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Biden Marks 25th Anniversary of Good Friday Peace Deal; Northern Ireland Currently without Government; Ukraine: War Crimes Probe into Apparent Beheading Video; CNN Speaks to Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister; CNN Granted Access to Holy Site at Heart of Conflict; Prince Harry will attend King Charles' Coronation. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 12, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson. It is 7 pm and Dubai. Hello and welcome to "Connect the
World". Peace and economic opportunity go together those words of U.S. President Joe Biden saluting a milestone anniversary for the Good Friday
This comes as Mr. Biden made a historic visit to Northern Ireland. Some observer's hivers say his time in Belfast felt a bit brief. After a short
meeting there earlier with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Mr. Biden gave a speech marking a quarter century of the peace deal that ended a
violent era known as the troubles take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEO BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thousands of families have been affected by the troubles. Losses are real. The pain was personal.
I need not to tell many people in this audience. Every person killed in the troubles left an empty chair at the dining room table, a hole in the heart
that was never filled for the ones the last. Peace was not inevitable. We can't ever forget that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: CNN's Senior International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson knows the Northern Ireland story really well. He's been covering it for 30 years,
and joins us now with the view from Belfast. Great to see you, Nic! You come with a lot of historical context in terms of how long this has taken
off far Ireland has come.
This is quite a significant visit by President Joe Biden. But what do you make of the goals that he says that he wants to attain and he's talking
about the Windsor Agreement as well as the Irish courts.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He did. He spoke about the 25 years of peace and the way to build on peace was through
business. And this is what he said the United States was coming with a commitment to help ensure the peace here but bringing his envoy to Northern
Ireland Joe Kennedy has a specific remit to try to help businesses here.
President Biden talking about a huge number of U.S. businesses that want to invest in Northern Ireland said the economy here had almost doubled in the
past 25 years. He said that it could triple in the coming years.
So there was that aspiration side of it. But I think where the President wanted to push the narrative forward was that bit where he spoke about the
importance of the Good Friday Agreement, the importance of the institutions the power sharing government that it created, and the importance of that
power sharing government to be up and running.
And it isn't at the moment, and it isn't because the main Unionist Party, the Democratic Unionist Party here doesn't think that the Windsor framework
and the out flowing, if you will, of Brexit are done to their satisfaction.
So the President knew that he had, you know, difficult diplomatic tightrope to walk here because the perception on the Unionist side is too pro-Irish,
he doesn't care for their pro Unionist, British sentiments.
But he was at pains the President was at pains to point out is English ancestry because everyone and he do talk about his Irish roots. So I think
there was an effort there to appeal to the other side. But he was never going to come in here to try to pressure the Democratic Unionist Party
because he clearly had been advised that to do that would just backfire.
So this was as far as he could go with his language today in trying to persuade them that was the way forward to get back into the power sharing
GIOKOS: All right Nic Robertson, thank you so much for joining us. Well, the Head of Sinn Fein, which is Ireland's Nationalist Republican Party,
dedicated to the unification reunification of Ireland tweeted saying 25 years on farm the Good Friday Agreement.
Political leaders now owe it to a new generation to recapture the spirit and determination of 1998. We owe it to our children to overcome our
differences and to make progress happen. The DUP boycotts of government must end last year.
Sinn Fein came under the strongest political party in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, which means Mary Lou McDonald will likely become the next
Prime Minister of Ireland. Mary Lou McDonald joins me now live from Dublin. Great to have you join us today.
President Joe Biden is now in Dublin however, his trip to the North was certainly shorter than planned and I'm sure perhaps a few months ago, it
was thought that Northern Assembly would be up and running. Is his visit there a wasted opportunity would you say?
MARY LOU MCDONALD, SINN FEIN PRESIDENT: Well, absolutely not. I mean President Biden is most welcome to Ireland. We feel that we are welcoming
him home. He's been in County today.
I know that we will meet him in Dublin. Tomorrow, he'll travelled to the west to Mayo, and certainly retrace his roots and he was in Belfast earlier
on. So there's a very, very warm welcome for President Biden a huge acknowledgement of the critical role that the United States has played over
That critical role played by the Clinton Administration, the subsequent administrations in delivering and building peace here in Ireland. And of
course, I am very disappointed that as President Biden visits to mark this momentous achievement of a quarter of a century of peace that the DUP
continue their boycott of government in Belfast.
