.

Just a little later, as China tries to reassure Davos and the world about its economy, we'll go inside a pivotal moment, the world's second largest

economy. The death toll rises as rescue operations at the destroyed apartment building and the Dnipro and the powerful new warning to Russia,

from Ukraine's President. Well, all that coming up here on CNN.



ANDERSON: Right. Well, Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has been delivering a powerful warning to delegates about Russia's aggression

following a deadly attack on an apartment building in Dnipro. She spoke at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland. Europe, of

course promising to stand with Ukraine. Listen to the President of the European Commission.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: There will be no impunity for these Russian crimes. And my friend said will be no lead up in

our steadfast support to Ukraine from helping to restore power, heating and water to preparing for the long term effort of reconstruction.


ANDERSON: Well, those promises of support and justice coming as Ukraine raises the death toll from the Russian missile strike in Dnipro. A regional

official now saying at least 45 people were killed including six kids 19 others are still missing. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls

the attack a war crime. And he is vowing those behind it will be held accountable.

The attack eliciting a rare public reaction in Moscow, a small memorial to the victims appeared in the Russian Capital today. The memorial includes a

toy and a framed photograph of the damaged apartment block. Fred Pleitgen is in Dnipro and he's back with us this hour. You've been speaking to

people who've been affected by this. What's the emotion?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say Becky, that it's a lot of grief and a lot of anger. There are a lot of

people that we've been speaking to quite frankly, were cursing, the Russians were extremely angry at the Russians.

But of course, there was also a lot of despair, especially on the part of people who were missing relatives missing loved ones. And quite frankly, we

also spoke to one woman who lives in this complex who was there when the missiles struck and said that she was absolutely terrified of the whole


And of course now also has neighbors who are still missing or have been confirmed dead. And of course, as we mentioned, the search and rescue

operation has now ended and we now have this eerie quiet here and just that gigantic void that you see behind me where this massive building used to

stand though, of course, was home to dozens of families.

There are a lot of people who are coming down here who are paying their respects a lot of people breaking into tears as this place tries to grapple

with what happened here. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Sirens and flashing lights mark the end of the search and rescue operation the responders who worked around the clock

since the missile struck honored and themselves paying respect to the victims a gaping hole where dozens of families once lived.

PLEITGEN (on camera): As you can see here this building was completely annihilated all the way down to the ground floor and the Ukrainian say the

reason why the damage is so extensive is that the Russians used a cruise missile called the KH 22 that is designed to destroy whole aircraft carrier

strike groups. And when it hit the building, the building just completely collapsed and buried dozens of people underneath.

PLEITGEN (voice over): A miracle that anyone survived at all Ukrainian authorities say. Katerina - was pulled from the rubble by rescuers hours

after the strike, but her husband and one year old son remain unaccounted for. And this video shows happier times for the - family.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Father, Mihailo Karnovski (ph) was killed in their apartment, their distinctive yellow kitchen, like their family torn apart

by the massive explosion. 15-year-old Maria was also killed in the blast dozens of relatives, classmates and teachers coming to pay their final


He was an incredible child her class teacher says God is taking the best of hours. This is what happened. The Kremlin denies its forces were behind the

strike, and instead claims a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile hit the building. The Ukrainian says that simply isn't true. And Dnipro's Mayor

tells me his city and the country needs more Western air defense systems.

Western countries give us air defense systems he tells me but unfortunately, it's not enough. And it comes with delays. More air defense

systems are the only thing that can save our civilians in our cities. The Ukrainian say they have no chance of stopping this missile that crashed

into the building. Almost 72 hours after the strike, the crews acknowledge there is no more hope of finding survivors.


PLEITGEN: And all that Becky, of course, a huge tragedy for the city for this community and so many people who lost their lives, so many people who

lost loved ones. But one of the things we do have to acknowledge this was also a massive operation by those first responders and by those cleanup


In fact, the Ukrainians are saying that in the three days that passed since that missile strike took place, they cleared some 8500 metric tons of

debris. And of course then found many bodies unfortunately, buried beneath that debris so huge operation that took place here. A lot of people

acknowledged the achievements of the people who are part of that operation at the same time.

