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Connect the World

Iran & Saudi Arabia to Resume Diplomatic Relations; Ukrainians Try to Recover after Russian Missile Barrage; Deadly Mass Shooting at Jehovah's Witnesses Center; Inside the Secret Talks that Ended Siege of Mariupol; Decades into Fight, Progress but Concerns about AIDS Remain; Grammy- Nominated "Symphony of Three" Inspired by Abrahamic House. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 10, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN HOST: This hour regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia reestablished ties in a major deal brokered by China.

Coming up, I'll speak to a Saudi Political Researcher in Riyadh for more on that.

First up, though, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Italy are protesters there urging him to take his controversial judicial overhaul

plan off the table. Nearly half a million people in Ukraine second biggest city are without power that's Kharkiv following Thursday's strikes across

the country.

A shooting rampage in Germany leaves several people dead police still searching for a motive. And later in the show, I'll speak to Pakistan's

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, about the political crisis brewing there.

Right you with us for the second hour of "Connect the World". After a seven year cold spell and a rivalry that goes back decades two of the Middle

East's biggest players, Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic ties and reopen their embassies within two months.

Now this deal was brokered notably in Beijing. The country's cut off ties back in 2016, when Saudi executed a prominent shear cleric. But the

consequences of the Saudi Iran rivalry is hard to understate from sectarian violence across the region to a devastating proxy war in Yemen.

So tonight, we ask what will be the impact and consequences of a Saudi Iran rapprochement. Well, Salman Al Ansari is a Saudi Political Research. He

joins me now live from Riyadh. And it's good to have you with us sir. How big a deal is this?

SALMAN AL ANSARI, SAUDI POLITICAL RESEARCH: Thank you so much Becky for having me. I actually have some kind of like mixed feelings about resuming

relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, since I and many others survived an assassination attempt by the Iranian regime when I attended an Iranian

opposition conference in Paris in 2018.

But to answer your question, definitely the official statement of resuming Saudi Iranian relations via Chinese mediation, with no doubt a bold,

geopolitical move in an extremely sensitive time. And as we all know that the Saudi - the King of Saudi Arabia was forced to cut ties with Iran after

the Iranian outrageous attack and burning of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in 2016 plus, also attacking the Saudi Consulate in another city in Iran,

which is called Mashhad.

Anyway, resuming the relations will surely have unprecedented global strategic implications. And I'm saying global, not only regional, why,

because the U.S. has, as you have seen, has praised the move publicly.

But somehow I can surely sense that there are the Americans are not very happy for the fact that China was behind the mediation. But you guys in the

U.S. can actually tell more about that, since definitely, the U.S. sees itself as the security guarantor of the Middle East. And China is posing

itself as the one who can facilitate peace between the two biggest rivals in the Middle East.

ANDERSON: Salman to remind you, this is a show that is broadcast out of the Middle East. I am in Abu Dhabi. It is, as you rightly point out on American

network, just to put us in place here. You've talked about the impacts and implications in you. You wonder how this will go down, really in the U.S. I

do want to ask you what you think needs to happen to make this stick and carry this forward?

AL ANSARI: Yes, sure. Look, based on my own personal opinion, and observation, I'm not representing the government in any way. I personally

think Iran is not a rational state, but an ideological and dogmatic theocracy that can hardly be trusted.

And as an Iranian citizen just tweeted 30 minutes ago, she said Iran has to be at peace with itself first. And I think the Saudis tried their best to

get the international community specifically the United States to be more decisive against the Iranian terror activities.

But we somehow saw the opposite, especially since the unlawful U.S. invasion of Iraq and how it was handed to Iran on a silver platter. So then

the U.S. definitely had the appeasement policy with Iran for the sake of the weak nuclear deal.


So I think the Saudis want to try another choice on that particular issue, which is China, since Beijing has more leverage on Tehran and U.S.

CHATTERLEY: Beijing, of course, flexing an awful lot of diplomatic power here. The Chinese Foreign Minister told reporters and I quote him here.