I think that is a missed opportunity. And I think is a shame I would have liked nothing better than to see President Biden address the assembly in
Belfast to be greeted by Michelle O'Neill, my Sinn Fein colleague as First Minister.
But look, we need to get past these difficulties. I think it needs to be clear to everybody that there are challenges for us but enormous
opportunities. I want us to grasp them collectively and I believe we can do it.
GIOKOS: OK. But Mary, I want to -- because you mentioned the DUP and also Jeffrey Donaldson said that the speech in Northern Ireland would alter a
broken political environment in the region. What do you think it's going to take for the DUP to get back to power sharing?
MCDONALD: Well I mean, the DUP remember campaigned for Brexit. And now the DUP cried the saltiest tears about the consequences of Brexit. I mean, it
was always clear that Brexit would be bad for Ireland that it was going to cause us a huge problem.
That we would have to find protections for the peace for the Good Friday Peace Accord for the all-Ireland economy and a huge amount of work has been
done by the European authorities, and others to secure all of that. And now the negotiation is over.
I mean, the British government has said that the European authorities have said that all of us accept that, and now we need to get back to work. It's
as simple really, as that unionism in Ireland knows as well as--
GIOKOS: You mentioned that you'll be seeing President Biden tomorrow. I'm curious what you're going to be talking to him about. But also, I have to
mention that, you know, in recent opinion polls, you're now clearly the most popular party in Ireland. How confident are you that you will be
Ireland's first Female Prime Minister after the next general election?
MCDONALD: Well, of course, that will be down to the Irish electorate and I am long enough in political life to know that to be presumptuous is a very,
very dangerous thing. I am however, very hopeful that I will lead Sinn Fein into government for the first time in Dublin after the next election.
I currently am the leader of the opposition here. It's the first time Sinn Fein has led the opposition in Dublin, and the first time that a woman has
led the opposition in the Irish Parliament. So the omens and the signs are good.
But we have a huge amount of work left to do and not least, for me, a huge challenge is to get government back up and running in the north. And I will
take the opportunity again, as when I meet with President Biden, just to say and to reassure him.
That we are working hard on that and really to acknowledge and thank him, his administration and so many others across our political life in the
United States, and for the ongoing support, particularly during Brexit. It's been a very steadying and a very, very, very influential factor in
GIOKOS: Well, in the last hour, I spoke with Micheal Martin, the current Foreign Minister of Ireland and he had this to say by joining Sinn Fein in
government, I want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We want to align with parties with likeminded views, particularly on the economy and enterprise and on the
European Union and international issues. And Sinn Fein has policies that are very significantly at variance with ours on all of those fronts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: So you have varying views with what Michael Martin is talking about. But he also said something else. He said, in respect of Northern
Ireland and what they did they need to address the legacy issues and to give proper closure to the families of victims of IRA violence in the past.
What is your response to this?
MCDONALD: Well look, on the wider policy issues of course, we have policy differences. And I could recite for you I won't, but I could recite for you
the many, many failures of Michael Martin's party and government over a very long period of time.
But the people the Irish electorate will adjudicate that on dealing with the legacy of the past. I agree with me, Michael Martin, that there is
still a road to be traveled to bring truth, to bring some comfort and sense of justice to victims and survivors of the troubles across the community,
including those that were hurt, harmed and injured by the IRA.
But just remember, many years ago, an agreement was reached between all of the parties on this island as to what those mechanisms would look like. And
the British government came in sighted national security and put a stop to the whole lot. So I not the issue here and Sinn Fein is not the issue in
terms of reaching closure and justice for victims.
The problem has been and remains the British government and in fact, they're bringing legislation through their own parliament, to grant an
amnesty to British soldiers, British agents and their proxies most unhelpful a move that's been condemned domestically and internationally.
But by human rights experts and groups, by academics, by everyone and anyone, and yet they persist with that. But there is an excellent issue in
terms of how we deal with the Brexit. I absolutely accept that it's a sensitive issue. And it's one that we shouldn't play petty political
GIOKOS: And you seem to have alignment on that policy. But Michael also accuses you, of Sinn Fein of being anti-enterprise. What do you think of
that? And are you in essence, anti-enterprise?