Again though, big tragedy for this community and a lot of grief, a lot of anger here on the ground, not just on the part of those who are affected,

of course, a lot of the other people in the city as well. And the Ukrainian government, you had that sound bite from Volodymyr Zelenskyy also saying

that the Ukrainians want to bring those behind those to justice, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, they also want more military hardware at this point. And they say specifically tanks that they know, are available in Europe. And

they are specifically pointing a finger at the Germans to a certain extent when I say pointing finger making requests to the Germans, and that is

something that's being discussed at Davos.

This is something that the European says, you know, it is a war conflict that the Europeans say that they are massively in support of the Ukrainians

around. Can you just explain why it is that it is tanks that the Ukrainians are looking for at this point? And why it is that they aren't getting what

they need from the Europeans at this point?

PLEITGEN: Well, first of all, I think it's not only tanks that the Ukrainians want. I think more air defense systems is certainly something

that's being called for as well more sophisticated air defense systems, especially the likes of for instance, the patriots, where the Ukrainians

are going to get one from the Americans, and one from the Germans.

But you're absolutely right, Becky to point out that tanks right now are something that the Ukrainians are very much calling for. I think there are

several reasons for that. The Ukrainians, I think, realize that the battles here are shifting to ones where they're going to need more tanks.

They also understand that the Russians right now are pulling together or gargantuan force on the other side of the front line. We had that gigantic

mobilization that took place in Russia at the end of this year. And those forces are being pulled together.

The Ukrainians know they need more tanks. And they certainly also know that the Western tanks are far superior to the ones that came from the Soviet

Union's the ones that the Ukrainians have, and the ones that the Russians have as well. So it's a big deal for the Ukrainians.

And of course, right now, we mentioned this before; the Germans are really the ones that the Europeans are putting pressure on. Ukraine's are putting

pressure on so it's going to be very interesting to see what happens there at that meeting in Ramstein Becky?

ANDERSON: Fred, thank you. Well, that's the state of play on the ground in Dnipro. There's been a lot of brutal battle playing out around Bakhmut and

Soledar. In fact now the Russian mercenary group Wagner says it has captured the main train station west of Soledar.

CNN has been unable to verify that the Kremlin isn't commenting. Russia did though claim control of the town in the Donetsk region last week, but

Ukraine's President insists the fight is going on. Soledar is just north of the frontline city of Bakhmut where residents are desperately trying to

carry on with their lives. Well, CNN's Ben Wedeman filed this report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Near Bakhmut's front lines, lost souls wandered the streets. Those who can't

leave won't leave or have given up caring. I put some food on the fire I chopped some wood says - and decided to go out for some fresh air.


WEDEMAN (voice over): Dnipro pays no heed to the shelling. This is my land he says. I won't leave. Fighting echoes through the fog. As the Russians

seem to be gaining control of Soledar north of here in Bakhmut, the fighting seems to be intensifying. One local resident told us whereas

before mortars were flying over their heads. Now it's bullets.

Soldiers prepare trenches inside the city new defensive positions if the Russians push forward. A lot of sandbags with wood on top say Valentin and

three firing positions. On the ever so slightly safer western side of the city a makeshift market offers the basics with no electricity or running

water commerce is conducted in the open.

My two shops were destroyed says Denise so I'm selling the street. But this food is only for those who can afford it and - isn't one of them. I'm

living like an effing animal he says. Yvonne returns home after collecting firewood. The bitter cold is deadly as the shelling.

People have frozen to death in their apartments he says on a bluff overlooking Bakhmut is Artillery Officer nicknamed pilot says they're up

against troops with the private military company Wagner. We're fighting against soldiers brought to the slaughter he says. These Wagner guys have

no choice. They're sentenced to death. And then you order comes to open fire.