This is a victory for dialogue and peace, which provides major good news and sends a clear signal to the current turbulent world. Just describe if

you will, how this adds to China's positioning, if at all in the Middle East, today?

AL ANSARI: Yes, I think, as we all know, China is considered to be the biggest trading partner for Saudi Arabia. And it's not only for Saudi

Arabia; it's also the biggest trading partner for the United States and 120 nations around the world.

So it's a fact of life that China is an important economic power in the world. And definitely, the United States is considered to be the security

partner of Saudi Arabia and the number one security partner in the Kingdom.

But at the same time, as I said, we need to have a different way of looking at things because if you always do what you've always done, you'll always

get what you've always gotten. And we don't want to keep repeating the same appeasement policies with Iran through the Western nations.

So we need to find someone who has more leverage on Iran than the U.S. and the West at large. So I think that's going to be a strategic move. But what

I'm concerned about is the real question, which is what kind of concessions, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia managed to get from Iran with

regards to the many conflicts caused by its IRGC militias, either in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and most importantly, Yemen?

ANDERSON: You make a very good point. And we have had some reporting, certainly, out of Iran that off the back of this, there are other

diplomatic moves that Tehran wants to make in the region, neither you nor I have any detail on those.

But as you are interested to learn, so I am about what Tehran means by that. Look, before I let you go, these are busy times on the diplomatic

front, for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia across a myriad of files let's just go through those files.

Just this week, rapprochement with Iran, Saudis Foreign Ministry in Moscow, offering to do "Whatever is necessary to resolve the conflict in Ukraine"

while there, he also reiterated calls for a ceasefire in Yemen. And we see reporting in Western press today that the Kingdom is looking to reset

relations with Washington, possibly through the lens of normalization, with Israel.

Looking at the big picture here what do you make of the Kingdom's very busy couple of weeks and its international files at present? What do you make of

what you are witnessing here?

AL ANSARI: It is actually interesting, because as you have mentioned, like a couple of days ago, Prince Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was actually

visiting Moscow and 20 days before he was in Ukraine meetings with President Zelenskyy.

So at that particular point, but at that particular time, I was wondering how come we are trying so hard to resolve the issues between Ukraine and

Russia, while we are not doing enough with regards to resolving the issues with Iran.

So all of a sudden, we've seen today, the announcement of this agreement that has been mediated by China. So it shows that Saudi Arabia is all about

having zero conflict with everyone. Because the Saudi model is very clear.

And I actually call it the development model, because Saudi Arabia, as we all know, has been ranked by the United Nations just recently, a couple of

weeks ago, as the biggest donor or provider of development aid in the whole world.

And when it comes to our rival, unfortunately, Iran, they have been providing what bloodshed, destruction, and tourism. So all what we want to

tell to the Iranian regime is that your regime is not sustainable and they have no option whatsoever to survive if they don't change course and become

a normal nation that rather than just a revolutionary one.

And the Saudis succeeded on setting this model of development and we want everyone to go through the model that Saudi Arabia and rational states in

the region, the region one so yes.

ANDERSON: Salman Al Ansari, it's good to have you on. The views and you have said a number of times; these are your personal views. But it's good

to get your perspective of Saudi Political Researcher joining me out of Riyadh this evening.


This is really important stuff. And we'll get more on this as the days go on because of course, you would expect that from us as the primetime

regional show for CNN. The German Chancellor says he is stunned by a mass shooting in Hamburg. Investigators are trying to find the possible motive

for Thursday's attack at a Jehovah's Witnesses Center.

Six people were killed and a woman lost her pregnancy. Hamburg officials say the gunman who acted alone, turned his gun on himself as police stormed

the building. CNN'S Jim Bittermann is joining us, now with more.

The Interior Minister told reporters earlier and I quote him here, Jim Hamburg has never seen a mass shooting like this. What do we understand to

have happened? And are investigators any closer to finding out why?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've been working on it all day long, Becky going to figure out exactly what

motivated this shooter? They have a couple of leads, but that they're kind of teasing us with that we don't know for sure. They're not disclosing what

else they may know.