MCDONALD: Well, on the contrary, I mean, that's nonsense. And in some ways, you know, I have some sympathy for Michael Martin for the parties of kind
of the old establishment because they are really, really struggling to understand much less to manage, or get ahead of the extent of change,
generational change that's happening in Iran.
And so they play out these tropes again, and again. I mean, I want my country, our country to prosper. I want people to have good jobs. I want
innovators to innovate. I want us to lead on research and development. I'm a Dubliner and our city now is now a hub of international talent.
We are a young population, the youngest in Europe. We have sky high productivity rates. I want people to have good jobs, and good lives a good
standard of living. And for all of that to happen, you have to have a thriving enterprise space. So we will look to build that enhance in ways
GIOKOS: This is quite an important. This is quite important in terms of, you know, economic prosperity big talk about a referendum on Northern
Ireland and whether that's going to be held soon. What your timeline is? What are you looking at as realistic?
MCDONALD: Well, I think the most important thing is that the preparation for a peaceful, orderly democratic transition needs to start now and I've
made this point to Michael Martin to his colleague, Leo Varadkar, who's currently the -- Prime Minister.
That really that preparation needs to start now. There will be no prize for those that bury their head in the sand. I want the transition back to Irish
unity, to be orderly, planned, peaceful, wholly democratic, I believe it can happen.
The referendums can happen in this decade. I believe that the momentum for change and the appetite for the opportunities that present themselves to us
is just enormous, but I also know that we need to talk to each other.
We need a very open, inclusive engagement right across Irish society, north and south, east and west. And I look forward to that. You know, sometimes
you'll hear people talk about change in Ireland and Irish reunification as almost like a zero sum game winners loser.
And one side prevailing of the other, I don't see it like that. All I see is common opportunity for our children, for our grandchildren for the next
generation. This is an extraordinary island with extraordinary people, and extraordinary talent base extraordinary natural resources.
And because we are partition still, almost more than a century now our island has been divided. You know, we're not reaching our full potential,
but we can. And I believe there is a generations of people now who have an appetite for that. And I am so excited to be a political leader at this
time and at this point in our history.
GIOKOS: OK, we ran out of time. Very briefly, I know that you've maintained correspondence with King Charles, and even met him after the passing of
Queen Elizabeth. Have you been invited to his coronation and would you attend if so?
MCDONALD: Well, no I haven't -- I don't expect that I'm the leader of the opposition. I'm not head of government here. But I wish him well, on that
occasion. I know it'll be a very important day for so many people, obviously, across Britain, but here in Ireland, as well as those who have a
real sense of loyalty to the monarchy. So it will be a big occasion for them.
GIOKOS: Mary Lou McDonald, thank you very much for your time great to have you on the show. Much appreciate for your time.
MCDONALD: Thanks so much, my pleasure!
GIOKOS: All right, I also spoke with Irish Foreign Minister and Former Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin about a range of issues ranging from climate
change to Ukraine. And we will be showing that interview a little bit later on the show.
Well, Chinese military exercises have Taiwan on -- just ahead, we'll have a live report on the growing tensions and Taiwan's vowed to defend itself.
GIOKOS: New Chinese military exercises over Taiwan on edge. Taiwan's Foreign Minister says those exercises indicate China is getting ready to
launch a war. Taiwan's Defense Ministry has condemned actions the Chinese military has taken around the island.
Officials there have said Taiwan does not want to escalate the conflict but will defend itself. CNN's Chief U.S. Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto
joins us now from Washington. Major worries coming through from Taiwan after these military exercises take us through the latest.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. And listen clearly Taiwan is taking them very seriously. Taiwanese officials have
noted to me that these exercises envisioned a joint strike operation against the island air land and sea attacks in fact, an invasion.
So they look at that operation, and they see more than symbolism. They see genuine military preparations. So when I asked the Foreign Minister
directly do they see this as preparations for war his answer showed that concern, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH WU, TAIWANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: I look at military exercises and also the referee. There seems to be trying to get ready to launch a war
against Taiwan. But if we look at the UN Charter, the most fundamental tenet in resolving international disputes should be through peaceful means.