ANDERSON: I want to bring in Ben Wedeman for you now. Ben, where is this headed?

WEDEMAN: It does look like the focus of Russian - of the Russian offensive is going to be Bakhmut as you saw from that report, it appears that the

Ukrainians are digging and digging in a big way in and around the city. Now, despite that, there's still a fair amount of civilians left exactly

how many isn't clear.

But the fear is that the Russians could very well in the coming days or weeks surround Bakhmut completely or at least make the roads in and out of

it impassable one. One of the roads that we actually went through just about a week and a half ago is apparently under Russian fire.

So the access to the city is becoming difficult, which also means that exit from the city is more difficult. So it does appear that as the fighting

winds down in Soledar. And at this point, nobody has a clear idea exactly what is going on? It's impossible to for journalists to get in there. But I

think we will be seeing an uptick in the fighting in and around Bakhmut Becky.

ANDERSON: Important analysis and insight, Ben thank you very much indeed! Just ahead, China's changing story. What its weaker economy and shrinking

population could mean for the rest of us, that's next. And call to the tower moments before impact. New details about what happened in the last

minutes of an ill-fated flight in Nepal that is after this.



ANDERSON: China, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos that the country's growth will "See a significant improvement in 2023". Those

reassuring words coming after China's growth slowed in 2022. In fact, the world's second biggest economy is posting one of its worst performances in


Now, look, this is largely because of COVID. Beijing says the country's economy expanded by just 3 percent in 2022 and although that may sound

quite high that is far below the government's target. And Beijing's got another problem on its hands at present. China saw its first drop in

population in six decades last year. CNN's Marc Stewart looks at the implications for the global economy.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The headline is significant. China's population shrank last year, the first time this has happened in

more than 60 years, a decline of about 850,000 people. Let's break this down and look at some of the reasons why?

First, priorities are changing. We're getting married later, and some young people are not having children at all. In addition, Beijing held a

controversial one child policy until 2015. But it was relaxed because of concerns about the population. In 2021 three children were then allowed and

a plan was released to strengthen maternity leave and to offer tax deductions.

In addition to all of this, the cost of living in China is high, so is education. And then there's just general economic uncertainty that can all

impact decision making. So what are the takeaways from this? The United Nations is predicting India will surpass China to become the most populated

country this year.

And then there are the economic implications. This means an ageing workforce without a pipeline into the future that could impact productivity

and in turn economic success. Chinese Leader Xi Jinping has raised these demographic challenges saying boosting birth rates and addressing the cost

of raising a child will be part of future policy. Marc Stewart, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, the search for the last remaining victim of the Yeti Airlines plane crash in Nepal has been suspended for the night and is set

to resume again tomorrow on Wednesday. 71 bodies have now been recovered and investigators say the pilot asked to change the landing runway just

minutes before the plane crashed on Sunday, but there were no distress calls from the pilot.

Well, today Nepal appointed new Minister of Tourism and Aviation who is vowing to make air travel safer in the country. That is welcome news for

many. But it didn't come soon enough to about this latest devastating tragedy. Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A family in shock. Their son Abhishek Kushwaha was on vacation in Nepal with

three of his friends when their plane suddenly crashed on Sunday. We lost our families only breadwinner says his father in India.

He was an accomplished educated boy and I witnessed happen to record the doomed Yeti Airlines plane abruptly banking seconds before it crashed. The

aircraft slammed into a deep gorge carrying 72 passengers and crew.


WATSON (voice over): A difficult search and rescue operation forcing emergency workers to use ropes and cranes most of those on board were

Nepalis as well as 15 passengers from India, Russia, Korea, Australia, Argentina, Ireland and France. Authorities say they lost communication with

the plane 18 minutes into what was supposed to be a 25 minute flight from the capital Katmandu to Nepal's second largest city Pokhara.

GEOFFREY THOMAS, AIRLINERRATINGS.COM: In a short flight that the workload is higher on the pilots you've obviously got - you've got the takeoff to

climb. You're only in crews really for a minute or two if that, and then you then you're descending.

