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One World with Zain Asher
Russia's War on Ukraine Spills Over Own Territory; Demonstrators Gather in Northern Kosovo; China Accuses the U.S. of Deliberate Intrusion into its Training Area; North Korea Vows Another Attempt to Launch a Military Satellite into Orbit; Some Technology Experts Say AI Presents Societal Scale Risks; U.S. House Set to Debate and Vote on Debt Ceiling Bill; Moscow Denies Charges, Says ICC Has No Authority. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired May 31, 2023 - 12:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is One World. A string of incidents seem to signal that Russia's war on
Ukraine is spilling over to its own territory. The Kremlin calls the situation rather alarming after what's being called a massive strike on a
border town in the Belgorod region.
Five people were wounded and a power line and other buildings were damaged elsewhere in the Krasnodar region. Drones crashed into oil refineries near
a major Russian oil port. One refinery caught on fire. There are no reports of injuries.
An explosion also went off at the border with Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Ukraine says that Russian forces blew up a road there. And a day after
drones hit three residential buildings in Moscow, the Kremlin says Russia's air defense system worked, but that there is room for improvement. Russian
President Vladimir Putin is blaming Ukraine. Kyiv, of course, still denying any involvement.
CNN's Sam Kiley joins us live now from eastern Ukraine. So, Sam, what effort is Russia making at this point to shore up border areas that have
proven to be the most vulnerable?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Well, not enough according to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary
organization, who has issued what he says we have to take everything he says with a pinch of salt is an official complaint, effectively a writ
demanding legal action against the Russian military leaders for what he says is a failure to defend Russian borders.
Now, that relates both to the latest attacks, but also the cross border incursion a few days ago by Russian citizens who are part of the Ukrainian
security forces. This, though, across the whole patchwork really, is a sign of, I think, the growing pressure that Russia is intentionally being put
KILEY (voice-over): Same or different capital? Moscow hit by a squadron of eight drones. There was a deafening bang, as if a huge ball of lightning
had struck somewhere near. The attack was immediately blamed on Ukraine, which reels daily from Russian air assaults.
UNKNOWN (through translator): This morning, the Kyiv regime carried out a terrorist attack on the Moscow region, and I will stress, aimed at civilian
targets. In total, eight airplane-type drones were used, all of them were brought down.
KILEY (voice-over): Kyiv was coy about its role in this drastic escalation.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Of course, we enjoy watching and predicting an increase in attacks, but of course we have nothing to do directly with it.
What is growing in Russia is the karmic payment that Russia will gradually pay more highly for everything it does in Ukraine.
KILEY (voice-over): Ukraine's threatening an offensive to drive Russian troops out. Part of its tactics have been increased efforts to destabilize
Moscow's forces. A cross-border raid by anti-Putin Russian dissidents was backed by Ukraine last week. Frequent attacks on Russian-occupied logistic
hubs like Mariupol and Berdyansk. And now there's a mysterious drone attack that Russia has blamed on Ukraine.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Though I am more worried not by this but by efforts to provoke a Russian response. That
appears to be the aim. They are provoking us to do the same.
KILEY (voice-over): But this is the first drone attack by anyone on Moscow outside the Kremlin. Here, Kyiv attacked for the 17th time this month.
Putin's generals now know that they face attacks on Ukraine's front lines and at home.
KILEY (on-camera): Now, Zain, if you take a look at the pattern of attacks, you can see that they extend from the very far northern border you
referenced there, the explosion on the Tri-Country border, right the way around Berdyansk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk provinces, all the way down to
the far south in that arc around Ukraine. But also, I think this is clearly now, a part or should be seen as part of a new strategic effort by the
Ukrainians to take the war into Ukraine into Russian territory.
ASHER: And Sam, NATO foreign ministers are meeting. Do the attacks within Russia change the calculation in terms of what type of military aid, what
type of lethal aid NATO is going to continue to supply Ukraine with? Because obviously, the last thing they want is to risk further escalation.
KILEY: That's a very interesting question, indeed. Now, in the last 48 hours, James Cleverley has been in Estonia as the British foreign minister,
taking the opportunity to stand on the deck of HMS Albion, a British warship, and tell the Estonians and the rest of the world that as far as
Britain is concerned, Ukraine has the right of self-defense and therefore the right to attack targets inside Russia.
