Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Mali, Burkina Faso & Guinea Break with ECOWAS, Vow to Defend Niger from Foreign Intervention; Russia Calls Moscow Drone Strikes an "Obvious Threat"; Mali and Burkina Faso Break with ECOWAS, Vow to Defend Niger from Foreign Intervention; UAE Oil Giant Moves Climate Target Date up by 5 Years; European Nationals Evacuate Niger; China Zoo: Our Sun Bears are not People in Costumes. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 01, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Welcome back this is the second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson in London tonight hundreds of French and

other European nationals gather at the airport in Niger's Capital Niamey to prepare for evacuation. Now this comes as neighboring countries warn

against any foreign military intervention in the West African country to restore the ousted President.

Russia's war in Ukraine increasingly blowing up in Moscow, the Russian Capital hit by drones for the second time in just three days pointing the

blame squarely at Ukraine. Well, the heaviest screen and a decade kills 11 in Beijing is raging torrents wash away roads and cars and even people.

This elderly woman was trapped in the floodwaters for some time she did though eventually get rescued.

Right now a host of EU countries are urgently preparing to evacuate their citizens from Niger. Hundreds of EU nationals have gathered at the airport

in Niamey hoping to get out as the U.S. orders its troops to stay on their base in Niger both reflections of deep international concerns about the

instability there.

Meanwhile, two of Niger's neighbors Burkina Faso and Mali have joined Guinea in warning that they will retaliate if any other country tries to

intervene in the ongoing coup breaking with a host of other nations in the region.

Well joining us now Larry Madowo in Nairobi, Jim Bittermann is in Paris. Kylie Atwood is at the State Department. Larry let's start with you the

situation still very fluid. What do we know at this point?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that there appears to be a showdown looming between the military junta that claims to have taken over

power in Niger and the regional bloc ECOWAS the Economic Community of West African States that warned on Sunday that unless they reinstate President

Mohamed Bazoum, within one week, they will use on measures to restore constitutional order in Niger, including the use of force.

Now the neighbors of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali say if there are to be any military intervention that will be an act of war against them, and they

will defend it Nigerian people. They've also gotten support from Guinea.

All these four countries are part of what is called a ring of insecurity on the Niger has been a safe Island and this really dangerous neighborhood

that suffers from many attacks from armed groups affiliated to ISIS, and affiliated to al Qaeda.

And the four of them Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, now Niger are run by Military Junta soldiers who have overthrown democratically elected

governments and then are banding together because that is the only way they have to preserve themselves. I want you to hear this warning that was read

out three times on state television by the Malian Prime Minister.


COLONEL ABDOULAYE MAIGA, GUINEA MILITARY JUNTA SPOKESPERSONS: Warn that any military intervention against Niger would amount to a declaration of war

against Burkina Faso and Mali.

RIMTAIBA JEAN EMMANUEL OUEDRAOGO, BURKINA FASO MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION: The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali invite the living

forces to be ready and mobilized to lend a hand to the people of Niger in these dark hours of Pan Africanism.

COLONEL AMINATA DIALLO, SPOKESPERSON, GUINEA MILITARY JUNTA: The brotherly peoples of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea aspire to more recognition

and respect for their sovereignty.


MADOWO: Some Western allies still consider this a domestic dispute between President Mohamed Bazoum and the head of his presidential guard that

deposed him and have surrounded him at the presidential palace. He's still there he recently received the Chadian Transitional President.

So it's not all lost here. But it's a difficult path here. And ECOWAS now has five days to make good on this threat to use military intervention to

use force to try and restore him back to power if this does not work out, and for the Military Junta they are still calling out for people to support


And you see this statement in state television there from different parts of the country saying we support the concept safeguard the public, the

homeland, that's what they call themselves against any French Western or West African interference in the domestic matters.

ANDERSON: And this is fascinating, isn't it? Jim, let me get the perspective from where you are? Spain certainly the latest European country

to follow Italy and France in evacuating its citizens the EU however despite suspending support and security cooperation with Niger, hasn't

decided to withdraw its staff.