WATSON (voice over): Nepal's Prime Minister announced a national day of mourning on Monday, and formed a five person committee to investigate the

cause of the crash. Experts say the aircraft itself a French Italian made ATR 72 twin engine turboprop has a decent track record for safety. Unlike

the aviation industry in Nepal,

THOMAS: Since 2000 there's been 33 serious incidents in Nepal, of which 21 have been fatal, so the track record is not good.

WATSON (voice over): High in the Himalayas, Nepal is home to some of the world's tallest mountains. The country saw deadly plane crashes in 2016,

2018 and as recently as May of last year, nearly 10 years ago, concern over safety standards prompted the European Union to ban all Nepali airlines

from flying to Europe. Those details of little concern to family members waiting outside a hospital in Pokhara waiting for the final return of their

loved ones, Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, turning up the heat. Turkey has so far stood in the way of approving two new NATO members. But the U.S. hopes that a huge arms deal

which is hanging in the balance at present could change the view that is coming up.


ANDERSON: Palestinian militant group Hamas has released what it claims is a video of an Israeli man who's been held prisoner in Gaza since 2014. The

Israeli government says it has questions about the videos authenticity. CNN's Hadas Gold reports.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This video released by the Palestinian militant group is the first image of a - student since he was

taken hostage in 2014 by Hamas after crossing into Gaza on foot. The video is undated and appears to show - sitting in a buttoned up purple shirt

against a white wall asking things like how long he will remain in captivity and where his country and people are?


GOLD (voice over): He appears for about 11 seconds. Now CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video or confirm when it was filmed and it is

likely that - made the statement under duress. Now the timing of this video is also notable because it comes on the same day that the new Israel

Defense Forces Chief of Staff - Halevy took over from the outgoing Chief of Staff --.

And actually a message at the beginning and end of the video address both men. Now both - brother and his mother have spoken on Israeli television,

his brothers saying he was excited and scared at the same time, but that he could not be 100 percent sure that the man in the video was his brother.

His mother though told channel 12 Israeli channel 12 that she was sure it was her son. His family and the Israeli government have both said that - is

mentally ill. Now the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not confirm the authenticity of the video saying only in a

statement, the State of Israel invest all its resources and efforts to return its captive and missing son's home to the State of Israel.

Along with - Hamas is also holding another Israeli civilian who crossed into Gaza Sharm El Sayed as well as the bodies of two soldiers killed

during the 2014 war with Hamas - Hadas Gold, CNN Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. is turning up the pressure on Turkey urging Ankara to approve two new NATO members. Now you may recall Finland and Sweden

applied to join the military alliance in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. All 30 NATO members must sign off on these additions.

But there's been a roadblock and that has been Turkey. President has accused the two Nordic countries of harboring members of a Kurdish

separatist group. Well, now the White House is hoping that a multi-billion dollar arms deal with the Turkish Government will somewhat help prod

President Erdogan into voting for the NATO expansion.

Well over the weekend, the Biden Administration announced it was preparing to ask Congress to approve the deal, which includes the sale of 40 F-16

fighter jets to Turkey. We got team coverage on this story for you.

Jomana Karadsheh has a view from Istanbul and White House Reporter Natasha Bertrand is standing by in Washington. Jomana let's start with you and the

perspective from Ankara at this point with regard Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO. Just explain what's going on there?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, a few months ago, it did seem like they were on the way to approving Sweden and Finland

membership into NATO. You had that memorandum that was signed between the three countries where they agreed to address some of the issues that Turkey

had raised.

That it wanted, that it wanted these two countries to address what it says are national security issues when it comes to the accusations that Finland

and Sweden they say are harboring members of Kurdish separatist groups and others groups that they wanted them to deal with this. And it did seem like

they were on track after signing that agreement.

