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Connect the World

Former PM Imran Khan Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison; Saudi Arabia Hosts Talks on Finding Diplomatic Solution; Georgia Officials Prep for Potential Trump Indictment; Niger Faces Potential Military Conflict; U.S. Navy Tracks 11 Russian & Chinese Ships Near Alaska; 25-Year-Old Rescued after two Days in Atlantic. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 07, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Imran Khan's legal team is trying to petition for the release of the Former Pakistani Prime Minister. Just ahead I'm going to

speak to Pakistan's Defense Minister about what is going on the ground.

First up though your headlines this hour the Ukrainian Security Service says it is thwarted an assassination attempt on President Volodymyr

Zelenskyy. A woman is now in custody she allegedly was gathering Intel to carry out an airstrike on the Ukrainian President according to authorities


Well, the French Foreign Ministry tells CNN that the coup leaders in Niger are in talks with the Wagner Mercenary Group. Meanwhile, the Economic

Community of West African States or ECOWAS says it will meet on Thursday after a deadline that it's set to reinstate the President passed by on

Sunday with no action. Streets are closed outside in Atlanta courthouse as the city braces for a possible fourth indictment of Former U.S. President

Donald Trump.

Welcome to the second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. Wherever you are watching you're more than welcome and it is just after

four o'clock in the afternoon here. Well, a lawyer for Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says that he's met with his client and will be

petitioning for his release.

Khan's party has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Saturday he was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison.

According Islamabad found him guilty of making false declarations of his assets.

Now this could disqualify him from holding office threatening his political future. But in a pre-recorded video shared on Twitter before his arrest,

the Former Prime Minister called on his supporters to carry out peaceful protests.


IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTANI MINISTER: You have to continue peaceful protests until you get your rights. And the biggest fundamental right is to

elect government of choice through votes do not allow any occupying group to rule the country like they are doing today.


ANDERSON: Supporters happily obliged protesters turned up in different cities across the country to condemn Imran Khan's arrest. Many of them

believe he was not given a fair trial. Well, the Pakistani government for its part has said Imran Khan can only evade the law for so long.

The Information Minister said in a statement and I quote this is not an issue of political persecution. Imran Khan was given ample opportunities to

present his defense. But he consistently sought to sidestep the law hiding behind legal complexities and employing delaying strategies.

Well I'm joined now by another government official Pakistan's Minister of Defense Khawaja Muhammad Asif, he's coming to us live from Islamabad via

Skype today. It's good to have you sir. Mr. Khan's lawyer says he met with the Former Prime Minister in jail earlier today and will soon be filing a

petition for his release your response to that?

KHAWAJA MUHAMMAD ASIF, PAKISTAN'S MINISTER OF DEFENSE: Thank you very much, Becky. He has a right to appeal. Actually, he has two layers of appeal one,

the High Court of Islamabad and other the Supreme Court of Pakistan. So his rights are intact.

He can use these rights of appeal twice, if he's not satisfied with the verdict of a High Court in Islamabad, he can go to the Supreme Court,

whereas when he imprisoned the Leader of Opposition then Nawaz Sharif, Former Prime Minister and my leader, there was no right of appeal. It was

done by Supreme Court and he was never given a right of appeal.


ASIF: Same applied to so many of the leaders.

ANDERSON: So it's been -- so I understand the process. And it's important that we do. If he is successful and the court quashes this conviction will

the government stand by that?

ASIF: Obviously, if the court orders say you know you should be released on bail will have to release on bail, there is absolutely will not resist

that. And will obey the court orders and if the high Court releases him their audits will be implemented by the government there's no doubt about



ANDERSON: Much speculation from his supporters, at least in principle that this is about keeping Imran Khan out of the sort of public fray as it were,

and so that he is unable to take part in any elections that are coming up an election is due to be held in Pakistan by mid-November.

There is speculation at the moment the polls could be delayed following the release of Saturday's census results. So let's just be quite clear about

this. Because it's important when are elections set to be held, sir, do you know?

ASIF: Yes elections are due for November, the assemblies will be parliament, and not assemblies will be dissolved tomorrow -- no day after

tomorrow in the evening on 9th of August. And according to the Constitution, the elections will be held within 90 days, 90 days is the


You know, one cannot go beyond 90 days. But under some conditions Election Commission has the power to delay it because of some election problem or

census problem or electoral roll problems for a month or two but not beyond that.