That's the latest as we understand it, what's the perspective coming out of Paris today?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the things that French have done is said to their citizens, basically,

it's up to you whether you want to stay there or not all this was triggered, of course, by the very violent and organized demonstrations

against the French, on Sunday.

And after that, at that point, the government got together and decided in a crisis center, that they should take some kind of action and they got these

evacuation flights which started, I think, somewhere around noon time today.

The plane has been on the ground, the first plane you've done on the ground there now for a couple of hours that has not taken off. But as you've

mentioned, there are hundreds of French and other European citizens.

You can add the Germans to that list that you had German Spain, Germany -- Spain, Italy, and others may join in. But in fact, the European Union has

not ordered its personnel to evacuate. And the European Union Commissioner said, explained exactly why.


NABILA MASSRALI, EU COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON: Of course, we take the safety of the citizens and our personnel very, very seriously. And we follow the

situation. What I said is that for the moment, at this stage we are making a decision that the people perform it not to formally evacuate.

But of course, our team present in the Niamey has the possibility to leave the country. And of course, we are following the situation. This means that

the decision will be kept constantly under review.


BITTERMANN: That's kind of the same situation with the French and the other countries involved. Basically, they want to see how this is going to

evolve, and what kind of demonstrations or protests or might be in the day is going forward.

The Americans are not going to immediately tell their people to evacuate, they're basically told them to shelter in place for. Becky it's a mixed bag

of reaction. And I think everybody is trying to grapple with the idea that there's been this change in government and it could lead to repercussions

for the various countries that have citizens there.

ANDERSON: Many calling this a coup. The U.S. though, it has not yet formally decided if it thinks the situation constitutes a coup. Kylie a

designation that would of course requires also cutting foreign military assistance. Now, where does the U.S. stand on this? And indeed, where does

this leave it's more than thousand troops who are on the ground?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECUIRTY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Becky, when it comes to the troops, what we have learned is that they have all been pulled

back to the U.S. military base in the country. So they haven't been pulled out of Niger, they're still there.

But they're at that military base, they aren't still, you know, out in the field, doing any active military duties at this time. So that is where

things stand in terms of the U.S. military presence. And then as you were saying, you know, the economic support, the military support, the

continuation of that.

Really does hinge on if the U.S. makes a determination that there has been a coup or not, at this point, the Biden Administration is avoiding making

that designation. And they're describing that because they're saying that they essentially think that there is still time here for things to roll


They think that things are still in flux, that there is a lot of conversation happening on the ground, according to a senior state

department official, who spoke to us yesterday saying, "The situation is not set in concrete. We think we should try and take that opportunity to

turn this around, essentially, to make sure that President Bazoum is reinstated and actually, you know, has power in the country".

We're not seeing that happen right now. But U.S. officials still believe that that possibility is in the realm of actually, you know, happening and

so they're trying to take advantage of that. When it comes to the U.S. diplomatic presence in the country U.S. diplomats are still there, even as

we have seen.

You know, other countries begin to pull out their nationals and some diplomats, France, countries in Europe, and as of right now, the U.S.

embassy presence in Niger remains, according to that same senior state department official who spoke with us yesterday.

They said the situation across the country remains relatively calm and what they described as the actual you know violence and unrest really

concentrated on the presidential palace, the house where President Bazoum is and so they're not as concerned as of yesterday about widespread

violence and that is probably a large factor in them not actually pulling out diplomats at this time.


But of course we're tracking it incredibly closely because as you well know, you know, situations like this can change on a dime. And oftentimes

the U.S. would want to get ahead of any widespread violence that could endanger their diplomats or their citizens who live there.

ANDERSON: To all of you, thank you very much indeed. And as Larry pointed out at the top of this, ECOWAS putting that seven day deadline down for the

reinstatement of the President to have five days left on that let's see how this develops as we move on through the week.

Well, an obvious threat that is what the Kremlin is calling the latest drone strike on the Russian Capital. It says two drones were destroyed one

hit a building that was also struck a couple of nights earlier. Russia blames the attacks on Ukraine and says "Measures are being taken". Well,

CNN's Nic Robertson tells us one ex-Russian official has an even more ominous warning.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Russia's war in Ukraine is increasingly blowing up in Moscow. This Ukrainian drone

attacks Saturday night, bringing Russia's war hundreds of miles away into the heart of its own Capital shocking citizens.