But we know that he's a 35-year-old German National that he was in Jehovah's Witnesses up until about 18 months ago, and that as one security

official put it, he left not under the best circumstances. Now, it's not clear whether he left voluntarily or whether he was forced out of the


But in any case, it looked like - it looks like there was some kind of bad blood of some sort. He also, while not being known to the police having no

criminal record. He was known to the police because he came in with a complaint of fraud. That was also earlier.

So it's a question of, you know, what kind of contact what that fraud may have been and that sort of thing. But in terms of the motivation, it's

really unclear. For Chancellor Olaf Scholz who comes from Hamburg this was particularly shocking. Here's what he had to say.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: Last night, there was a terrible incident in my hometown of Hamburg. Several people have become victims of brutal

acts of violence. And the district of all stirred off a person running an open fire in a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, killing several people,

and then apparently executing him. So it is feared that further victims will succumb to their severe injuries. We are stunned by this violence.


BITTERMANN: So, Becky basically the police and investigators are ruling out any kind of act of terrorism or political connection or something like

that. They do say they are looking into the medical state the mental state of this individual Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Jim. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Still to come, Ukraine pays respects to hero killed in the battle

for Bakhmut. And new CNN reporting on what Russia might be doing with American weapons that Ukrainian forces are leaving behind on the

battlefield more on that after this.



ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. Ukraine trying to recover from what was one of the most intense waves of Russian

missile strikes of this war. Well, authorities in Kyiv say power and water now restored but that isn't the case in the nations' second largest city

nearly half a million residents of Kharkiv are without electricity after Russia's attack on Thursday.

Mean time in Kyiv they are honoring a fallen hero from the fighting in Bakhmut CNN's Ivan Watson was there as Ukraine made a solemn farewell.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is how Ukraine is honoring one of its fallen warriors, a young man 27-years-

old named Dmytro Kotsiubailo. He was the youngest battalion commander in the Ukrainian armed forces killed this week in that grinding battle of

Bakhmut that has gone on for months.

Now he went under the codename Vinci. And Kotsiubailo was famous in Ukraine, because as a teenager, he had joined the pro-democracy protests

here in Kyiv's Maidan Square a face off against the security forces in which the protesters ultimately won and a pro-Russian President fled to

neighboring Russia.

And he joined a militia group after that battling pro-Russian forces in the Donbas region, a group called "The Right Sector" whose flags had been

demonstrated here and patches as well. Now Moscow considers that organization a terrorist group and denounces them as Nazis.

But last year, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, gave the Vinci the award calling him a hero of Ukraine. Now, he is being laid to rest and

as you can see, he is truly regarded as a hero by many Ukrainians.

This underscores the immense costs that the battle for Bakhmut the cost that is incurring on the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ukrainian commanders

insist that this battle is bleeding, the Russian military dry, but it is also causing immense sacrifice for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


ANDERSON: And Ivan joins us now and I know that you spoke to people who were attending that service or indeed just paying, sort of paying their

respects what have people been telling you?

WATSON: Right. Well, this was described to me by bystanders is the largest funeral of its kind that they've ever seen really conducted by the state

here. The Church service in the Cathedral over my shoulder was attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

And the visiting Prime Minister of Finland, who both paid their respects to the slain commanders' mother. Again, this is somebody who is officially

regarded as a hero of the country who received all the highest honors at the ceremony at the memorial in the Maidan, I heard people chanting, and

"Heroes never die".

And in some ways, this commander, he came full circle because he was a teenager in the Maidan in 2014, a in what was seen as kind of the crucible,

the baptism of Ukraine's independence movement when protesters rose up against the pro-Russian President and drove him out of his office and out

of the country.

And then he joined the armed defense of Ukraine against pro-Russian separatists. So a lot of people were out there civilians as well as

military paying their respects to this man who gave his life as they see it defending their country the ultimate sacrifice.

He is just one individual of untold numbers who have laid down their lives in this war over the course of the last year. We don't have official

statistics for how many Ukrainian servicemen and women have died.

And in addition to the civilians who are dying when their towns and cities come under shelling day in and day out. At least 11 people killed for

example, yesterday in Russian bombardment and the missile salvos alone.