More broadly, NATO partners, possibly including, probably including Britain, are anxious that the weapons that they give to Ukraine are not
used to do that. That doesn't mean necessarily that the Ukrainians can't use their own home-grown, home-made weaponry to take the war into Russian
But it's a very important signal coming from the British there, who have really been some of the main, probably the principal cheerleaders of the
Ukrainian cause in the international community alongside the United States, which has been the biggest donor to set the tone for this meeting,
essentially saying that as far as the Brits are concerned, this is a perfectly legitimate activity so long as it's kept to military targets and
so long as they don't use the kit that NATO has given them.
ASHER: Right, Sam Kiley, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, demonstrators are gathering once again in northern Kosovo in the same town
where clashes erupted earlier this week. Ethnic Serbs spread a huge flag outside City Hall in Zvecan. But so far today, protests have remained
On Monday, violence broke out in Zvecan when a crowd tried to block newly- elected mayors from taking office following a disputed election in April. NATO says it's deploying hundreds of additional troops after 30 members of
its peacekeeping force were injured in that unrest. The U.S., meantime, has announced it is cancelling Kosovo's participation in American-led NATO
exercises over what it calls an unnecessary crisis.
CNN's Scott McLean is covering all of these developments. He joins us live now from London. So, Scott, the U.S. is blaming Kosovo for sending police
in, in the first place. Just walk us through what sanctions the U.S. is imposing here.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so the ambassador, the U.S. ambassador to Kosovo seemed like he was at his wits end when he spoke to
journalists yesterday. He said that, look, Kosovo, their participation in a U.S.-led NATO military drill happening right now in Romania has essentially
He also said that there's not a lot of enthusiasm in the U.S. for any high- level visits, either to Kosovo or to Washington, and that there's also not a lot of enthusiasm for the U.S. to lobby on Kosovo's behalf for countries
that have not recognized its independence.
And he suggested that there may well be more consequences for Kosovo to come for their failure to de-escalate in their view. And so, the ambassador
says that this is, as you said, something that, I'll just read you the quote from the ambassador, he said, this was a crisis that from our
perspective was unnecessary.
The operation that took place on Friday to obtain access to municipal buildings through forcible means was not coordinated with the United
States. When we became aware of it, we advised strongly against it because we anticipated consequences that we are seeing right now.
Now, the U.S. wants Kosovo to do two things. It wants to have the mayors work from alternate sites, not the town halls, and it wants the Kosovo
police that are at the town halls to be withdrawn. But the prime minister of Kosovo said last night on CNN that despite pressure from E.U. and the
U.S., he is holding firm. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBIN KURTI, KOSOVO PRIME MINISTER: I'm working closely with international factors, especially with United States and European Union. We consider both
of them indispensable allies, friends, and partners, and we will do our best. But I am not surrendering Democratic Republic to fascist militia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: In addition to the U.S., the French president is also blaming the violence that we saw on Monday on Kosovo, in fact, Emmanuel Macron made
clear that the French had advised Kosovo that it would not be right to even go ahead with those local elections that took place in April, knowing that
they would be boycott by ethnic Serbs in that area and these are the results that we're left with. NATO says that it's sending in 700 more
peacekeepers in the meantime to make sure things don't flare up again. Zain.
ASHER: All right, Scott McLean, live for us there. Thank you so much. And Kosovo's Olympic authorities are calling for Novak Djokovic to be punished.
It comes after the Serbian tennis star left a message on a TV camera lens at the French Open Monday in response to the violent clashes in Kosovo,
writing, quote, Kosovo is the heart of Serbia.
Kosovo's Olympic Committee is urging both the International Olympic Committee and International Tennis Federation to take disciplinary action
against Djokovic for the comment. The KOC claims if they don't, it certainly sets a dangerous precedent that sport can be used as a platform
for political messages.
China is accusing the U.S. of deliberately intruding into its training area last week. This follows the U.S. military's accusation that a Chinese
fighter aggressively intercepted one of its jets, causing turbulence. The U.S. says that it was flying in international airspace over the South China
Sea and even released a video of the incident. China defended the maneuver, calling the U.S. patrol a threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAO NING, SPOKESWOMAN, CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (through translator): I want to point out that the U.S. has been repeatedly sending
warships and military aircraft to conduct close-in reconnaissance on China for a long time, which seriously jeopardizes China's national sovereignty
and security. Such provocative and dangerous actions are the root cause of maritime security problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Natasha Bertrand joins us live now from the Pentagon. So, Natasha, China's military basically saying that the U.S. spy plane apparently
deliberately intruded into its training area. Just walk us through what more we know at this point.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, so we are getting additional statements from U.S. officials, including the U.S. Secretary of
State, Antony Blinken, who reiterated that it is the U.S.' belief that the Chinese pilot is the one who was acting dangerously by maneuvering so
closely to the U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and getting so close to it, essentially, that the aircraft experienced the turbulence that the fighter
jet produced when it passed by the nose of that U.S. aircraft.