ANDERSON: Do you believe that the census announcement will result in the delay of those elections?

ASIF: I cannot speculate at the moment. But it is a possibility. I won't rule that out.

ANDERSON: Well, that announcement on the census came on the same day that Imran Khan was arrested. You're saying that the two events were not

connected at all, are you or are that certainly not you would suggest?

ASIF: Not at all connected. And you know the census controversy was going on for last many, many months. And we had to create consensus between all

the provinces of Pakistan. So that census results are accepted by all the provinces.

And so we had this council of common interest about three or four days back and they supported the census accepted the census results. So that it was

delay was because of this controversy. Otherwise they have the result of the census has absolutely no connection with Imran Khan's conviction.

ANDERSON: And his supporters would probably expect you to say exactly that legal experts say that Khan's guilty verdict could obviously eliminate the

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's greatest rival in these elections.

Imran Khan still enjoys huge popular hold on sir, he's still enjoys huge popular support. You're no fan of his your record is suggesting he

represents a bigger threat to the nation. And then your great foe, India's leader, for example, surely Mr. Khan behind bars would benefit the current

government and Mr. Sharif, that's clear, isn't it?

ASIF: No, let me give you an example. In 2018, my leader Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister was disqualified and in prison for 10 years. And we

contested election of 2018 while our leader was in prison, he actually landed from London to participate in the election and he was picked up from

the airport.

And he was put behind bars along with his daughter. So we were very, very, you know, seriously handicapped when we started the campaign in 2018. So we

are not trying to get even or settle any score. But in last one and a half year of our government, we tried our level best that the legal process

whatever is going on with Imran Khan should be completed as soon as possible.

But through outlast one and a half year he was using delaying tactics just to prolong the verdict, just to prolong the process so that he can

ultimately find some sort of relief from somewhere. I don't know from where?

ANDERSON: We've just discussed the process that that is in front of him at present and you have suggested that the government will accept the quashing

of a conviction if indeed that is what happens. With respect sir my question to you was with Mr. Khan behind bars, surely that would benefit

Mr. Sharif in any upcoming election, wouldn't it?

ASIF: No, I don't think so. I think in Pakistan voters are I personally feel I'm in politics last for more than three decades.


I personally feel that the voters or the supporters of any leader they are more committed to their leadership while you know, they're being victimized

or they're in jail, or they are in exile, you know, people feel more committed to their leadership that is the psyche of our nation.

And we have historical examples in last four decades or five decades, you know, leaders were behind bars and their parties contested elections, and

they won the election that statically examples are there. You know, search for them on the net, you know.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you on just to be quite clear, Imran Khan behind bars at present, we've explained and discuss the process. And we

have also talked about whether you believe that elections will be held in November. At present, that is or should be what happens in you -- ?

ASIF: I do believe that the elections will be held in November, but you asked me this question that is there a possibility of delay? There is a

possibility of delay, but not more than couple of months, you know, on a technical ground and no ulterior motive in that absolutely not.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Thank you for joining us, sir. Good to have you.

ASIF: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Pakistan's Defense Minister, with you here on "Connect the World". Well, Ukraine security services revealed it filed for an

assassination plot aimed at the country's President. It says it detained a woman who was gathering intelligence on Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to the

Mykolaiv region last month ahead of a planned Russian airstrike.

That news coming amid reports of a virtual stalemate along the frontlines in Southern Ukraine, with heavy fighting reported by both sides and Ukraine

confirming it targeted two strategic bridges between Crimea and Russian occupied areas used by Moscow's military.

Well, this past weekend, China and the U.S. were among dozens of countries attending talks in Saudi Arabia that Ukraine describes as productive Russia

says those talks are doomed to fail. Nic Robertson back with me this hour, we've got activity on the ground. We've got activity thousands of miles

away in the City of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. let's start with what we understand to be going on the ground at present, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The frontlines not moving hugely. The Ukrainians believe that just South of Bakhmut, they are

making some advantages. But that they describe it in terms of hundreds of meters and you know a day maximum further north than that Ukrainians

describe a much harder Russian push on their frontlines.