And Beijing's way of handling the differences between Taiwan and China is through coercion, military threat, and the threat to use force against
Taiwan. And these are unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Of course, Taiwan is watching the signals and the statements from other leaders. He repeatedly noted that the U.S. has been very supportive
and noted U.S. weapons ongoing weapons sales, though he emphasized repeatedly that Taiwan considers its own responsibility to defend itself.
One other thing I mentioned Eleni, as you'll remember the flap from the French President Emmanuel Macron's comments after he met the Chinese
President Xi Jinping seeming to indicate in an interview that France would not want to get involved in any conflict not be drawn into a conflict
between the U.S. and China over Taiwan. I did ask the Foreign Minister about those French comments. And he told me that Taiwan has reached out to
the French government for clarification.
GIOKOS: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much for that update. Great to see you! Well, what will happen next between China and Taiwan and what
will be the global response? For the latest in the military movements and ongoing tension in Taiwan, stay updated. You can look @cnn.com.
Ukraine's security service has opened a war crimes investigation after gruesome videos emerged online, one is set to show a Russian fighter
beheading Ukrainian soldier. The other purports to show the headless bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers next to a destroyed a military vehicle. CNN is
not showing the videos because they are too disturbing.
But we did freeze some of their contents to show who the victims and perpetrators may be. And here you can see the white leg, that the white leg
band that indicates support for the Russian military. The stills to be released show the yellow armband worn by Ukraine's military.
Well CNN's Ben Wedeman is in eastern Ukraine. Ben thanks so much for joining us! These videos just too horrifying terrific to even look at but
what more can you tell us about what they depict and show?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are two videos that emerged today on pro-Russian social media channels. Now one of
them appears to be having been shot around this time of year it's believed in the area of Bakhmut, what you see is the beheaded corpses of two
Ukrainian soldiers next to a destroyed military vehicle. And it also appears that their hands were cut off as well.
You hear in that video, somebody say they killed them. Someone came up to them; they came up to them and cut their heads off. Now CNN can't confirm
the location where this happened. Now the second video appears to have been shot. We believe in the summer, its location also unclear what you see
there and it's somewhat blurred that video.
But what you do see is a soldier appears to be a Russian cutting the head with a knife off of a Ukrainian soldier. And it appears that from this
video that the Ukrainian soldier was alive when the knife started to slit his throat. Clearly the Ukrainians are enraged at these videos of the
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying that how easily these beasts killed.
Now the Kremlin we heard from Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, the chief spokesman there saying describing the video as terrible. But he says the
authenticity of the video has yet to be ascertained. Now Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Head of the private military company, Wagner Group, who many people
believe may have been involved in these atrocities has said that there's nothing in the videos that indicate that his men were involved.
But Eleni, it's important to keep in mind that this isn't the first time such atrocities have happened in this war. It wasn't long ago that there
was video circulating of Russian soldiers killing a Ukrainian prisoner in cold blood, Eleni?
GIOKOS: All right. Ben Wedeman, thank you so much. Well defense ministers from both Ukraine and Spain on denying allegations that emerge from leaked
Pentagon documents which say NATO troops are fighting against Russian forces within Ukraine.
Madrid insists the claims are totally false. This all comes as the U.S. defense secretary has been meeting Ukraine's prime minister at the Pentagon
over the past couple of hours. Let's head straight there and speak to Natasha Bertrand, with the very latest. Natasha, the leaked documents
creating a lot of concern, many questions raised and actually, frankly, quite a few denials. Take us through what we've heard.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's right Eleni. So notably, one of the things here that the Ukrainian prime minister asked
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for when he arrived here this morning, were those F-15, F-16 fighter jets as well as long range missiles. And the
secretary of defense would not really comment on those requests directly, instead saying that the U.S. was going to continue to ramp up its
production of relevant weapons.
But I think that against the backdrop of these leaks that request is very interesting, because in one of these documents that we have reported on, in
fact, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is overheard by U.S. eavesdroppers telling his advisers that he wants to strike inside of Russia.
And that has been one of the main fears that the U.S. has had about giving the Ukrainians these kinds of long-range weapons is that the Ukrainians
will then use them to attack inside Russian territory. Now, the Ukrainians have said repeatedly that they would not use long range U.S. weapons and
U.S. provided equipment writ large to strike inside Russia. But obviously this is part of really what's driving the U.S. reluctance to send them that
kind of gear.