And so, the message that the U.S. has been putting out there over the last several days since this incident occurred is this is why it's so important
for the U.S. to have this military to military communication with the Chinese in order to prevent this kind of incident from creating a crisis
that essentially spirals out of control.
The National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, spoke this morning on CNN saying this is exactly why those
lines of communication need to remain open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: When you have tensions as high as they are, you want to be able to avoid miscalculations
and misunderstandings. Just over the weekend there was an unsafe and unprofessional intercept by a PRC fighter jet with one of our Air Force
aircraft over the South China Sea. When you have tensions like this, you want to make sure you can talk. That's why we want to keep the lines of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERTRAND: So, the number of incidents like this has been increasing over the last several months, according to Indo-Pacific Command. And in
December, there was another incident where a Chinese fighter aircraft got so close to the same kind of U.S. aircraft that it was only about within 20
feet of the nose of that U.S. spy plane.
So, that obviously created a lot of concern within the U.S. about why the Chinese are apparently becoming more provocative in their actions here in
that airspace, which the Chinese say is their airspace, something that the U.S. does not recognize as this airspace as international. And they say
that they were conducting and have been conducting routine missions here.
But the Department of Defense has requested dozens of meetings over the last couple of months with Chinese leaders, with Chinese officials, to re-
open these lines of communication that have been closed essentially since last year. And they have not received a response in just this week.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore and that was also rejected. Zain.
ASHER: Okay, so, clearly, that doesn't need to be open lines of communication. But just in terms of the relationship between the U.S. and
China, that relationship is extremely strained right now. What needs to be done to avoid further provocative maneuvers by either side?
BERTRAND: Yeah, it is strange and it really goes back to those -- House Speaker -- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan last year
that prompted a huge condemnation, of course, from China. And then fast forward to this year when the Secretary of State cancelled his trip to
Beijing over a Chinese spy balloon that was transiting at the U.S., that the U.S. then promptly shot down.
So, tensions have been high over the last several months but the U.S. has continued to conduct these operations over the South China Sea, which the
Chinese say parts of which are part of its territory, something that the U.S. does not recognize.
And so, where the Chinese would say this needs to stop and the way to do it is for the U.S. to stop conducting these provocative, in their words,
maneuvers and exercises and reconnaissance over our territory, the U.S. would say, and they have said, according to a statement that was released
by Indo-Pacific Command just yesterday, along with this video, that they will continue to fly these missions in international airspace as part of
its regular efforts to collect intelligence.
And so, there really seem to be very far apart on this issue right now. And according to the U.S. anyway, the only way to resolve this is by
communication. The Chinese, though, not willing to do that until the U.S. actually moves forward with lifting some sanctions that were implemented by
the Trump administration in 2018 that China is still extremely angry over something. The Biden administration at this point has not signaled it's
willing to do. Zain.
ASHER: All right, Natasha Bertrand, live for us. Thank you so much. Today we're hearing a vow from North Korea. It says it will try again after an
attempt to launch a military satellite into orbit, didn't exactly go according to plan. South Korea's spy agency says that Pyongyang probably
rushed the launch. CNN's Paula Hancocks takes a closer look from Seoul, South Korea.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early morning sirens in both Seoul and Okinawa warned residents of North Korea's latest launch. A
military satellite launch that failed. Pyongyang said there were engine problems on its second stage. South Korea's military picked up what it
believes is debris from the rocket 200 kilometers off its west coast. North Korea admitting failure is rare, especially this quickly, but it says it
will try again as soon as possible.
UNKNOWN (through translator): North Korea's continued actions threaten the safety and security of our country, the region and the international
HANCOCKS: Pyongyang says it has put satellites into space before. The most recent, in 2016, claimed to be a weather satellite. It's unclear if the
satellite ever worked. Experts say this attempt shows Pyongyang is potentially a long way from having a useful satellite program.