In fact, the Russians claim that they've taken a small piece of territory. We're talking about marginal pieces of territory, even along the southern

front, which Ukrainians seem to have a little bit more momentum than over the past few months. But again, it's sort of stalling out and Ukrainians

have said.

They've counted the Russian ammunition fired over the past month, half a million rounds fired in the past month that the level of fire has

increased, very likely in response to Ukraine's counter offensive. The hard reality on the ground is that lines are not moving very much.

And at this stage, it's hard to see how they're going to shift significantly, although, Ukraine continues to get the more modern,

sophisticated weapons, it gets more troops in the line have to fight who had better Western training but as Ukrainians say if they put a priority on

protecting the lives of their troops.

ANDERSON: What came out of this meeting in Ukraine, this peace summit? Let's describe it as such, over a weekend when we hear reports that the

Russians have Volodymyr Zelenskyy, well, in the crosshairs himself?

ROBERTSON: Yes. And then you hear from Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian was one time President, one time Prime Minister now numbers two, a National

Security Council saying, no, this is not the time for tours, and we need to have the Ukrainians crawling towards on our knees.

You have Ukraine's Foreign Minister, speaking ahead of the talk, saying this is an amazing achievement that the Saudis have done with their sort of

new regional diplomatic ties that they've been able to bring China to the table.

And then they were sitting with the Saudis on one side, in the middle, the Chinese on one side in the U.S. the other side. So the Ukrainians are

saying that it's a huge achievement. And what are the Chinese sayings, they're saying, look we're accumulating some more trust.

There are some more common threads emerging about an international consensus. There was more than double the number of participants at this

summit than they were a month ago. So I think the overall narrative here is bigger power minds are being brought to the table and finding where there's

some level of convergence.

It's not going to impact the frontline right now and may not even impact in next year. But as the frontline is static are many other players at the

table China, India for example who are very and Saudi Arabia let's not forget.


Who are very concerned about the instability to their economies at these particular times that the war in Ukraine brings. They're also looking for a

way to try to find to help Russia find a path out now Russia doesn't believe that this summit process is the way to find the path out.

But that's the narrative that appears to be emerging behind the scenes. Does it give Ukraine what they want everything? I very much doubt it. Is

there a long way to go? You bet.

ANDERSON: I think the images that came out of that are very telling, as you rightly point out Saudi Arabia with China to the one side and the U.S. to

its other. Thank you.

Well, Former U.S. President Donald Trump's legal issues are mounting even has his legal team faces a new deadline in D.C. We're watching Georgia for

a potential fourth indictment, how Atlanta authorities are preparing for the possible reaction.


ANDERSON: Lawyers for Former U.S. President Donald Trump face a looming deadline today. In just under six hours they have to respond to a Justice

Department request to limit what Trump says about evidence that he and they receive.

Well, the current candidate was indicted of course, for the third time last week on charges said allege he was part of a conspiracy to overturn the

2020 election result. Special Counsel Jack Smith has argued there needs to be what's known as a protective order limiting what Trump can say and do

with the evidence.

Prosecutors have sided Trump's past social media use and how he is -- singled out witnesses, judges and attorneys. Well, CNN covering all of

Trump's legal troubles from across the country. I want to start with Jessica Schneider who is standing by for us in Washington.

And as we wait to see what comes out of the Trump legal team to this request or proposal by the DOJ. So we are looking at what may be the fourth

indictment being handed down. Where does his team stand at this point?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Becky, they are really flooding the airwaves. They are signaling that they will be putting up a

really vast legal fight. You know every step of this case. It is in fact shaping up to be a fight.

Like I said Trump's attorney flooded the airwaves over the weekend on all the Sunday morning shows. And he vowed to protect to fight that protective

order that was proposed by the Special Counsel.

So Trump's team, they have to officially file their opposition today. And in addition to that, they've also previewed many coming in arguments that

they want to make including moving this case out of Washington D.C.



SCHNEIDER (voice over): Former President Donald Trump and his legal team going on offense this weekend, after Trump pleaded not guilty to four

charges alleging that he tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

JOHN LAURO, TRUMP ATTORNEY: The point is that we will not agree to keeping information that's not sensitive from the press.