LIYA, MOSCOW EYEWITNESS: My friends and I rented an appointment to come here and unwind, and at some point, we heard an explosion and it was like a

wave. Everyone jumped.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Two nights later, another drone attack on the same building. Russia claims it intercepted three Ukrainian drones aimed at the

Capital Monday night, but at least one appears to have got through attacks like this in Moscow, becoming increasingly common.

Last week, another Ukrainian drone hit a Ministry of Defense building a psychological blow for a population repeatedly told by Putin's state media.

They are winning the so called special military operation.

POLINA, MOSCOW RESIDENT: I was asleep and woken up by an explosion. Everything started to shake like the whole building had come down.

ROBERTSON (voice over): This weekend, Putin was keeping up the pretense everything is OK celebrating Navy Day. But behind the scenes his officials

appear rattled by Ukraine's refusal to be beaten.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Former President Dmitry Medvedev says if Ukraine's counter offensive is successful, Russia will use its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is dismissing the drone strikes in Moscow as an act of desperation, the Defense Minister calling them terrorist attacks reality

they've got Moscow's attention. Ukraine's President is hinting more of these strikes to come.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: The Ukraine is getting stronger. Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia to its symbolic

centers and military bases. This is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Zelenskyy is stating what is becoming increasingly apparent. Ukraine is ramping up drone strikes inside Russia. In recent

weeks, targets just over the border in areas vital to Russia's war efforts have increased too. The impact even breaking through on Russia's state

media what is clear Ukraine's fight on Russian soil is having effect.


ANDERSON: Nic, joining me now in the studio. That was fascinating. Where does this take us?

ROBERTSON: I think it takes us to the point where there's a little bit more political pressure on President Putin, you know, his propaganda is cannot

withstand the rigors of the reality of drone strikes in Moscow because the narrative has been, we're winning this special military operation.

But now becomes apparent to citizens of Moscow, all those government workers who were in some of those shiny office buildings who have now been

moved out since the weekend. They'll notice something's different.

And when they listen to the Kremlin, say, for example, is actually the defense ministry today who said well wish there were three drones this

morning. And we shot two of them down and the other one we were able to interrupt by electronic measures and it crashed that hold on a minute. It

crashed into the same building that was targeted two days ago. It's not going to look to people like a crash. So there'll be further scrutiny on

Putin's war in Ukraine.

I just want to add one little line there because I think it's important to put in the context of what happened, the mutiny and the disruption a month

ago, suddenly Putin's version of what Russia would be it's not as stable for people as it was.


ANDERSON: What I find fascinating is the Ukrainian responsible -- claimed responsibility for those drones. But we did hear from Ukrainian officials

is that Moscow now faces a fully-fledged war. Kyiv taking this war to the Kremlin I mean, you say that this is the ratcheting up of pressure to a

certain extent on President Putin. What's his strategy at this point?

ROBERTSON: To carry on as if everything's the same? I mean, look, that's what he did after the mutiny after Prigozhin's uprising a month ago was to

bring all the security chiefs together. Say everyone did a great job when they didn't.

And then try and carry on. He didn't address the underlying issues. Yes, he forced out Yevgeny Prigozhin. So what does he do now? They will try and we

heard this from the Kremlin spokesman today Dmitry Peskov.

He said less today about the drone strike last night than he said yesterday about the drone strike over the weekend, which tells you the Kremlin is

trying to damp it down nothing to see here folks go speak to the defense ministry. The defense ministry says we took care of the drones we shot down

to another one crashed. So you know it's nothing to see here. Let's carry on but not its -- yes that can work to a degree.

ANDERSON: So let's carry on meantime, on the ground. The counter offensive is clearly on Nick Paton Walsh reporting from the frontlines on that our

colleague there on the ground, what's going on? Who's winning this war at this point?

ROBERTSON: Nobody. Because I don't think the war will be won until there's a peace deal. And ultimately, a peace deal is something both sides are

going to have to walk away from. And if there is a different leadership in Moscow, then that deal is going to look different to if it's President

Putin at the moment.