MALCOLM DAVIS, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE: We're probably talking 10 or 20 satellites they would need to put up in order to have
continuous surveillance over the Korean Peninsula and the surrounding oceans. They're a long way away from that. They can't even get one
HANCOCKS: There was political fallout in Seoul as an air raid siren and an emergency text alert urged residents to evacuate, only to be told 20
minutes later it was a mistake. Seoul's mayor has apologized for any confusion.
UNKNOWN (through translator): I thought it was an urgent situation and soon it turned out to be false, so, I was very confused. Such important issue
must be delivered cautiously, but this time, it wasn't.
UNKNOWN (through translator): At the moment, the Korean government seems to have a backward system on issues as warnings and disasters, so it needs to
be improved, but it seems it's not going well.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): An erosion in trust for some of the emergency alert system in a country still technically at war with its northern neighbor.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has been clear about his desire for a military satellite, visiting what state-run media described as the finished
product earlier this month.
HANCOCKS (on-camera): North Korea gave an official maritime warning for this launch, as well as an expected flight path, something it does not do
for its regular missile launches. But Pyongyang insists that it needs a military satellite in order to be able to track and monitor the, quote,
dangerous military acts of the United States. Paula Hancocks, CNN Seoul.
ASHER: All right, still to come here on One World. Russian President Vladimir Putin could head to South Africa in August to join a BRICS summit
there. We'll tell you why that move is controversial later on this hour. And later, one of the biggest inventors in Silicon Valley talks to me about
the threat posed by artificial intelligence.
ASHER: For decades, nuclear war or deadly pandemics have been seen as the biggest threats to mankind. Now, some technology experts are warning that
we could add, we should add rather, artificial intelligence to the list of things that could bring about our extinction.
In a short but alarming letter, 300 of the world's leading researchers and executives in the AI industry said controlling their technology should be a
global priority. They add that AI presents a societal scale risks similar to pandemics or nuclear war. Among those signing the letter was the head of
Google's AI research division and the CEO of OpenAI, the company that of course produces ChatGPT.
Let's talk more about the AI threat with one of the leading figures in the tech industry. Roger McNamee was an early investor in Facebook who later
warned about the societal risks of social media. He is also the Co-Founder of the venture cap firm, Elevation Partners.
Roger, thank you so much for being with us. People are already talking about this sort of AI arms race that we're entering into this idea that
companies are prioritizing, sort of building these systems, the development and sort of the power of these systems over their safety. Is it too late at
this point to slow things down?
ROGER MCNAMEE, CO-FOUNDER, ELEVATION PARTNERS: Not at all. The first thing to understand, Zane, is that this letter and the ones that preceded are all
attempts to deflect responsibility. They are trying to make it appear that AI is somehow this inevitable force, that it is something beyond human
control. And that is completely ridiculous.
The 350 people who signed this thing are making automation software. That is what they do. They can stop it. They could control themselves and not do
AI can do great good. There are applications, for example, in drug discovery, where they carefully curate the training set in order to make
new drugs. That's a really valuable use of AI, but that is not what these people are doing.
What these people are doing is they're going out there and they are stealing content from the web, basically taking copyrighted material and
any junk they may find in order to create these humongous data sets, then to create clever, fun apps that do enormous harm. And the issue we should
be worried about is not extinction, but rather all the harms that are being done every single day in the form of discrimination in predictive policing,
discrimination in mortgages, discrimination in jobs.
All these things are early versions of the same kind of automation that we're talking about here. And the current one, ChatGPT, is in the process
of essentially undermining what little credibility remains on the internet by filling it with junk.
ASHER: So, let me ask you this. Sam Altman, obviously, was just on Capitol Hill talking to lawmakers about the importance of the AI industry being
regulated. So, whose responsibility, if we're talking about regulation, that's obviously an important aspect of it.
Whose responsibility is it? You talk about, obviously, the tech companies being able to slow progress down and avoiding this sort of AI arms race
that we're already in. But of course, lawmakers have a responsibility, as well. What should they be doing now?
MCNAMEE: So, the core issue here is the incentives in the United States. The companies have been told by everyone, including policymakers, that they
owe a fiduciary responsibility to one group of people only, shareholders.
If everything is about maximizing shareholder value, then nothing else matters. Safety doesn't matter, democracy doesn't matter, public health
doesn't matter. And as a consequence, the incentives have driven people to make increasingly dangerous technology products, not just in AI.
Obviously, social media was incredibly dangerous. Cryptocurrencies have been dangerous. You know, a lot of the smart devices you see out there are
dangerous. And the key thing to recognize here is that the incentives are broken and government has a responsibility.