It is an enormous cost that the society here is paying. And this was but a reminder of the sacrifice that ordinary Ukrainians are making, trying to

expel a Russia's invasion force from their country, Becky.


ANDERSON: And I know briefly that you spoke to one woman, whose husband is as we, as we speak, or as you spoke, fighting on the frontlines in Bakhmut.

What did she tell you?

WATSON: Yes, I mean, she's trying to explain to her four-year-old son why her father's not there, it's because he's fighting in this battle Bakhmut

for this small south-eastern city, which so many Ukrainians have died defending as well as Russian troops, as well. She says that she tries to

get at least a text message from her husband every day to make sure he's still alive.

But she knows that the situation there is very dire, very dangerous, as she put it very complicated. And she, as she put it, this is part of the price

that Ukrainians have to pay, as she put it for their freedom. Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan, it's good to have you. Thank you very much indeed. Now new CNN reporting on what Russia could be doing with the weapons Ukrainian

forces leave behind on the battlefield.

Sources say American and NATO officials have seen instances of Russian forces seizing smaller weapons like Javelin antitank and Stinger anti-

aircraft systems and sending them elsewhere. Where is the question? Well, CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins us from Washington with her reporting.

Natasha, what have you got?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Becky. So, we're learning that the U.S. and Western officials, including NATO officials have

seen evidence of Russia capturing Western provided weapons on the battlefield, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft

missiles, and sending them to Iran.

And that is likely because Iran is going to try to reverse engineer them, and try to make their own kind of system that they can then proliferate in

the region. Now, this is significant, because of course, this is part of the growing partnership that we're seeing between Russia and Iran, which

has really intensified over the last year amid Russia's war in Ukraine, where Russia increasingly desperate for help in that war has turned to Iran

for a lot of its military equipment, including drones.

Well, now we're seeing that that is starting to go in the other direction as well. Iran is asking Russia for military equipment. And as part of this

partnership, Russia is now giving some of these western weapons to Iran so that they can basically take them apart and reproduce them which Iran is

actually very adept at, and has done many times in the past with U.S. weapons that they have captured.

Now, we should note that the U.S. and Western officials that we speak to say that this is not an extremely widespread issue. It's not systematic,

but they have seen multiple instances of this happening. And they're able to track it somewhat because the Ukrainians actually tell the Pentagon

every time, they are unable to rescue essentially a U.S. provided system on the battlefield, either because they are overrun, or they have to withdraw

it very quickly.

And so, they tell the Defense Department, every time a U.S. provided weapon falls into the hands of Russian forces. So, the U.S. is aware of this, they

see it as kind of a regular part of warfare, right? It is kind of unavoidable. But the part about the Russian sending this equipment to Iran

is a little bit more concerning.

And one expert told me that it could pose a really serious risk to the region considering all of Iran's proxy forces that are proliferating

throughout the region. And of course, the fear that many Middle Eastern countries have about Iran's growing influence there, Becky.

ANDERSON: As always - we had, fascinating. All right, thank you very much indeed. Natasha Bertrand with her reporting there all right well, ousted

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is still set on a political comeback, but he is facing a lot of challenges.

A little later I'll speak to the man himself about how he plans to do that. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. We are going to

take a very short break at this point, back after this.



ANDERSON: China's Foreign Minister calls an agreement by Iran and Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations a victory for dialogue and peace. The

deal was finalized after several days of unannounced talks in Beijing with a signing ceremony happening in the Chinese capital. The two countries plan

to reopen their embassies within two months they have severed ties in 2016.

A nation in shock, Germany is asking why a gunman opened fire at a Jehovah's Witness center in Hamburg. Six people were killed and a woman

lost her pregnancy in Thursday's attack. Officials say the shooter was a former member of the community who acted alone and killed himself at the


And Ukraine is trying to recover from Thursday's barrage of Russian missile attacks. He reports that water and electricity in the capital are restored

but hundreds of thousands of people in Kharkiv are still without power. Well, ongoing anti-government protests in Israel did not stop Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Italy.