SCHNEIDER (voice over): Trump's lawyer says his legal team plans to oppose a protective order requested by prosecutors that would put some

restrictions on what Trump and his team can do with evidence shared with them. Federal prosecutors arguing limits need to be imposed on Trump citing

his previous public statements about witnesses, judges and lawyers in the case.

And in the filing attached to truth social post of Trump's where he warns if you go after me, I'm coming after you. Trump rebuking the concerns of

federal prosecutors continuing to lash out on social media at the case and the judge over the weekend, claiming he could not get a fair trial in

Washington DC.

Trump writes that he plans to ask Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case, to recuse her and further claiming he will also request a

change of venue for the trial. One of Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination for president disagrees.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe jurors can be fair, I believe in the American people. And I believe in the fact

that jurors will listen fairly and impartially.

SCHNEIDER (voice over): Despite his legal troubles mounting, Trump hit the campaign trail this weekend visiting South Carolina, where he again

criticized his latest indictment and Special Counsel Jack Smith.

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: He's a deranged human man; you take a look at that face. You say that guy is a sick man, there's something wrong

with him.

SCHNEIDER (voice over): A Trump campaign advisor tells CNN Trump has no plans to change his rhetoric. The former president also took aim at his

former Vice President Mike Pence disputing the claims in the indictment that he pressured him to reject the election results. Trump's Attorney John

Lauro says that Trump was merely asking the Vice President to act.

LAURO: What President Trump did not do is direct Vice President Pence to do anything. He asked him in an aspirational way, asking is covered by the

First Amendment.

SCHNEIDER (voice over): Pence confirming the claims in the indictment and says he has no plans to testify, but will "Comply with the law".

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Frankly, the day before January 6, if memory serves, they came back as lawyers did and said we want you to

reject votes or outright. They were asking me to overturn the election; I had no right to overturn the election. I know we did our duty that day.


SCHNEIDER: So Trump was only indicted here in DC about a week ago, but already a lot happening. In fact, we're expecting a flurry of filings in

the next few weeks all before that next court date in this 2020 election case. The next court date is set for August 28.

And I'll tell you what, Becky, as for Trump's claims that he'll try to get this case moved out of Washington DC, it's important to note that about

three dozen January 6 defendants, they've already tried to get the case moved, saying that they couldn't get an impartial jury here in Washington,


But up to this point, no judge, even those judges who are appointed by Donald Trump, none of them have ever agreed. So Donald Trump and his legal

team definitely face a steep climb and making a lot of these arguments like getting the judge to recuse are getting this case moved out of Washington,

DC. Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? Jessica, thank you. Well, Trump's legal troubles don't end with the Federal Election case. Of course,

he's also facing a potential indictment in the state of Georgia. Now prosecutors have signaled that they will decide on charges in what is a

state level election interference case by the start of September.

But they could come even earlier and that has authorities beefing up security around the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta. This was the scene

a few hours ago. Barriers have been put up and the sheriff says the street in front of the courthouse is closed starting today.

For the latest CNN's Nick Valencia is outside that courthouse in Atlanta. A potential fourth indictment Nick for the Republican front runner, these are

piling up. When might we expect this and what is the mood there?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now it is very quiet. Those security preparations have been ramping up in the last several weeks. And

you can see the result of that behind me. Part of that, of course has to do with the countless threats that the former county district attorney has

received while she's leading this investigation, which started over a year ago and some of those threats, she says are credible.

She's spoken about it publicly having changed her security detail as a result. Of course, the rhetoric coming from the former president hasn't

really helped that, he's called Willis a racist. He's said that this investigation is politically motivated. And last week we already saw one of

the Trump supporters out here parroting those comments made by the former president.

You see the security preparations behind me a metal barricades going up last week. We also have these plastic barricades some of which I'm told are

filled with water making them harder to move.


Streets around Fulton County Courthouse are closed with anticipation that the president the former president could force faces fourth arrest his

fourth indictment here. There's also a letter that was sent out by DA Fani Willis to the law enforcement agencies here telling them to be prepared,

that those potential indictments could happen at any point between now and September 1.

It's just one of the many indications that we have that this sprawling investigation which could bring forth racketeering and conspiracy charges

is nearing its end. We know that there are two currently two grand jury seated in Fulton County and one of them is going to be tasked with hearing

the evidence gathered by the Special Purpose Grand Jury up into this point.