We see this going on in Europe now, an attempt to change the priorities, to change the incentives of the industry, to require public safety, and to
require much greater cooperation with democracy. In the United States, we have no such limits. And it is essential that Congress act to create rules
for safety, rules for privacy, and rules for competition.
It's not complicated. These are things Congress has done many times in the past. And the tech industry, despite what they tell you, is much less
complicated than industries that are regulated routinely, like banking and like healthcare.
ASHER: So, just in terms of what's, you know, Sam Altman, the head of OpenAI, should be doing now. I mean, obviously, it's been less than a year
or so since ChatGPT was released to the public. So, the cat is technically out of the bag. What should OpenAI be doing right now? Just give me some
specifics, just in terms of being able to slow things down and protect the public from some of the risks that we've just laid out.
MCNAMEE: Again, I think the framing of your question, Zain, is probably not the most helpful way to look at this. Right now, Sam Altman is trying to
pretend as though he has no control over what open AI is doing. He's trying to pretend that somehow this is like Godzilla and it's running through
Tokyo and wrecking everything and there's nothing he can do. I mean, this is completely ridiculous.
ASHER: But to be fair -- to be fair, he asked -- he has also asked lawmakers to step in when it comes to regulating AI. And so that is
something that he has done. I mean, why is that not enough? Surely lawmakers should be doing more at this point, as well.
MCNAMEE: They certainly should, but let us not, let us not take our eye off the ball. These people are creating dangerous products with full knowledge.
They are violating the copyrights of all the people whose content they steal with full knowledge. They know they are doing this.
I think a better way of looking at what Sam Waltman is doing is this is a very clever public relations strategy. He's trying to inoculate himself so
that later on he can say, I told you so. He's making a bet that Congress in the United States is so broken that it cannot do anything. That has been a
great bet. The tech industry's been making that bet for a decade and it's worked consistently.
So, I do think it's really important that the public do two things. One, stop using these crappy products. That's the first thing we can do.
ASHER: All right.
MCNAMEE: The second thing we do is go to Congress and say, excuse me, technology products today are dangerous because you people have been absent
without leave. You have not done your job in regulating them. This isn't actually that complicated. This industry is so much simpler than healthcare
and banking, and yet we pretend like it's too complicated for Congress to deal with. And that just isn't so.
ASHER: All right, Roger, back to me. You've made your stance very clear. Thank you so much for joining us on the program. We appreciate it.
MCNAMEE: My pleasure.
ASHER: We'll be right back with more.
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. Let's catch up on the headlines. An explosion in Lebanon that killed five members of a militant
group was due to an accidental detonation. That's what Lebanese and Palestinian authorities tell Reuters. The militant group blamed an Israeli
strike, but there are no reports of any such strike near the Syrian border. The group was reportedly moving the munitions when they exploded.
Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was back in court Wednesday. His request for more time to review and access documents in his extremism case was
denied. The court says Navalny's trial will start on June 6th. If convicted, the Putin critic could get 30 years in prison.
On Capitol Hill today, the U.S. House is set to debate and then vote on a critical debt ceiling bill aimed at averting a catastrophic default.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his top allies are confident the bipartisan deal will pass. The deadline to get it through both chambers
of Congress and signed into law is in a matter of days.
Joining us live now is Melanie Zanona from Capitol Hill. So, Melanie, just explain to us what happens in terms of getting through this bill through
the House. Is it likely to pass at this point? And how many Democrats are needed to get it over the hump?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, confidence is growing in both parties that they are going to be able to pass this through the House
today. But that doesn't mean that there isn't opposition from both the left and the right, because Democrats are concerned about the stricter work
requirements for food stamp recipients, concerned about the cuts to domestic spending programs.
And there's a number of Republicans who don't think that the cuts go far enough, and they don't like that this extends ceiling all the way into
2025, which is longer than they would like. But despite that, GOP leadership and Democratic leadership have been working behind the scenes to
sell this deal to their members, to whip this deal. And ultimately, it is going to come down to a coalition of members in the middle.
Republicans are expected to be able to put up somewhere around 150 votes. And Democrats are saying they will be able to make up the difference. So,
we are expecting to pass the House, then it goes over to the Senate, where they also say they're going to be able to pass this, it's just going to
take some time, because the Senate can move a little bit slower. Any single member can really slow things up.