So we're a long way from saying anyone has won? I think where we're still in a build-up phase. Ukraine is still getting in the munitions and the

training that it needs. Look one of the discussions today, on the Ukraine; military front is about the F-16 training for its fighter pilots.

It's been semi agreed it hasn't been put into effect. But OK, six months from now, nine months from now, Ukraine will have F-16's expectedly in its

air fleet and Air Force and better able to control the skies.

So what I'm saying is that there isn't a winner at the moment, because both sides are still shaping up and building up their forces and the lines on

the ground aren't changing enough and the drone strikes in Moscow, on upsetting Putin from his position of power.

ANDERSON: Yes, nobody expects this to end anytime soon. You talk about whether there is a change in power in Russia? What's the real likelihood? I

mean, how realistic is it that Putin will be unseated at this point? There any evidence to suggest that?

ROBERTSON: At this point no. But I think the smart money is that Putin has come out of the wrangle with Prigozhin looking weaker, that he has enabled

more of the dissenting voices around him that he normally is able to manage.

That's uncomfortable for him. He's now got an uncomfortable albeit not terribly dangerous, but uncomfortable political situation with the strikes

developing inside of Moscow. His real hardship is going to come when and if the economy his economy, Russia's economy bites harder.

And if you have people out of work, you know a lot of these sorts of international businesses that were they're no longer trading you've got

through last winter. But if there are people Russians unemployed on the streets in a cold winter, they're going to want something different. We're

not there yet.

ANDERSON: Nic, it's always good to have you. It's good to be in London. Good to have you on set with me here.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in the house folks. Well, you're watching "Connect the World" we'll have more on the situation in Niger after this short break

stay with us.



ANDERSON: The thread of Niger's political crisis spilling into other parts of West Africa has escalated. The nations of Mali and Burkina Faso now say

that they would consider any military intervention to restore the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, an act of war against them.

Well, this comes after the West African economic bloc threatened on Sunday to use force if Niger's military junta did not release and reinstate Mr.

Bazoum by this weekend coming and they also impose financial and travel penalties against the coup plotters. My next guest is a former U.S. Special

Envoy to the Sahel region, which of course includes Niger.

He writes in a recent op-ed "While serving as U.S. special envoy for the Sahel, I repeatedly emphasized the heart of the crisis in the Sahel is one

of state legitimacy, a perception by citizens that their government is valid, equitable and able and willing to meet their needs. Absent States

commitments to meeting their citizen's needs no degree of international engagement is likely to succeed".

Well, Dr. J. Peter Pham joins us now it's good to have you, sir. Your experience and your insight are extremely important as we frankly watch an

escalation having heard from Mali and Burkina Faso, just today. We know ECOWAS is threatened retaliation if the president is not reinstated. Just

elaborate a little further, if you will, on the conceit of your argument in that recent op-ed?

J. PETER PHAM, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE SAHEL: Well, thank you for having me, Becky. The problem in the Sahel, the crisis is ultimately one

of, as I said, of state legitimacy of governance of the ability to provide basic goods and services to citizens. And this is what makes the unfolding

coup in Niger, particularly tragic. Because this is the one country that actually in the region had up to now been doing what it should have been

doing and with help from international partners, largely succeeding. So in many respects, it's a double tragedy in this particular case.

ANDERSON: So what's the solution here, sir?

PHAM: Well, I think we need to climb back a little bit from escalating rhetoric. ECOWAS, of course, has put force on the table is a very strong

declaration coming out of the summit over the weekend, but not so sure that they're fully capable or worked out how this would work. Burkina Faso and

Mali beating their chests and saying they will support Niger is somewhat reasonable, because these are two countries that have difficulty, the

governments, the juntas in control, have difficulty and are losing ground to the extremists.

So they're not going to be of much help to anyone. So there's a lot of escalating. We need to de-escalate. On the other hand, we also have to tell

the truth or truth needs to be told. The fact is, in Niger, you had a democratically elected president, who was overthrown before his even his

first term had gotten halfway through.