Now, we're also hearing, of course, from allies who are saying that a lot of what is in these leaked documents is not accurate, and also that it can,
it could contain some disinformation. It is not our understanding that these documents are in authentic; we are told that they are part of a
larger, daily briefing that is provided to senior Pentagon leaders here, but that at least one of them has been doctored.
And that is one that shows Russian and Ukrainian casualty figures in the war. One of the documents has an estimate that is a lot lower of Russian
casualties than what the Pentagon has actually assessed here. So, there are some questions about how the U.S. is smoothing this over with allies,
including with the Ukrainians.
Obviously, there is a high-level meeting happening today between the Ukrainian PM and the Secretary of Defense. But a lot of these documents do
expose some very sensitive information about Ukraine's military operations that the Ukrainians definitely did not want to be out there, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, Natasha, you know, with regards to these leaked documents, creating, you know, a bit of a flurry, I think, globally with, you know,
the information that has been contained, do we know anything more in terms of a lot of the crisis management work that the U.S. has had to do over
BERTRAND: Well, they've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes, there have been a flurry of phone calls between the secretary of defense and some
of his allies, including in South Korea and Israel to try to smooth things over here. Because as we saw, some of those documents do have some pretty
explosive allegations about things that U.S. allies are doing, including one that said that Egypt was considering sending up to 40,000 rockets to
The U.S., between the White House and the Pentagon and the State Department, they have been really doing damage control over the last six
days or so trying to ensure allies that their secrets are safe, and that their national security is not compromised. But according to our sources,
the allies are also very willing to try to help the U.S. in any way they can try to figure out how this happened.
And that is really the bulk of what the U.S. is doing right now as well. The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation; there are
investigations within the Pentagon to try to figure out how this happened. For now, though, the allies, you know, some of them are releasing public
statements saying that they are categorically denying the allegations in this intelligence.
But the U.S. trying to reassure them, that their partnership is still solid, and that they should continue to share intelligence we'll see
whether those allies of course continue to do that as robustly, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Right, Natasha Bertrand, great to see you. Thank you. Well, still to come, my interview with Ireland's former Prime Minister and current
Foreign Minister Micheal Martin. What he said about the war in Ukraine and the tensions between China and the U.S. He also spoke about Middle East
tensions will take you inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, a place of peace and prayer that recently became a flashpoint of violence.
GIOKOS: U.S. President Joe Biden is in the Republic of Ireland after making historic visit to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good
Friday peace agreement. The peace plan was brokered by the U.S. in 1998, ending three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland. Mr. Biden is meeting
with American embassy staff in Dublin.
He's also stopping at the place where his great, great, great, great grandfather grew up. Earlier I spoke with Ireland's Foreign Affairs
Minister about the challenges Europe is facing. Want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We're militarily neutral insofar as we're not part of the military alliance, we're not politically neutral. And
we have welcomed, for example, over 70,000 Ukrainians to Ireland as refugees. That's about 1.5 percent of our population. So, we've I think,
responded very significantly from a humanitarian perspective, and also through the European peace facility fund, which facilitates the funding of
military and non-military support to Ukraine.
And we've been one of the strongest advocates for Ukraine membership of the European Union. In terms of the broader issue of, of modern-day security
threats and challenges, I am initiating a national conversation in Ireland on broader Irish foreign policy, the security challenges of today and
And how best as a country, we should respond to that in line with Ireland's traditional position of military non-alignment, both politically,
obviously, with shared values. And fundamentally, we're committed to a rules based international order.
GIOKOS: I want to get your reaction of what we've seen unfold between Israelis and Palestinians of late. We saw Israeli police storming the Al
Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It caused international outrage. But what is your response to what you saw?
MARTIN: I'm very, very concerned by with what I see, and a number of like- minded countries in Europe are as well. I think the composition of the current Israeli government is problematic, there's a far-right dimension to
it, which is leading to radical policies that in themselves are contributing to destabilizing the situation.
We condemn violence on all sides. We favor a two-state solution. But it seems to me that the direction of travel of the Israeli government is in
such a direction now that it's making that two state solution, almost unviable. And that is a really concern for us. We think what's happening at
the Al-Aqsa mosque is wrong.