The special purpose grand jury, of course had the power to subpoena they called more than 75 witnesses and handed over charging recommendations to

District Attorney Willis in February. It'll be those recommendations that are given to one of these two grand juries to go over.

24 jurors plus two alternates 16 are needed for quorum, and it will take 12 of them to be in agreement in order for an indictment to be handed down,

which as I mentioned, Becky could come at any day, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, that's the detail for you. Thank you, Nick. Well still to come, we're following growing fears among democratic countries on how the

coup in Niger could have a domino effect in Africa. I'm going to speak to the former prime minister of Mali about his thoughts on the subject.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. The time here just about half past four in the afternoon in

London that is our broadcasting base this week. Your headlines this hour, Ukraine security service says it is detained a woman involved in an

assassination plot against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

It says she was gathering intelligence on the president's visit to the Mykolaiv region last month ahead of a fan Russian airstrike. With statement

goes on to say additional security measures were taken after the suspect was identified. But in Italy wildfires have forced the evacuation of more

than 600 people from the tourist areas around Sardinia.


Italy's fire brigade says strong winds fuel more than 40 wildfires on the island. The flames came first to urban areas they reached a popular beach

resort. Investigators are looking into arson as a possible cause. Well tensions escalating in the wake of the coup in Niger. Military leaders are

now moving reinforcements from around Niger to the Capitol to prepare for potential invasion from its West African neighbors.

That's according to a military source at least. The military junta also closed Niger's airspace until further notice. Let's get you up bang up to

date on what we understand to be happening on the ground and in the air. Let's bring in CNN's Larry Madowo who is following the story from Nairobi

in Kenya.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we understand that the airspace over Niger remains closed. This is the second time that the Nigerian junta

that took over the country has closed the airspace. This time they say is because of an imminent attack by a neighboring country of foreign power.

And that is what they're doing been doing all this organizing.

We also understand from a military source that the army is bringing in units from across the country into the capital Niamey just a source of

extra preparation, as they expect this imminent attack to take place. However, that should be ideally coming from ECOWAS, the Economic Community

of West African States that gave the -- junta Niger one week that ended Sunday night to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum and his government.

They're not making any immediate steps just yet. They have called another extraordinary summit of the heads of state of ECOWAS for Thursday in Abuja.

ECOWAS is currently headed by President Bola Tinubu. He's the Chair of the Heads of States and he's also the President of Nigeria.

So the meeting in Abuja on Thursday to determine what they will do about that situation in Niger. There are many people in the country in Niger and

in the region who hoped for diplomatic or political solutions to this, a way to avoid bloodshed to avoid a protracted battle that will have a ripple

effect not just in Niger, but across the widest -- , especially if Mali and Burkina Faso's militaries feel the need to go in to defend Niger.

Niger is the -- of peace in this region in a place that has suffered a lot of Islamist insurgencies. And that's why it's been a lynchpin for the west

security strategy in that region. But the military is making sure that they're ready and they're telling the people of Niger to be ready as well.



AMADOU ABDRAMANE, NIGER MILITARY SPOKESMAN: Niger's armed forces and all our defense and security forces backed by the unfailing support of our

people are ready to defend the integrity of our territory and the honor of our homeland. To this end, the National Council for safeguarding the

homeland launches a vibrant appeal to the youth to the worthy Daughters and Sons of our country to stand ready to defend the homeland.


MADOWO: What the West African countries have done and their wider international community is isolate this military junta that overthrew a

democratically elected president. France, for instance, warning people not to travel to the country, Air France has stopped flights to not just Niger

which has closed its airspace, but also to Mali and Burkina Faso.

The European Union France, Germany, a couple of other countries has stopped aid to the country hoping to pressure the country into the path to

democratic force. I think the biggest impact so far has been these sanctions imposed by ECOWAS a no fly zone, travel bans, stopping financial


And in the case of Nigeria, even cutting off electricity to large parts of the country, trying to pressure this military junta into going back to the

barracks and resetting President Bazoum none of that so far, Becky has worked.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it, Larry, thank you for that. Well, as we've reported Niger's neighbors worry that this coup could have a

domino effect given how fragile many of West Africa's democracies have proven to be as recently as 2021 and 2022.