This is a government that, unlike the others in the region, had actually been making considerable progress by a mix of both development dialogue,

and were necessary military action supported by units trained by the United States and France.

ANDERSON: Well, the EU has designated this situation a coup and it has therefore cut funding and support. The U.S. has not. With your significant

experience, if and you may be advising this current government, should the U.S. or will the U.S. designate this a coup? What's the thinking here?


PHAM: Well, for the United States, and this gets a little bit into a little bit of inside baseball, if you will, but you don't mind an American

metaphor. It takes a bit of time and, and a number of checks and balances in the system to make the designation. I have no doubt that the

administration will, in due time make the right designation, which is undoubtedly, this is the case of a coup.

The elected president, he's being held prisoner, and he has not been given his liberty, several ministers civilians have been ministers have been

arrested as well, some of them friends of mine. And that's certainly not an atmosphere that is not a coup. So we have all the elements of a coup here.

I think the legal determination will come in time, and with it, the necessary circumstance, consequences of an unlawful change of government,

including the cut off of military and other aide.

ANDERSON: Right. Thank you, let's just step back and discuss why it is that you see U.S. troops on the ground, why you see French troops on the ground.

And what it is that they are there for. Just describe the security situation, if you will, and the importance to your mind, of this being a

center as it were for counterterrorism efforts across that region?

There may be many people watching this show around the world who aren't up to speed or as up to speed as you are on just what is going on in this


PHAM: Well, this is the region, the belt between North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa, where jihadist insurgent groups, both those linked with al

Qaeda, and those linked with the so-called Islamic State have been making tremendous gains in recent years. In many places, overrunning towns,

villages and certainly controlling the countryside.

Niger is one of the few countries where there has been successful pushback. In fact, the last six months of this year, the level of violence in Niger

is at its lowest level in five years. The United States has trained and still provides intelligence and other services to the Nigerian Special

Forces units, which has helped stand up. French forces operate more directly in the counterterrorism sphere.

American forces no longer accompany these patrols, since the unfortunate loss of several Special Forces members several years ago and attack in

Niger; we offer a call in the Tilbury region. So this is center. And this is also very importantly, the node where migration flows northward to

Europe, a lot of human trafficking. We also have drug trafficking flowing through this region.

And Niger was the last country in this bridge between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean that had yet had still had a democratically elected

government. And so, losing Niger would mean losing not only operational bases for U.S., French and other allied forces, but losing a key partner.

ANDERSON: Last question to you, and thank you for your time. France relies heavily on the import of uranium from Niger. I just wonder what you think

the potential impact on that import of Ukrainian might be because it is enormously important in the fuelling of their nuclear power system. of


PHAM: It is, and it isn't at the same time, Becky, so thank you for that question and opportunity to clarify. Niger has over historically

contributed a lot of uranium to French nuclear reactors. But production Niger has declined significantly over the last decade by 50 percent.

Today Niger accounts for barely 4 percent of the world's supply. So it may be inconvenient for France, but it won't be all that hard to secure other

supplies from far more stable regions, such as Canada and other producers. So the myth that's often propagated and a lot of disinformation that France

is there to secure uranium.

They're there, but they're for other reasons, having to do with strategy and authority rather than to secure a rather insignificant amount of


ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Thank you, sir. Good to have you on. The UK government's decision to expand oil and gas drilling is drawing sharp

condemnation from critics who say it goes against efforts to combat climate change. One of those critics is a former conservative Cabinet Minister. He

is joining me up next, stay with us.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you out of London today. The show, if you're a regular viewer,

you'll know this show is normally broadcast from the UAE Abu Dhabi. Your headlines this hour, next month the Israeli Supreme Court will hear

challenges to the first law in the government's plans to overhaul the judicial system there.

The law curbs the courts oversight on the government. Well, the package of bills prompted months of protests. -- Worth noting this will be the first

time all 15 justices are being convened. Military rulers in Myanmar have pardoned detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi for five charges of which he was


She had previously faced a total of 33 years in jail but is unclear as yet. How many years she will now serve for other charges? She denies all of

them, saying that they are politically motivated. Well, the U.S. is restricting visa free travel for Hungarian passport holders citing security


The State Department says, that Hungary granted nearly a million people with passports without proper vetting between 2011 and 2020. Prime Minister

Viktor Orban's government has set up a simplified process to grant citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living outside of the country.