Here he's there for an economic forum and to meet with Italy's right-wing Prime Minister. The visit coming as Israel's figurehead president Isaac

Hertzog calls on Mr. Netanyahu's government to scrap what is its judicial overhaul plan.

Well, back home there is more bloodshed a Palestinian gunman shot three people in Tel Aviv before he was fatally shot by off duty police. Hadas

Gold back with us this hour from Jerusalem. And you've learned that these protests have followed the Prime Minister to Italy, just describe what we

are seeing.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, not only were the protests affecting how we even got to Italy, had to be helicoptered into

the Tel Aviv airport, because protesters were blocking the roads leading up to leading up to the airport.

But then once he arrived in Rome, it appears that Israelis and others living in Italy who are opposed to these judicial reforms also chose to

protest in front of where Netanyahu was meeting with the Italian prime minister, a small protest a few dozen people.

But it still goes to show you how widespread the concern is over these judicial reforms. Recent polling has shown that a majority of Israelis do

not agree with the overall push of these reforms which at their most drastic as we've been saying would allow the Israeli parliament which means

essentially any party that has the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions.

This is the most massive judicial overhaul in Israeli history. And then after the Prime Minister took off for Italy on Thursday, the Israeli

President Isaac Hertzog makes an unannounced last minute televised address to the country.


And for the first time he actually spoke out specifically against this legislation. Now, although Isaac Herzog has been trying for weeks to call

for consensus, he's been trying to have meetings with all sides from the opposition to the coalition to the governor and getting them all together

to sit around the table and come to some sort of consensus agreement on what these reforms could look like.

Last night was the first time he said that he believes that the reforms the way they stand now would be a threat to Israel's democratic foundation, and

he said that the country is at a point of no return. So be interesting to see when Benjamin Netanyahu comes back from Italy after this weekend,

whether the president's address on Thursday night will somehow help spur this consensus.

There is a feeling though that the next few weeks, the Israeli government is really going to try to bulldoze this legislation through as much as

possible it takes three readings. And then of course, as a reminder of what else is happening in this region, the deadly violence that's been gripping

Israelis and Palestinians is not far from where the protests were taking place last night.

And just as they were breaking up, there was a shooting attack of police say a terror attack that a man walked up to three men who were walking down

one of the busiest nightlife streets in Tel Aviv, shooting them, wounding all three one of them was critically wounded.

Before he the attacker himself was shot by passers-by amongst them off duty police Hamas, the militant organization that runs Gaza has claimed this

person as one of their members, one of their fighters saying that he is from a West Bank town. Just goes to show you that while these protests as

traditional overhaul is really gripping Israeli internal politics, this deadly cycle of violence continues in the West Bank and across Israel,


ANDERSON: Hadas Gold is on the story. Hadas, thank you. Well, violence in Haiti forcing the temporary closure of some hospitals in the country, even

one operated by excuse me, "Doctors without Borders" as CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains. Doctors say they are unable to work under what are these

current conditions.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The decision by "Doctors without Borders" to suspend their operations in this clinic in the Haitian capital

of Port-au-Prince is particularly chilling because, of course, this is a group that is known for operating in war torn countries and places where

the situation is particularly desperate.

But what "Doctors without Borders" has told CNN is that this clinic in the Cite Soleil, neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, a neighborhood that has long

been known, has been with the most dangerous in the city, it is simply deteriorated. That is not a question of gang violence of crime.

It is an all-out war that described other clinics as being on the front line of this a war that was going on between rival gangs. They say that

they have had patients a targeted as they've tried to go to the clinic that is not safe, that there have been stray bullets that have hit their clinic.

And simply for the time being at least that they cannot continue to provide medical services in this part of the Haitian capital and that will mean for

the hundreds of thousands of people that live in Cite Soleil, that they will not have access, many of them at least to any medical services,

because this is one of, we're told one of the few clinics that is operating in this part of Port-au-Prince.

And what that will mean as the gang violence has gotten worse and worse over the last several months is that, that the aid groups that provide

these very basic services because these are services the government in many parts of Haiti is not able to provide. And they will simply become

unavailable to many of the Haitians who desperately need these services.