But Turkish officials are saying, look, they have taken some steps. But so far, it's not enough. They want to see they say more concrete steps and

addressing what they say are their legitimate national security concerns. And some Turkish officials are saying now they're in no rush to approve

this possibly not even taking it to parliament before elections here that are expected in May or June.

We've also heard from the Turkish President, over the past few days also saying that they still want Finland and Sweden to hand over more than 100

individuals who are wanted by Turkey, otherwise, they are not going to approve their membership.

But it's also very important to look at this, Becky, in the context of what is going on here. It is the lead up to a critical election in the next few

months. It's very much campaign season here. So sometimes what Turkish officials say publicly doesn't necessarily reflect what may be going on

behind closed doors?

These ongoing negotiations between these countries and other NATO members and also, you know we've heard from U.S. officials, the NATO Secretary

General and others in recent months saying that they believe that eventually Turkey will come around that it will approve their membership.

But you know a lot of people are seeing this as a moment that Turkey had been waiting for where you've got this situation where it has this leverage

it didn't have before. And it's using it to put pressure on these countries to try and extract concessions that it wasn't able to get in the past.

ANDERSON: Yes, that's fascinating, isn't it? So the U.S. clearly supports the accession of these two countries into the block. Enter Natasha does

discussion of this arms sale of F-16s to Turkey the Biden Administration as I understand it waiting for Congress's approval now to move forward.


ANDERSON: And the Turkish FM is in DC, and he'll meet with Antony Blinken today. And what's the sentiment on the Hill with regard this arms deal?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's far from clear that this arms deal is actually going to go through because there has been

really staunch opposition from the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee here to selling Turkey those F-16 fighter jets.

And that Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has said that until Turkey shows that it has changed its behavior that Erdogan stops his authoritarian

tendencies opens up the media and his country stops the threats against the Kurds. And of course, signals a willingness to allow Finland and Sweden to

join NATO, and he is not willing to vote at for this arms deal to go through.

Now, of course, his voice is not the only one that matters, he has a very important voice. But ultimately, a lot of Democratic senators and members

of Congress that we have been speaking to say that they will likely put a provision into any agreement that requires Turkey to show that they will

ratify this NATO session for Finland and Sweden before they receive these F-16 fighter jets.

Now, it is really unclear at this point how this is all going to play out because of course, the Biden Administration really wants to sell this

equipment to Turkey and President Biden did express his willingness to do so just last year saying that he believes it's a good idea, as well as the

Pentagon, they also support this.

But ultimately, it is required to get congressional approval before a massive foreign military sale like this is actually approved. And so while

the Biden Administration is trying to work with Congress at this point to see whether this could actually move forward.

It is far from clear that Congress at this point is willing to do that, especially given the staunch opposition that we have seen from certain

senior members. Of course, Turkey has been asking for this F-16 fighter jets since 2021. Since before - since after they were kicked out of that F-

35 fighter jet program for of course, receiving those missile systems from Russia, so a lot of tension, obviously, over the last several years between

these two countries.

ANDERSON: And I interviewed President Erdogan back in 2016 or 2018, sorry, when the U.S. was going to withdraw the sale of those fighter jets have a



RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: If there is an alliance, if your allies you should crown it with a spirit and agreement had been signed and

we're paying our installments dually in return for 35. But you cannot immediately or integer perfect decide not to give me the F-35s that I've

been paying for.


ANDERSON: Jomana briefly what is this relationship stand from the perspective of Ankara?

KARADSHEH: Well, I mean, Becky, as you know very well. I mean, as Natasha mentioned, tensions have been very high between these two countries

relations have been strained for years over a long list of issues. Topping that list for Turkey is the U.S. has support for Kurdish armed groups in

Syria that Turkey considers as its top national security threat.

But I mean if you look at what's happening right now, it gives you an indication with this possible arms sale the F-16 sale to Turkey, moving

forward, at least from the Biden Administration. Right now you've got the Turkish Foreign Minister meeting tomorrow with Secretary Blinken.