And there should be de-escalation there in terms of -- and the status quo must be allowed to prevail. And also, it's clear that there's been a higher
level of violence now in the occupied territories over the last year and indeed in the first number of months of this year than we've seen for quite
GIOKOS: Are you worried is Ireland worried about the actions that the government is taking and what this could mean?
MARTIN: We are very worried by those actions. We are always concerned when the separation of powers and democracy are not fully respected. I do take
heart from the very strong civic society response within Israel, to the measures that were contemplated by the government, in respect of the
judiciary. And I think that was happening.
And it did speak to the power of civil society, civic society within Israel itself, which is strength, and that should be acknowledged. However, it
seems to me that Israeli government policy has had a consistent thread of marginalizing moderation within Palestine, undermining the Palestinian
And rather giving soccer indirectly, maybe unintentionally, but giving soccer nonetheless, to the more radical elements of the more
fundamentalist, and hence we get far greater violence and instability as a result. I failed to detect a coherent strategy in terms of the Palestinian
question; we favor a two-state solution. And we believe that is the only way that this issue can have a sustainable future and ultimately get
GIOKOS: You've recently met with Wang Yi, top Chinese diplomat. And look, there are major concerns in terms of what we're seeing between China and
the U.S. major tech tensions there. We have seen China meeting with top diplomats from around the world and leaders, how are you balancing? What
you're doing right now between getting into a new market, keeping a healthy relationship with China versus the U.S. agenda?
MARTIN: Well, I think we were very mindful of what is occurring. And I think one important benchmark for us is adherence to the rules-based order
to internationally, to international organizations and institutions. But also, particularly as members of the European Union, reflecting on the
nature and future dynamic of the relationship between China and the European Union.
And I think the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen last week did articulate a fairly comprehensive position in terms of de-risking, but
not de-leveraging, I think aren't has exports significantly to China. But our main economic thrust has always been Europe and the United States.
We're very clear about that.
But we're a global economic player in the sense that we export all over the world in terms of our products and services. And we want to see dialogue,
we want to see continue engagement. I am concerned about the polarization that is currently occurring within the world. That is not good.
But we have to be really realistic sorry, in respect of what is happening in terms of greater assertiveness on behalf of China at one level and also
in terms of the its relationship with both the United States and with Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Alright, that was Micheal Martin, Island's Foreign Affairs Minister. Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our
radar right now. Armenia and Azerbaijan are accusing each other of opening fire near the contested region of Nagorno Karabakh. Both sides say several
of these soldiers were killed in what each are calling a provocation Armenia and Azerbaijan of former soviet states, they've been battling over
the region for decades.
In Mexico, the Attorney General has opened criminal proceedings against top migration officials over the deadly blaze at a migrant detention center.
Charges were brought against the head of the National Institutes of Migration and another official. They are accused of failing to protect and
provide security to people under their charge.
At least 133 people have now died after Myanmar's Giunta bombed a township in a central region of the country. That's according to an official from
the asteroid shadow government. The Giunta insists it was targeting terrorists and that a large explosion was caused by explosives at the site.
Now CNN was granted permission to report from the holy site that's at the heart of a conflict in Jerusalem. We'll take you inside Al Aqsa Mosque.
GIOKOS: A tense calm right now at one of the world's holiest sites, the Israeli government is banning non-Muslims from the sacred area Jews called
the Temple Mount known to Muslims as Haram Al Sharif until the end of Ramadan. The area includes Al Aqsa Mosque, which Israeli police raided
twice last week. Salma Abdelaziz has this rare look for us inside the mosque.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A delicate balance that governs in binds this holy site is under strength. My producer and I both
Muslim born were granted access to film at the Al Aqsa compound by the custodians of the site. Only Muslims are allowed to pray here, under a
long-standing status quo arrangement that worshippers tell us is slowly being eroded. Non-Muslims can visit the complex during certain hours.
I feel pain true pain inside this woman tells me this is a place of worship not a place for occupation or for provocation. This is what she means.
While we speak, a group of largely Jewish visitors passes by the mosque under police escort. The women demonstrate by reciting the Quran louder and
louder. This mountaintop is revered by Jews to, they call it Temple Mount.