So, it could take a couple days if they don't have what's known as a time agreement. But one other thing to look out for here is the margins, because
the margins really matter for Speaker Kevin McCarthy. In his quest to become Speaker, he promised his members that he would not put bills on the
floor unless they have the majority of his party's support.
So, a majority of the majority rule and conservatives are already threatening to try to remove him as Speaker if he violates that pledge with
this debt ceiling deal. But as of right now, Kevin McCarthy expressing confidence he's gonna have the votes and he's gonna keep his job, Zain.
ASHER: All right, we'll see what happens. Melanie Zanona, live for us there. Thank you so much. I want to take a closer look now at a
controversial move by South Africa. The government is granting diplomatic immunity for all the leaders attending the BRICS summit there in August.
This could clear the way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the summit without being arrested.
But in the press release, the government added that the immunities are to protect the conference and its attendees, not necessarily for specific
individuals, adding that, quote, these immunities do not override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal against any
attendee of the conference.
A warrant for Mr. Putin's arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court in March over alleged war crimes in Ukraine. The ICC accuses him of
unlawfully deporting children from Russian-occupied territory into Ukraine.
Moscow denies the charges and says the ICC has no authority, as Russia is not a member. South Africa, however, is a signatory to the ICC and is
obliged to arrest Mr. Putin if he sets foot in the country. So, is the nation using a legal loophole that would allow it to host Mr. Putin without
violating the ICC Rome Statute?
Time now for the exchange and more on the moves by the South African government. Let's bring in Zane Dangor, he is the Director General of the
Department of International Relations and Corporation, which announced the decision on Monday. He joins us live now from Cape Town. Zain, thank you so
much for being with us. Despite diplomatic immunities being granted here, which, of course, I understand is something that typically happens at these
high-level conferences, can you confirm that if Vladimir Putin was to enter into South Africa in August, that he will indeed be arrested.
ZANE DANGOR, DIRECTOR GENERAL, SOUTH AFRICAN DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION: I can confirm that what we have done does not
take away our responsibility in terms of the ICC or any international tribunal for drossity crimes. So, in terms of obligations to the -- in
terms of the ICC, we will have to -- we'll have to be, you know, comply with that. The -- the -- what was announced this week is standard and it
doesn't deviate from our obligations in terms of international law --
ASHER: So --
DANGOR: And we will have to assess what happens over the next couple of weeks or so, but we will -- whatever decision we make will be in line with
obligations to international law and our own domestic law.
ASHER: Okay, just to confirm, are you saying that Vladimir Putin will be arrested if he does set foot in South Africa in two months?
DANGOR: South Africa will be obligated to act on the warrant if nothing changes between now and the next couple of months. You know, we don't know
whether the engagement we're having with the Hague around whether a waiver has been received from Russia and whether they need the waiver. So, these
are legal technicalities that we need to look at. If there is no legal way for President Putin to attend, we will have to take a different decision
ASHER: Has Vladimir Putin actually said, just in terms of your conversations with, for example, the Russian Foreign Ministry, obviously
Sergey Lavrov has visited South Africa many times. Have the Russians actually said that they will be attending the BRICS summit in person? Have
they confirmed that yet?
DANGOR: We have not had that discussion with them in the light of the developments since the invitation was sent. The invitation to President
Putin was sent before the war came out. We were looking at what our responsibilities are fully in terms of the Rome Statute, all of the
provisions in the Rome Statute. And once we have clarity about what the final legal position is, we will engage with the Russians about what the
way forward is. So, there's been no confirmation either way.
ASHER: Have there been any conversations about --okay, have there been any conversations about perhaps Vladimir Putin attending the summit virtually?
I mean, obviously, just in terms of the thorny legal issues here, that would make South Africa's position a lot easier. Have there been any
conversations about getting Vladimir Putin to only attend virtually?
DANGOR: Not yet. We haven't had those discussions yet. Once we are clear on what the final legal positions are, we will engage with President Putin and
also the other leaders, the heads of states of BRICS, to find out what would be the best way to ensure that South Africa complies with its
obligations under their own statute.
ASHER: And obviously, South Africa is, of course, a party, a signatory to the ICC. But there are certain legal loopholes. The legal element of this
is hazy at times, particularly Article 98 of the ICC Rome Statute, which says, the court may not proceed with a request for surrender, which would
require a state to act inconsistently with its obligations under international law with respect to the state or diplomatic immunity of a
person. Is that the area that you're looking at, just in terms of possibly looking into some kind of legal loophole to avoid arresting Vladimir Putin
if he was to enter into South Africa?