Military leaders, of course, took over Mali and Burkina Faso after coups. And now both of those countries are backing Niger's coup leaders. Well,

adding to the democratic nations concern, the Wagner Mercenary Group, reportedly in talks with Niger's coup leaders in Mali, according to the

French Foreign Ministry.

And Mali and Burkina Faso are sending delegations to Niamey according to Mali's armed forces. So with all of that in play, let's get you the Former

Prime Minister of Mali, Moussa Mara. He was in power before the series of coups across Africa over the last few years, including those in his own

country of Mali. I am good to have you sir, your perspective and insight invaluable as we discuss what's going on here.


To your mind, will ECOWAS intervene militarily? And if they do, what will be the impact or effect? Is this wise? Would it be a wise decision at this


MOUSSA MARA, FORMER MALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you. Thank you to having me on this show. The first thing is, as -- ECOWAS decided to give a last

chance to diplomacy and politic talk. And that's why even though the deadline finished yesterday, ECOWAS decided to not go on direct military


And leaders, they decided this week to give a chance to talk diplomacy and political talks. Maybe they will send again, a team from ECOWAS to try to

convince the military junta in Nigeria, to withdraw from power and to re- instate the president-elect Mohamed Bazoum. This is our willingness.

ANDERSON: Why would they do that? Yes, I wonder from your perspective, why it is that the coup leaders would actually decide that their actions were

countered to the best interests of the Niger people?

MARA: Yes, I think they are aware of how fragile is the situation in the -- . How fragile Niger, Mali and Burkina, and how it will be very, very tough

as a consequences if they are forced to intervene militarily. That's why they would like to give a chance to talk to discussion and to maintain

military intervention as the very, very last solution.

ANDERSON: They've already missed the deadline; does that not suggest to the coup leaders that this is just an empty threat from ECOWAS? Is there a

concern there?

MARA: I think the military junta in Niger, they are aware of the readiness of ECOWAS to intervene military. And how the leaders, ECOWAS leaders they

are focused on the target. The target is to bring back Mohamed Bazoum to the power. Because it is absolutely necessary to avoid this coup d'etat to

succeed in order to avoid the other coup d'etat.

That's why the leaders are decided to bring back Mohamed Bazoum to the power. But at the same time, we would like to protect and to prevent the

harsh consequences of military intervention.

ANDERSON: And your perspective is so important coming as you do from Mali, and having spent a year or so as the prime minister there. Mali's armed

forces are saying that they will send a delegation to the army. This is what the ousted Prime Minister of Niger had to say about that. That and

support for the coup leaders from both Mali and Burkina Faso. Have a listen.


OUHOUMOUDOU MAHAMADOU, OUSTED NIGERIAN PRIME MINISTER: We don't have the Malian military on our borders. We have jihadist groups. We don't have the

Burkinabe government and soldiers on our borders. We have jihadist groups. So to get to Niger, they have to cross the jihadist groups. They've spent

years fighting and haven't managed to fight.

So for us, that's an empty threat. We don't see how the Malian army or the Burkinabe army could intervene in Niger.


ANDERSON: What's your perspective? Do you believe the Malian army the Burkina Faso army can intervene and will?

MARA: I don't know. I don't know if it is an empty threat. But what I would like to see is to look at our own army, fighting inside our territory and

winning against a terrorist group. This is my goal and my target and this is the willingness of Malian people. We are facing to GRDs; we are facing

to a different threat in inside our territory. We do not need to see our soldier abroad, wherever it is Niger or not try to help someone else. They

have to help Malian people.


ANDERSON: Sir, I must just ask you, yes, that's fascinating. I must just close asking you how concerned are you about threats or sorry reports that

the Russian mercenary group, Wagner may get involved in Niger already of course involved on the ground in your own country.

MARA: I am behind our authorities when they say they are working with Russian soldier, Russian teachers, -- and counselors, they denied until

now, the work with Wagner Mercenary Group. This is not for me, this is not important. What is important is the relationship between Mali and ECOWAS.