And the Haitian government has called on the international community to provide more assistance to the Haitian police to combat these gangs. And

then there has been assistance by the part of several foreign governments. But what the Haitian government has asked for actual for military boots on

the ground has not come a few countries, no countries at this point; seem to be willing to provide that.

So as Haiti, the situation gets worse and worse for the people on the ground and Haitians that are trying to go to work, trying to go their

school, trying to just receive medical attentions. Those things are going to become harder and harder as the gangs seem to have increasingly, the

upper hand over the government, Patrick Oppmann, CNN Havana.

ANDERSON: And we are taking a short break, back after this.



ANDERSON: Early into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, you may remember a brutal siege that unfolded in the ravaged city of Mariupol now under

Russian control. Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians sought refuge in the fortress like Azovstal iron and steel plant which Russia

bombarded for weeks.

It was feared those trapped inside would never make it out. But secret talks were underway that allowed a safe evacuation and eventual surrender

which then allowed Russia to fully seize Mariupol and secure its long sought land bridge with Crimea. CNN's Alex Marquardt has this exclusive



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Three months last year, Russian forces laid siege to the Azovstal

steel plant more than 2000 Ukrainians both soldiers and civilians taking shelter deep underground. In the port city of Mariupol, it was Ukraine's

last stand. After Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on state television ordering the plant sealed off "So that not even a fly can


These new exclusive videos show that some of his top generals were dispatched. For intense never before seen negotiations for the release and

surrender of those in Azovstal these clips and photos are from Oleksandr Kovalov, a Ukrainian Member of Parliament who had previously served as a

Soviet paratrooper. He told us he reached out to old contacts in Russia security services.

OLEKSANDR KOVALOV, UKRAINIAN MP: There are people with some degree of sanity who wanted to help. And some wanted blood and continued shelling and

bombing with hatred.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Soon Kovalov said two senior Russian military intelligence generals were involved. Alexander Zoran and Vladimir Alexeyev

both are highly decorated; General Zoran was involved in Russia's campaign in Syria seen here with President Bashar Al Assad.

General Alexeyev is the deputy head of Russia's military intelligence sanctioned by the U.S. for cyber-attacks, including election interference

and the EU and UK for the 2018 poisoning in England of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter. This clip shows Alexeyev at the

steel plant surrounded by Ukrainian troops from the Azov battalion which Russia calls Nazis. Zoran photograph there too.

KOVALOV: These are the moments that we were worried about. A moment of trust when we did everything so that the two sides came together, looked

into each other's eyes, the Russian side promised that there would be a civilized exit for our soldiers.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Three times Kovalov went to Mariupol which he says was under constant shelling. A senior Ukrainian military intelligence

official Dimitri Ossoff joined him and took charge of the talks with the Russian generals.


KOVALOV: We tried to show the whole world that it is possible to find a compromise, if only for the sake of saving people.

MARQUARDT (voice over): In early May, the civilians were released, soldiers still under attack. On May 16, a final deal was struck. Soldiers would

leave Russia would take over Mariupol, the first Ukrainian soldiers emerged on stretchers. Many others carried or limping, they surrender their

weapons. General Zoran seen here speaking with the Azov commander.

KOVALOV: Everyone behaved professionally. There was no provocation from either side.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Kovalov says he went with the soldiers as they were taken deeper into Russian occupied Ukraine.

KOVALOV: We have shown that these communication bridges work. The main thing is the desire of people to hear each other and go towards each other.

Still, not everything is lost in this life; you can still be a human. Even at war.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Kovalov tells us that he continues to try to work on bringing home those remaining fighters who are at Azovstal. He says,

they're around 2000 who are still being held in Russia or Russian held territories. And for his work in Mariupol, the head of Ukrainian military

intelligence wrote a commendation letter to Parliament praising Kovalov for his important and invaluable help in ending the siege at Azovstal. Alex

Marquardt, CNN, Lviv.


ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And after two consecutive nights of mass protests,

Georgia's Parliament officially withdrew a controversial foreign influence bill that would have required some organizations receiving foreign funding

to register as foreign agents who critics say would curtail basic freedoms.