DANGOR: So, I wouldn't use the word loophole. I would look at what our obligations are fully under the Rome Statute. So, you know, this is a novel
situation. It's the first time that a non-state party head of state has a warrant, and that this warrant arises, does not arise from the Security
If it came from the Security Council, that immunity would have been waived automatically as the case was with El-Bashir. This is not the case and this
is why we need to get an understanding from the ICC and the prosecutor whether they sought the waiver as is required under Article 98. They may
also tell us that they don't require the waiver and then we need to understand what the legal explanation for that is.
And so, it is a technical discussion and for us it's about complying with obligations fully under their own statute as opposed to looking for
ASHER: Just in terms of, and this is something that the Democratic Alliance, the opposition in South Africa, has brought up several times. I
mean, just in terms of South Africa's relationship with the U.S. and the E.U., the U.S. and the E.U., of course, very, very important trading
partners for South Africa, far more important, actually, than Russia.
Just explain to us if the South African government is truly aware of what they're risking in terms of jeopardizing their relationship, their
financial and economic relationship with the U.S. and the E.U. if this BRICS summit was to take place with Vladimir Putin attending without him
DANGOR: I think we are very aware of the very important relationship we have with the U.S. and also the very important relationships we have with
the individual countries in the E.U. and the E.U. as a whole. And we're very aware of the fact that there's difference of opinions. We maintain
that we're actively in the line.
We do not take any sides in this war, doesn't mean that we are agnostic about the human rights abuses. We understand, we have an analysis of what
NATO may or may not have done definitely to prevent this war, but we do not condone the unlawful use of force by Russia and we've made that very clear.
We do see it as an illegal war and we're focusing our attentions and our efforts at the moment on building peace between Russia and Ukraine.
So, over the next couple of weeks, six African heads of states will be visiting both Ukraine and Russia to look at whether we could get them
around the table to at least get the ceasefire in place so that negotiations towards, you know, peace can continue. That is what we engage
in with the U.S. on, we engage in with the E.U. and the G7 on, because I think it's in the interest of the globe that we have peace in Europe. You
know, this conflict could escalate into one that could be catastrophic for the entire world, as it does involve nuclear powers.
ASHER: You talk about being non-aligned, but I think the question that a lot of people have is whether or not South Africa is neutral. And what I
mean by that is, obviously, South Africa has entertained Sergey Lavrov who has visited, of course.
But on top of that, it's the sort of joint military exercises between South Africa and Russia, for example, the fact that South Africa has been accused
by the U.S. embassy of sending weaponry to Moscow. Can you see why many people would question whether or not South Africa was truly neutral
situation when it comes to the war between Russia and Ukraine?
DANGOR: The Lady R incident is one that concerns us and, you know, as I said earlier on the show that there's a set of facts coming from the U.S.,
we're waiting for the evidence.
There's a set of facts that our defense ministries put forward, and that, you know, from our defense ministry, is that no arms was given to Russia,
because if any arms was given to Russia to break our own domestic laws, that's why the president has set up a commission of inquiry led by a
retired judge to investigate what actually happened to see what, you know, what set of facts prevail.
So, as soon as we get the kind of evidence from the U.S. and they have promised to give it to us, certain actions will be taken if it is found
that our domestic laws have been broken. The military exercises with Russia and China, you know, when we engage with the State Department and the
Pentagon and others, they did not have an in principle opposition to us having these kinds of military exercises because we do the same with the
U.S. and others.
I think for them, and we agree with them on this, is that the timing of this was unfortunate. And it could give an impression that we may be, you
know, biased towards Russia. But as the government, we very firmly stand that we are actively non-aligned. We do not condone the unlawful use of
force. We're very concerned about the loss of life of Ukrainians and Russians, but it's Ukrainian civilians that are feeling the brunt of this
war and we are quite keen to see that peace prevails.
ASHER: All right, Zane Dangor, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, just in CNN, the Sudanese armed forces have suspended U.S. and
Saudi-led talks with its rival, the Rapid Support Forces. Sudan's military accuses the RSF of violating a ceasefire. Just this Monday, the two sides
agreed to a five-day ceasefire extension to provide more time for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
All right, still to come here, you'll see a South African start-up that's empowering small businesses there with new and easy online payments. That's
ASHER: Panama's government is declaring an environmental emergency because of an ongoing drought. Portions of two of the country's biggest man-made
lakes have completely dried out. The lakes provide water to more than half of Panama. Officials are worried that a coming El Nino could cause rainfall
to drop even further and bring hotter temperatures. Small businesses in South Africa contribute to a third of the country's GDP, but they can often
feel overlooked by the big banks and lenders.