Well, the heat waves gripping multiple continents this year have been so extreme 2023 could end up being the hottest year on record globally.

Experts point to human driven climate change as the cause. Well, the reason you might think for the world to get serious about cutting greenhouse gas

emissions and with the UN's Climate Conference COP28 just months away host nation.

The UAE's state oil company is moving up its net zero emissions target by five years. Well, meanwhile the UK is opening up more drilling for oil and

gas in the North Sea. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says that will reduce the country's dependence on foreign energy, while it moves towards a

net zero economy.


The environmentalists however, calling the move a wrecking ball for the country's climate goals. So my next guest recently left his posts as a top

climate adviser in the UK government. And he said in a recent interview, "The science tells us it's getting worse and worse, there is one way to

fight it, which is to get down to net zero, the quicker we do that, the cheaper it is and the more effective it is.

The longer we take, the worse it will get. And we will have to make good, it makes it easy to be good and hard to be bad". And John Gummer, Former

Chair of the UK's Climate Change Committee joins me now; it's good to have you sir. Thank you very much indeed for coming in. Your most recent reports

upon very much cast out on the progress that the UK had been making and adapting to climate change. Now this announcement on new drilling permits,

this is the UK reneging on its climate commitments, is it not?

JOHN GUMMER, FORMER BRITISH ENVIRONEMENT MINISTER: Well, it's certainly a very curious thing to do. I mean, after all, we thought it perfectly

reasonable to maximize the amount of a gas coming out of the North Sea, because of Putin's evil invasion of and that had to be dealt with in the

Ukraine. But this is much longer term.

And the fact of the matter is, the world will be awash with oil, because the whole of the developed nations are now in line for reducing their

fossil fuels, we'll be able to get oil from a whole range of places. Why on earth do we want to start new oil banks?

ANDERSON: How do you balance the argument between moving towards net zero and, and the argument for energy security in the light of what we have seen

in the last 18 months?

GUMMER: Well, simply because the best energy security is to use your own renewables. And what we should have been doing was doing more of that,

we've got nearly 50 percent, it's a major achievement. And it's a major achievement by conservative governments. Now this government is going over

to a kind of exploitation of oil which we don't need, which the International Energy Authority has said we can't have and still keep the

temperature rises below 1.5.

And we are no longer leading the world by good setting an example. You can't ask developing nations not to exploit oil and gas move directly to

renewables, if you don't do it yourself.

ANDERSON: A recent YouGov poll asks whether the government is right or wrong to issue new licenses for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea. And

it found, sir, that the majority of the electorate agrees with the government 42 percent say its right, 27 percent say it's wrong. But I have

to say 31 percent say they don't know. What do you make of that?

GUMMER: Well, only that the government has given two quite false ideas. First of all, people think that because it's British oil, we'll have

control over it. And it'll be at a price which we decide. But of course, it won't be unless the government was to nationalize it, and that for a

conservative government, we're very odd. But otherwise, it'll be the price of world oil. So it doesn't help us in that way.

And the second thing is that the government hasn't properly explained that we don't need it. It keeps on referring to the fact that the climate change

committee has rightly said that with carbon capture and storage, we will need some oil and gas, right at the end of this period. We'll still need

some in 2050 for the steel industry and for cement, which we can't deal with in another way.

ANDERSON: Huge emitters, of course.

GUMMER: Huge emitters and they of course, can be made clean by carbon capture and storage. And thank goodness, the government's put a lot of new

money into that. So that's good. The public isn't been told that.

ANDERSON: Carbon capture of course, and untried, untested technology yet, but there's certainly some opportunity there.

GUMMER: Well, it is tried and tested. The thing that it has to be done is for it to be built up into a bigger scheme.

ANDERSON: Net Zero Watch an organization that you will be aware of that and I use this term loosely perhaps scrutinizes climate and decarbonization

policies has urged Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister here to take courage from the evidence shift in public opinion, -- what we've just been

discussing the YouGov poll.