The United Nations has bought a large crude character, carrier to offload a million barrels of oil from the decaying FSO safer. This rusting super

tanker has been anchored off the coast of Yemen. For more than 30 years it hasn't been maintained since 2015.

Due to the war in Yemen raising fears of a possible oil spill or an explosion that would have caused a massive environmental disaster and

Turkey formally said presidential and parliamentary elections for May the 14th. The vote could extend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 20-year role.

Mr. Erdogan today said the focus of the campaign season will be on healing the wounds of those affected by last month's devastating earthquake. Well,

in the 20 years since former U.S. President George Bush announced an emergency plan to fight the HIV AIDS epidemic. Amazing progress has been

made; people who would have died are now living normal lives. But as David McKenzie reports from South Africa, the fight is not over.


DAVID MCKENZIE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When you started taking the medication did you start feeling better straightaway or

it took a long time?

PHILISANDE DAYAMANI, 14 YEARS OLD: I feel better straightaway.

MCKENZIE (voice over): It's an epidemic that many have forgotten.

DAYAMANI: It wasn't easy for me to accept. Many people cry when they hear but their status--

MCKENZIE (voice over): Philisande's young life up ended when she tested positive for HIV last year. Years ago, her mother died of suspected aids.

DAYAMANI: I first cried. I started crying. Then what eventually happened, I knew that I have to take my pills. These are the most important ones.

MCKENZIE (on camera): And they're easy to take?

DAYAMANI: They are so easy. Looking higher, but taking pills.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Lifesaving antiretroviral drugs that you will take for a lifetime.

DAYAMANI: I got a free press.

MCKENZIE (on camera): How do you feel about that?

DAYAMANI: I feel normal. That's part of life.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Part of life for nearly 6 million South Africans on treatment. The country still has the highest HIV burden in the world,

people who could otherwise die living normal lives. It's an extraordinary public health achievement.

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Many hospitals tell people, you've got AIDS. We can't help you. Go home and die. In an age of miraculous

medicines, no person should have to hear those words.

MCKENZIE (voice over): 20 years ago, President George W. Bush announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR. The region was in

crisis. In the hardest hit areas, the virus was seen as a death sentence. Because that often was, life expectancy dropped by 20 years, child deaths

had tripled. Multiple generations were at risk.

BUSH: Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.



MCKENZIE (voice over): John Blandford, CDC's Director in South Africa has been HIV positive since the mid-80s on antiretroviral pills since the 90s.

BLANDFORD: Despite the fact that we had highly effective therapies starting in 1996 that were but were largely available in Western Europe in the

United States. And so, the challenge was then getting the effective drugs, lifesaving drugs, to the places where they were needed most.

MCKENZIE (voice over): And in those regions, PEPFAR saved more than 25 million lives. Like 64-year-old --, who's been on treatment for 10 years.

If you have faith in the pills, they will work for you, he says, you'll start to get sick if you skip the treatment. But public health officials

say that the AIDS epidemic is at a crossroads.

Infection rates among men who have sex with men and young women remained stubbornly high. So, these groups have been a special focus. And globally,

more than 600,000 people still die of AIDS, despite wide access to prevention and treatment that can save their lives and stop the spread of


MCKENZIE (on camera): A lot of the world has sort of forgotten about HIV, but you haven't forgotten.


MCKENZIE (on camera): Why?

MOSHABESHA: We haven't forgotten we still have people who are dying of HIV. Yes, it's not that big as, as bigger numbers we have seen it before. We

still see HIV impacting lives of people in the household. We see children who are still born with HIV, we still see young people still being exposed

to HIV because of issues of vulnerability. So, we can't forget it.

DAYAMANI: It's a very big risk, like for person to take a medication if they're HIV positive. And also, not to be sure that they are not HIV

positive and they have to go test. It's a very risky thing.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Why is it risky?