Financial tech start-up SnapScan is working to plug this gap by developing different payment products and services for small businesses in the
country. The details are in today's Africa Insider.
MARIN CUNDALL, CEO, SNAPSCAN: We want to help grow a million sustainable small businesses. So, that's kind of our large, big, hairy, audacious goal
that we've set for ourselves. And we kind of use that as a first principle of whether we make product decisions or business decisions. Is it serving
that end? I'm Marin Cundal. I'm CEO of SnapScan.
So, SnapScan started in 2013 as a way for businesses to accept card payments via a QR code. A customer can scan and pay without the merchant
having to stop what they're doing. And so that checkout and that kind of sale interaction becomes really seamless and really self-service for the
Since then, we've opened up to provide e-commerce capabilities so merchants can trade online as well as providing a SnapStore pro-card device so that
the businesses can accept card payments at their point of sale.
CAMERON NAIDOO, MANAGER, FUNKI FUNGI: Because we deal with such a big volume of clients that we have through the market share, it's fast and
efficient and you know, it works well for our company and our business.
CUNDALL: There's a lot of competition in the payment space in South Africa, in particular. The rise of tap to pay on the mobile payments, customer
value proposition, and then the rise of prolific and really affordable car terminals on the merchant side. So, really figuring out how we deliver
additional value beyond QR payments has been, you know, one of our biggest challenges.
So, around the payment products, really, what we're looking at doing is to offer preferential lending to small businesses that works with their cash
flow. So, that would mean that if a small business gets a cash advance of 50,000 Rand and they have, you know, a down month, the collections will be
variably lower, so a lower percentage of their daily transactions.
And then when they kind of start to boom again or kind of have an uptick in sales, that's when the variable collections will increase in line. And so,
if we're able to do that even partially well, that really will hopefully contribute to improved economic growth and job creation in South Africa.
ASHER: A New York appeals court has agreed to protect the billionaire Sackler family from future lawsuits over their role in Purdue farmers
opioid business. In exchange for immunity, the family agreed to a $6 billion settlement with several states and individuals. Purdue has first
introduced the drug Oxycontin in the 1990s as a non-addictive.
The story of a sunken tourist charter in an Italian lake has taken a surprising turn. The boat sank when it was hit by a water spout Sunday in
Italy's Lake Maggiore. Twenty-three people were on board and four of them died. It now turns out that all the passengers and the ship were connected
to the Italian and Israeli intelligence and defense communities. CNN's Barbie Nadeau has more on that.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A peaceful day on a picturesque Italian lake turns deadly. A deadly accident turns mysterious.
Four people were killed, including two Italian intelligence officers and a retired Israeli defense official, when a chartered houseboat sank in a
sudden storm on Lake Maggiore Sunday. The captain said a waterspout appeared in a sudden storm. The Italian captain's Russian girlfriend also
The Goduria boat was listed on a boat chartering website for 2000 euros a day, with an advertised maximum capacity of 15 passengers. But on the fatal
Sunday, there were 21 passengers, plus two crew members on board, all passengers in some way tied to Italian and Israeli intelligence work, the
prosecutor's office said.
The survivors said they were celebrating a birthday. Italians Tiziana Barnobi and Claudio Alonzi were active secret service agents, the Italian
government confirmed. The Israeli citizen Erez Shimoni was retired. Israel's prime minister's office called him a dear friend to the country's
The Italian prosecutor said passengers are not under investigation and would not comment on what they might have been doing on the boat. The
captain is under investigation for culpable manslaughter. Efforts to salvage the boat are being closely watched by Italian security officials
and should provide more clues to the mysterious Sunday outing turned deadly. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.
ASHER: New Yorkers and tourists got to see the city's dazzling skyline in a new light. They gathered to see the so-called Manhattan Henge on Monday.
That's a twice a year solar event when the sun aligns with the Manhattan grid, creating a radiant glow of light. It's similar to what happens in
England's Stonehenge. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who invented the word, says Manhattan Henge brings not magic but majesty to New York.
Thank you so much for watching One World. I'm Zain Asher. Amanpour is up next. You're watching CNN.