And Mali should stay in ECOWAS, work with ECOWAS and do its best to help ECOWAS to solve the Nigerian problem. And not to have another fret to what

is going on between Nigeria and ECOWAS, because between Nigeria and ECOWAS, it is a question of coup d'etat. Coup D'etat must be forbidden in our area,

even in our country, Mali.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Your perspective is so important. Thank you. You're watching "Connect the World". Still to come, Russia and China unite

in a show off of force of the Alaska coast. We'll take a look at that. And tensions flaring between China and the Philippines that it's taking place

in territory they both say belongs to them.


ANDERSON: Chinese officials are downplaying a recent joint naval patrol with Russia off the coast of Alaska. The U.S. military deployed four of its

naval destroyers to monitor 11 Russian and Chinese ships which were operating in international waters there last week.

U.S. defense officials say the show of force did not pose a threat to the U.S. or to Canada, but some senators from Alaska are expressing concerns.

CNN's National Security Reporter Natasha Bertrand joining us from the Pentagon, Natasha.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, so what we're learning from this is that U.S. did respond with military assets to these

Russian and Chinese warships that were off the coast of Alaska. And according to those U.S. senators from Alaska, they were operating near the

Aleutian Islands and there were about 11 of them.

So a very significant presence by these Chinese and Russian vessels as part of what the Chinese are kind of describing as an exercise that did not

target according to them, any third party. Now importantly, the U.S. is emphasizing according to U.S. Northern command that there was no threat

posed to the U.S. or Canada by these Russian and Chinese ships.


And importantly, that they stayed in international waters the whole time. But the senators from Alaska are raising the alarm about this, with one

senator saying that it's, it shows that we have entered, "A new era of authoritarian aggression, led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow".

Now, obviously, this does demonstrate the intensifying military partnership between the Russians and the Chinese. And it stands really in stark

contrast to the Chinese attending, of course, those Saudi Arabian peace talks over the weekend to try to figure out a solution to the war in


Meanwhile, they're still training and doing these exercises with the Russian military. So obviously, this is of great concern to the U.S. to the

senators, it raises questions about just how close these Russian and Chinese ships can actually get to the U.S. But this is not the first time

that they have done this. They actually did a similar exercise back last summer.

The response to that, according to Dan Sullivan, one of those U.S. senators from Alaska was "Tepid by the U.S. military". So this time around, he is

expressing appreciation for the fact that the U.S. military actually deployed four U.S. Navy destroyers, as well as a reconnaissance aircraft to

closely track those Russian and Chinese movements, Becky.

ANDERSON: Natasha, is the sense that the U.S. is more concerned than this time, or is more willing to make something out of this in terms of the

optics of response?

BERTRAND: I think it's likely the latter, Becky, this was a very large presence. The one last year was only about seven ships, this one is about

11. And so, it was more significant in that sense. But at the same time, the U.S. military was facing political pressure from the senators in Alaska

to do more of a show of force in response to this to try to convey that it is not acceptable.

However, the U.S. is also at the same time trying to emphasize here freedom of navigation principles, right. They weren't international waters. The

U.S. importantly does exercises and you know, drills off the coast of China and Russia very regularly as well, maintaining of course, that they are

also in international waters.

ANDERSON: Yes, Natasha, always a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed. Meantime, China also making waves in the South China Sea the Philippines

condemning Beijing for firing water cannon and its vessels. The Chinese Coast Guard said that they fired to prevent a collision after giving

multiple warnings. Marc Stewart has the big picture for us.

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Philippines is condemning China accusing it of using a water cannon on one of its vessels as a "Dangerous

and illegal practice". This video is from over the weekend show in a Chinese ship purportedly firing water at the Filipino boat.

Smaller in size compared to the Chinese Coast Guard ship, the much smaller Philippine boat was attempting to deliver supplies to a Philippine military

installation in the South China Sea. Some context these waters have been a source of tension between the two nations.

Beijing claims it as its own, yet Manila feels it has a right too. A 2016 ruling from the hay contends that Beijing has no legal basis to claim

historic rights to the bark of the South China Sea. China has ignored the ruling. The incident has prompted the Philippine's foreign minister to

deliver a complaint letter to the Chinese Embassy on Monday.