Ignore the lobbyists for vested interests; some in his own party who they say are clearly out of touch with the realities of net zero and with public

opinion. And I just want to quote the Energy Director here.

"Admitting the impracticality of many green policies is common sense, good for the UK and good politics too. Ultimately will also be good for the

planet as a rational and balanced approach to emission's reduction based on gas and nuclear replaces the ideologically driven obsession with physically

inferior renewables" to which you say, what sir?


GUMMER: Non sense. That is absolute rubbish. And it comes from the people who've never believed in climate change. They have always been deniers, and

then, when the science was so strong, they were delayers. One should never listen to these people, because what they want is an easy life now. And put

our children and our grandchildren in real danger.

How they dare to look at the world that we look at today, with China with the worst floods in Beijing. Beijing, airport closed all the things that

are happening there. The heat throughout the rest of Europe, what's happened in the United States, how they dare to say that this is the most

urgent thing that faces us, we have to get on with it. And the most effective and cheapest form of generation is renewable, and they dare to

refer to renewables as if they don't work.

ANDERSON: You've been a conservative member; you certainly were a conservative Member of Parliament for as long as I've been around sir.

GUMMER: That's very --

ANDERSON: 1970, and I say that, as a real compliment your experience of the party is been won over decades. You applaud the efforts that had been made

on climate change. And you've said, I know, in the past noon, I've discussed this that Glasgow was a real success as far as you are concerned.

The conservative party now is really sort of in the crosshairs of many of those who really support climate initiatives. What about the Labor Party?

Where are they at with this?

GUMMER: Well, I think it's difficult for both parties. The Labor Party has, I'm pleased to say said that it would not give these licenses. But it has

been under huge attack from two of its biggest funding trade unions. So it's not easy. Conservative Party has reaffirmed its fundamental

commitments to giving very large sums of money for the developing countries to improve and to move to renewables.

It's committed itself once again to stopping petrol and diesel cars after 2013. So they can't be sold then. It's actually backed all the fundamental

things. There's a bit of political nonsense is going on about some of the things which are done in crack handed way. You have to accept that we need

to just transition, you need to be helping those who are in most need.

You need the rich to pay the biggest bill. I don't understand why we don't have a really heavy tax on private aero planes. We've got the largest

number of takeoffs from private airplanes in Britain of any country in Europe. Why don't we have a tax on that and use that money to take the VAT

of electricity for people who are using an electric car.

ANDERSON: Lord Deben, as you are these days. John Gummer, it's very good to have you on, thank you very much indeed.

GUMMER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We are back after this short break, stay with this.



ANDERSON: Well, hundreds of French and other European nationals are gathering right now at the airport in Niger's capital to prepare for

evacuation hoping to get out. I want to bring in Anne-Claire Legendre on the phone. She's the spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry. It's

good to have you with us. The details, if you will. What is the latest on these evacuations? When are the first flights taking off and with how many


ANNE-CLAIRE LEGENDRE, SPOKESPERSON, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY: Thank you for having me. First, we've launched this evacuation operation today. We are at

the moment, you know, in contact with our citizens on the ground, and in contact with all the nations which requested from help from our side. And

the people are gathering in the AMA.

And there is one flight that is on its way to the AMA in order to pick them and bring them back home. And there might be more rotations coming later,

in order to actually bring back people who actually asked for, you know our support in leaving Niger. And why are we doing so because we are facing a

coup attempt which happened just a few days ago.

And in the context of this coop attempt, there has been an increased tension on the ground, violence against our embassies, and the closure of

the airspace, which actually impedes our citizens to leave the country if they want to do so.

ANDERSON: How many French and other European citizens are you expecting to evacuate?

LEGENDRE: Should we think hundreds of French citizens and hundreds of European citizens as well have requested support to be evacuated from

Niger? This is still in the process. So it's very difficult today to assess the exact number of people we are going to help in this process. But we are

in contact with each of them individually underground and proceeding with the operation swiftly.

ANDERSON: Where will they be evacuated to?