DAYAMANI: Because a person can die without knowing what killed them.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Philisande wants to become a doctor, or a singer. The burden she has to carry is one no child should carry. But in the next

20 years, with enough well, this virus can be beaten. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


ANDERSON: We were hoping to bring you an interview with the former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan this hour, but as he was trying to

connect, he said his internet was jammed by the police. So, we will try and bring you that interview another time. Coming up, ending our show on a high

note. I sit down with the founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival as it celebrates a very special milestone. Stay tuned to find out what that



ANDERSON: Well, let's see Super Bowl of movies. The 95th Academy Awards happen this Sunday March the 12th. Hollywood's A listers of course will be

hoping to hold one of these golden statues what are these, I thought it was going to come up on the back wall anyway.


Which weighs around 3.8 kilograms some of the movies contending for best picture are Elvis, Tar and the nostalgic Top Gun Maverick also, gaining a

lot of attention as Brendan Fraser has returned to Hollywood rolling whale in which he snagged a Best Actor nomination?

Of course, we can't talk about the Oscars, without mentioning "The Elephant in the Room". The Will Smith Chris Rock slap that was heard around the

globe last year well, this year's host is Jimmy Kimmel, and he tells us he is ready for anything, even another slap.

Some say that art is not what you see, but rather what you make others see. For the past 20 years, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation have been

bringing to stage world renowned artists for the audience to feast their eyes and ears on.

From symphonies to ballets, the annual Abu Dhabi festival showcases local and international talent. And I caught up with the foundation's driving

force. Its founder Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo to reflect on the past two decades and the two that is to come.

HUDA ALKHAMIS-KANOO, FOUNDER, ABU DHABI MUSIC & ARTS FOUNDATION: To the Abu Dhabi Festival, the festival will people need, where the stages are open

for epics, infants, for exceptional and spectacular performance, from music to the Performing Arts in all its form, from ballet to the dance, to all

the dance the contemporary dance to now we have the flamenco with --Maria Parker's one of the legends of the world.

ANDERSON: The art scene here 20 years ago was sort of less than nascent to a certain extent. That's not to suggest that there weren't a much embedded

local arts and culture scene. But it's been bringing the international scene into the UAE, hasn't it. Just how challenging was it?

ALKHAMIS-KANOO: So not only I had, I didn't have the infrastructure that we have today. I needed to convince you for this new idea to come on board and

establish after the festival and the foundation. And not only that, take your money to do so.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the very special Grammy nominated commission from last year's festival. Symphony of three, peace, love and tolerance it

was as I understand it, inspired by the Abrahamic Family Health interfaith complex that's opened this month here in Abu Dhabi.

ALKHAMIS-KANOO: He hadn't reach and he might have to composer, and they call him a visionary in Marathi composer. He had the risk, came to me and

he said, Mrs. Kanoo, can you support me in producing the symphony of three inspired by the Abrahamic house? And I said, wonderful, how we're going to

do it.

And he goes; I'm going to do it with three great composers and producers. And it was David Shire, John Debney and Robert Toussaint as producer, and

they are Grammy Award winner and Oscar award winner. And it wasn't hard. That's very challenging. Are you ready?

And he said Mrs. Kanoo, would you support together and we move together. And the Abrahamic symphony is just a witness of all our efforts. And the

beauty of it extends for peace, for love, for coexistence, for tolerance, with for movement, beautiful movement, love, peace, and tolerance. More

than 350 musicians came together from every single part of this world one purpose, peace and love. It's exceptional coming from Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: When you look back on the last 20 years in the body of work, that you have supported, what are your reflections? Did you ever genuinely

believe that the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival would be what it is today?


And what are your hopes and aspirations for the next 20 years?

ALKHAMIS-KANOO: For me, the future starts now. So, aspirations and hopes are now, I work now for not to compromise, every opportunity possible, open

it to, open the door, unite, cooperate, discover, let opportunities for new works. Did I ever dream or think that this is what the festival would look

like? I don't know Becky. I don't think so.

You know, all what I'm thinking was to do, what I could do at the moment, when I established up Derby festival, connect open doors, in bed, and

indeed like incubator for the young musicians for the young artists. Not only the young, they established a place that we can support new works.

ANDERSON: That's it from us tonight. See you Monday.