The United States is showing support to the Philippines reaffirming its mutual defense treaty obligations. Australia, Germany and Japan have also

weighed in calling the Chinese actions dangerous and destabilizing. Marc Stewart, CNN, Tokyo.

ANDERSON: Well, still to come here on this show. We've got the details behind this rescue off the coast of Florida after a young man spent almost

two days lost at sea in a boat that could barely float.



ANDERSON: You got to have a look at this say bear cub breaking loose from its cargo crate on a flight from Baghdad to Dubai, while passengers were on

board by the way. A specialized team in Dubai had to sedate and remove the bear from the Iraqi Airways plane.

There were two endangered bears on this flight. And this one when it tried to escape as you can imagine it cause delays and more than a few

disgruntled passengers. The prime minister of Iraq is ordering an investigation into what caused the 'malfunction'. Iraqi airways say in a

statement the bears transport aligned with international welfare guidelines.

Dogs and cats have escaped from crates on planes before. Bears on the other hand, much less common and it has to be said a lot more frightening. Well,

U.S. Border Patrol officials made a surprising discovery during an arrest in Texas. Seven spider monkeys were found hidden in a backpack in an

attempt to smuggle them through the southern border.

Conservationist says at least six species of spider monkeys living in Central and South America are considered endangered. Well, from airline

escapes through an incredible rescue at sea. You're watching a 25-year-old man clinging to a partially submerged boat before he was rescued 12 miles

off the coast of Florida almost two brutal days at sea.

And let me tell you he encountered sharks, jellyfish, and the baking Florida sun. CNN's Carlos Suarez is in Miami with more details on what is

an incredible story, Carlos tell us.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky that 25-year-old is lucky to be alive after this fishing trip of win -- awry last week. According to the

Coast Guard, this rescue played out about 12 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida. That's on the north eastern side of the state here.

According to the Coast Guard, a 25-year-old Charles Gregory, he goes out on this fishing trip on early Friday morning. And early on encounters some

pretty rough seas. According to his father, this 12 foot lightweight boat that he was on is hit by a wave. That wave causes the boat to take on water

and in the process, it goes, it causes rather Gregory to lose his cell phone and his life fast. He's barely able to hold onto this boat.

We're told that at one point, Gregory decides to take the motor off the entire thing, all in an effort to try to keep it afloat. We're told by the

Coast Guard at least from the video that we saw that you can see Gregory on the boat here; it's dipping in and out of the ocean there.

And that he spent about 35 hours out at sea. According to his father, the worst part of this whole ordeal apparently takes place at night because

Gregory says he can't see anything. He's cold. He's wet. It is very windy out there. And as you noted Becky, earlier the day he had spotted some

sharks, he had been stung by some jellyfish.

And so, he has to spend all of these hours overnight, wondering if anyone is going to come out and rescue him. We're told that at one point he takes

off his swimming shorts, all in an effort to try to flag down some nearby boats as well as an airplane. Now the United States Coast Guard eventually

spots him Saturday morning from an airplane, they're able to decide exactly where he is.

And so they send a boat out to get him. They bring him back to shore. And we're told that the 25-year-old had some severe sun burns. He was treated

for dehydration, but is otherwise doing OK. His father spoke to CNN on Sunday and essentially told us that at the end of the day, the whole moral

of the story is "Don't ever give up".

Again this 25-year-old is lucky to be alive after this fishing trip nearly killed him. Becky.

ANDERSON: It's amazing. It really is a remarkable story. Thank you very much indeed. Going out to the movies is apparently back in fashion. The Bob

Heimer duo is as hot as ever. Barbie alone has now raked in more than a billion dollars in global box office.


It's now one of just about 50 movies not adjusted for inflation to earn a billion dollars Barbie is being the top performing film in the UK and

Mexico. And in Australia for example, since it's released by Warner Brothers, the studio of course owned by the same parent company as CNN.

Meantime, Christopher Nolan's World War Two thriller Oppenheimer has become the highest grossing period film of its kind released on the same day as

Barbie. Oppenheimer has made more than $500 million at the global box office. That's our highest grossing R rated movie of the year and one of

only four bio pics as they're known to cross the half a billion dollar mark.

Amazing, many of you, I'm sure have seen one of those this weekend. Thanks for joining us. That's it from "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson in

London. "One World" with Zain is up next.