LEGENDRE: They will be evacuated back to Paris as far as the French people are concerned. And then you know taking in by their own country, if they

are nationals from other countries, but you know that there are other countries actually evacuating. So these operations are operating in

coordination with other member states, which are doing the same thing at the moment.

ANDERSON: Well, EU troops also pull out.

LEGENDRE: No, the decision hasn't been made. But there has been a decision by the EU first to suspend budgetary support to Niger in the context of

this attempted coup against the legitimate President, President Bazoum. And it has been also a decision to suspend their EU mentions on the ground and

there were EU missions in support of Niger's capacities.

ANDERSON: There has been a huge anti-French demonstration on the streets of Niger. The junta there accusing France on Monday of plotting to intervene,

militarily strikes, they say are planned. Are they?

LEGENDRE: There's been a very clear crystal clear answer by our foreign minister, Mrs. Colonna just, you know, few hours ago. And she, you know,

denied all intentions of France, you know, intervening militarily. And actually our own our sole objective today is the security of our citizens


And should I remind you that there have been very violent attacks against our embassy. Our embassy has been actually attacked by a mob with cocktail

Molotov and very violent, you know, aggressor, which actually destroyed some parts of the embassy and penetrated in the perimeter of our diplomatic


So we had to take measures to protect our citizens. But moreover, I think the real subject and we see people trying to make diversion, the real

subject is how to go back to the constitutional order in Nigeria. And this has been the core and the heart of our efforts in the last few days with

the rest of the international community.


So it's not froth being, you know, on the spot today, it's Niger being on the spot. Because where you have put this on the ground, we actually try

are trying to overthrow a democratic president, a democratic elected president, President Bazoum were actually was the first one to replace his

successor in a peaceful and democratic manner.

And has been supported unanimously by the international community, and especially the ECOWAS, which is the Western African community.

ANDERSON: Right, and they have, of course threatened military intervention, should the President not be reinstated? Do you see any evidence that that

is likely to happen before the weekend?

LEGENDRE: So they have given seven days for the -- to hear the message from the international community, and we hope this will be heard. There's, as

you know, mediation ongoing from the part of the ECOWAS community with the leader of the Nigerian President, President Tinubu.

And we hope, you know, they will hear both the message of the international community the strong condemnation of this attempt, the coup, and also that

will feel the pressure from a series of very strong measures taken by the international community.

So on the side of the ECOWAS, you might know that the ECOWAS has actually adopted a very strong set of sanctions against Nigeria, in order to push

the -- to realize that they are actually putting the whole country in an impasse.

ANDERSON: What do you make of the support for the military junta and the threats to others coming from Mali and Burkina Faso in the last 24 hours?

LEGENDRE: We are not so surprised, you know, there has been a trend of this kind of coop with pooches actually trying to hold power against the will of

their own people and actually, with very dire results for the -- .If you look at Mali today, I mean, the increase in security is actually a plague

for the Malian population.

And, and the whole country has been isolated on the international community with the suspension of most parts of the international support and aid to

the country. So we see a kind of, you know, gagging of pooch is there, which is an interest in supporting the same kind of trends in Nigeria,

which is of course of concern for the whole international community.

Because we all want the stability of Nigeria, we want the regional stability, which is important for all of us because there has been a very

concerning trend of terrorism in the region. And it's also something seen as a very serious threat by the whole region and the neighbors starting

with Nigeria but also Chad on the border.

ANDERSON: Anne-Claire Legendre, Spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry, thank you very much indeed for joining us, not least with the

very latest on the evacuation of European and French citizens from Niger. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson, back after this.



ANDERSON: A zoo in eastern China is trying to reassure visitors that their sun bears are not people dressed in costumes. Rumors and conspiracy

theories have been swirling on social media after a viral video of a sun bear standing on its hind legs looking uncannily human and appearing to

wave at the crowd.

Its fur appears loose and wrinkled in places almost like an ill-fitting bear suit. Well, some bears are the world's smallest bear species and the

zoo insists people just don't understand their behavior. That's it from us. Thanks for joining us. CNN continues after this short break, we'll see you

same place same time tomorrow.