A growing movement of Jewish extremist is demanding to perform prayers here that could upend the status quo. We witnessed at least two men praying as
police stand by. We've seen several small groups like this of non-Muslim worshippers passing through the complex as Muslims continue to pray inside
the mosque. This is where the friction is. This is where the controversy lies.
Jordan is the custodian of the grounds. But that role is becoming increasingly symbolic, experts say because it is Israel that controls the
security checks at entry points and therefore access. The director general of Al Aqsa sees the increasing visits of Jewish extremists under police
escort as a provocation.
I see these visits as an attack on our holy site, he tells me and I warn the Government of Israel to stay away from Al Aqsa mosque because any
violation here drags down the entire region. And there are tons at the gates, small groups of Jewish radicals seeing the temple will be built a
reference to a far-right fringe call to build a Third Temple on the sacred grounds.
Prime Minister Netanyahu insists he is committed to keeping the status quo, but under his government, the most far right in Israel's history. Extremist
voices are growing louder and stronger. All this makes an already extremely contentious place ever more of a tinderbox. One event here can and has
sparked deadly cycles of violence across the region. Al Aqsa is seen as a political symbol as well as a religious one by the Arab world.
The complex lies in the heart of East Jerusalem, which most of the international community considers to be under Israeli occupation, but which
Israel sees as part of its united capital. Al Aqsa is our life. It is the breath we breathe, he says, it is an ideology that we carry in our minds.
We enter the Dome of the Rock, an area designated for women to witness the afternoon prayer, some go to great lengths to get here, passing multiple
checkpoints, but they tell us they find some peace when they arrive.
Of course, I don't feel safe, she tells me and everything can change in an instant. So, I'm always scared. But I'm here because I have faith in God.
This prayer passed peacefully, as most do. But here even quiet worship is not a guarantee. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN Jerusalem.
GIOKOS: Well, the tense situation in Jerusalem has been building for months, years really. Read all about it in our newsletter "Meanwhile in the
Middle East" we have extensive analysis from Jerusalem and all around the region. And you can find it at cnn.com/middleeast newsletter or scan the QR
code that's on your screen right now.
Italy is now in a state of emergency a measurement to help it deal with a huge rise in the number of migrants coming to the country. Since the
government issued the declaration on Tuesday, two more boats each carrying around 400 migrants have been spotted in the Mediterranean.
The Italian coast guard was already escorting two other disabled migrant boats to safety. Want to take us straight to Barbie Nadeau, who is in Rome
for us a state of emergency declared. Give me a sense of what we're seeing on the ground and two more boats discovered.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, those two boats with the Italian coast guard were accompanying have arrived one in Sicily with
around 800 people and another one in Calabria with around 400 people on it. Those boats were serious, you know, states of disrepair let's say they
weren't very seaworthy, but they have arrived safely.
These other two boats, as far as we know, from the NGOs that keep an eye on these things have not been, there's been no operation of rescue that has
been started on that yet. But of course, this comes on the back of this state of emergency and we're hearing a little bit of criticism. Italy's arm
of the Amnesty International criticized it, saying that they didn't think using the word emergency with migrant was very good for public opinion,
especially a year like this when so many people are arriving.
And you know, it's very, it's kind of up in the air, what it means in terms of the civil protection and what they're going to be able to do. It's going
to be easier to expel people to repatriate people to not maybe give them the chance that asylum that a lot of people might have expected when making
that risking their lives coming across here.
So, it's a little bit up in the air. We haven't seen, you know; let's say a lot of acceptance from the humanitarian rights groups, but these boats just
keep coming. This is year we've seen four times more people arriving this time of the year than we have in years past. And right now, usually April,
May, is when the boats start to arrive. This is when we're seeing the calmer weather.
So, this puts a lot of pressure on this government under Giorgia Meloni who won last September on an anti-immigration stance. She promised, she want
promising to stop those from arriving, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, Barbie Nadeau thank you for that update. Well, coming up Prince Harry is expected to be there to support his father King Charles on
his big day next month. Well, Harry's family tag along for the coronation. All that is coming up plus, Twitter CEO has some advice for him when it
comes to tweeting.
GIOKOS: Some new figures from the U.S. government show inflation is still cooling. The Consumer Price Index revealed that prices in March fell for
the ninth month in a row notably grocery prices were down for the first time since September of 2020 during the heart of the pandemic.