It's good optics for Turkey. It does look like to an extent they are restoring and improving those strained ties and trying to restore those

defense ties with the U.S. So we'll have to see where this all goes. But some here are seeing this as a step in the right direction and trying to

restore relations with what is considered to be a key NATO ally that has proven itself as a very important player, especially during the war in

Ukraine, as you know very well, Becky.

ANDERSON: To both of you. It always is a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed. We're taking a short break back after this.



ANDERSON: 2022 was a standout year for art in the Middle East. But 2023 shaping up to is even more exciting with major exhibitions that Matt -

Qatar and the Louvre here in Abu Dhabi. And after years of construction, the brand new grand Egyptian Museum near Cairo is set to open this year.

Well, I caught up with Emirati Art Collector Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, who is known for bringing together creatives from the Middle East and beyond,

to see what's in store for this region this year.


SULTAN SOOUD AL QASSEMI, EMIRATI ART COLLECTOR: I'm very excited about what's been happening over the past decade or so with regards to West Asian

and North African art. There have been record sales.

So numbers is one way to measure interest in people, but there's also been record interest by museums all over the world. It's wonderful that the rest

of the world is recognizing our art. But what really matters is our own youth are recognizing our art.

ANDERSON: You have invested what feels like a lifetime in support of art and artists from this region. You are described variously as a collector,

as an academic, as an artist, writer, as a connector, how do you describe yourself?

QASSEMI: I would describe myself maybe as somebody who's in love with his region, somebody who believes in the potential of his region, who believes

that we deserve better.

ANDERSON: And your enthusiasm for this region is infectious. You've said in the past that you all that you want to see are this region and its

youngsters armed with paint brushes and pens. What did you mean by that?

QASSEMI: I said in an interview that we should arm the youth and my mother thought that I meant different kinds of armor. I really do believe that,

you know, the paintbrush, the pen and paper, the microphone, these are arms. These are ways in which we disseminate that we express ourselves.

And so we are really in a battle with the rest of the world in which we need to make sure that our voices aren't drowned out. We need to make sure

that the young people of our region have the means and the possibility and the ability to share their ideas and to share their artworks by displaying

them in museums share their music.

ANDERSON: And the pieces that you see over the past years are often seen through the prism of conflict. So tightness dare is only this fabulous

piece that we are sitting in front of her started in 2004 as I understand it just after the Iraq War, is it time to move on from conflict?

QASSEMI: I don't think so. I think that we, as Middle Easterners, we as people who are contemporaneous to this region, we need to reflect what's

happening in our parts of the world. You can't just ignore the refugee crisis, the climate change crisis, unemployment crisis, there's so many

crises that we are living amongst you can't just ignore them.

ANDERSON: Are we seeing the breaking down of taboos in Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian art?

QASSEMI: Well, I believe that there are taboos that we are able to explore. And I think in a smart way, sexual taboos, for example can be explored,

religious taboos can be explored. Unfortunately, in this part of the world, political taboos are the ones that the governments are most worried about.

Because for example, they don't want to see any challenges to their authority. So in one hand, I sympathize with artists who have all these red

lines that they have to contend with. But at the same time, smart artists can be savvy to a point where they can get their point across without

angering the religious the feminine - the communal the social the political.


ANDERSON: And last question what are you or who are you most excited about at present in your world of art?

QASSEMI: Becky, I am excited about agenda more than I am excited about an individual. I'm excited about the possibilities of putting the limelight on

women artists from my region. I am excited about Nada Saikali. I am excited about - I am excited about Madiha Omar I am excited - I am excited about.

Oh boy, I can go on and on. So I'm excited about women artists. And so that is where my heart is. That's where my mind is. That is what I dream of

going forward. And there are several exhibitions that are highlighting women art, and I really think that this is the next frontier for us in the

Middle East.


ANDERSON: Sultan Al Qassemi speaking to me earlier. Thanks for joining us today. CNN continues after this short break, we'll be back same place same

time tomorrow. See you then.