The index is an important gauge for the Federal Reserve as it tries to tame inflation by raising interest rates. Well, Twitter's owner Elon Musk has
made some deep cuts to the social media platform since taking it over last year. In a rare interview, Musk touches on what it's been like as an 80
percent of his staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hasn't been hard letting that many people go.
ELON MUSK, CEO, TWITTER: Yes. Not fun at all. It's painful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any regrets for buying Twitter?
MUSK: My team was something that needed to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you said earlier that -- -
MUSK: It's difficult you know, as I say that, like the pain level of Twitter has been extremely high. So hasn't been some sort of party. So,
it's been really quiet a stressful situation you know, for last several months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: NPR just announced that they are suspending its use Twitter after they slapped the radio broadcaster with a controversial new label called
state affiliated media which is akin to propaganda outlets. NPR calls the label unacceptable as they are publicly funded by listeners.
Well, Buckingham Palace confirms Prince Harry will attend the coronation of his father King Charles III. It is set to take place next month at
Westminster Abbey in London. Harry will be attending solo, his wife Meghan will remain in California with a couple's two children.
The news comes after months of uncertainty over whether or not the pair would attend the coronation due to the fallout over their Netflix
documentary and Harry's bombshell memoir Spare. CNNs Royal Historian, Kate Williams joins us now live from Wales.
Kate, great to see you! I think we've all been asking that question in some way, you know, is Harry going to attend the coronation? And here it is. But
I guess many people are going to be asking why Meghan will not be attending. What are you reading into this?
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Harry is coming, we've heard today it was announced by Buckingham Palace at three o'clock that Harry was going to
come but Meghan would not come. She'd remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. Of course, it is Archie's birthday on May the
sixth. We understand that that's played into the decision.
But certainly, as you say, Eleni, there's been this endless controversy will Harry come? Will Meghan come? What's going to go on? And there was
actually a lot of people saying that they thought Harry and Meghan wouldn't even be invited, which I thought was, I mean, just ridiculous considering
that Harry is the king's son.
But it is clear that Harry and Meghan have been invited, but only Harry is coming. That's obviously going to be the case. It's only Harry. And we
understand that also it's going to be quite a short how he's just going to kind of pop in and out. He's not staying for all the extra banquets and all
the extra meet-ups before, so it's going to be a real flying visit from Harry to come around.
And so, I think that really what we're seeing here is that Harry is coming to this major event of his father's coronation. But he is not; it's not
going to be a family reunion. We're not going to see lots of big family meet-ups. Certainly, there has been damage done.
GIOKOS: If that's breaking news, you should answer the call case. You're -- OK, listen, listen, I think many people are going to be reading this, so I
think with we saw with the autobiography with Spare and the Netflix documentary, there are going to be a lot of questions around why Meghan
You know, Harry's, what Harry's role is going to be. It is interesting to see that they've put you know emotions and feelings aside and Harry
attending. But do you think this is important show of unity for the family?
WILLIAMS: It is an important show of unity. And I think we all have to see what's going to happen in the coronation. What role is Harry going to have,
what will he be wearing? I know he'll probably want to wear military uniform that expect the King to be wearing military uniform. But Harry has
been denied that in previous occasions, is that going to happen now.
And there was a key part of the coronation at the end of the coronation, when what is seen as the peers do homage to the king, and certainly in the
Queen's coronation, the first to do that was her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. So, we do expect in the king's coronation, Prince William to
come up very quickly to pay homage to the king.
Now, will Harry be doing that as well? Where will Harry be sitting? Will he be sitting at the front with William and with Catherine? Or will he be
sitting further back with the other dignitaries? And I understand that one of the reasons why it's been taking a bit of time for Harry's answer to
come as the Qatari had wanted certainty on these questions.
So, it is a big moment. It's a big family moment. Harry knows that the king wants in there, Harry wants to be there. Harry is so close in line to the
phone and his children are. But I think he's making it very clear that although he's coming, it's not that things have changed. And he still has a
lot of strong feelings about what has gone on before.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. There's a lot of emotion tied to this. Kate Williams, great to see you! Thank you so much for breaking it down for us.
WILLIAMS: Thank you for having me.
GIOKOS: Well, thank you so very much for joining us for "Connect the World". CNN continues after this short break. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai.