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One World with Zain Asher
CNN Uncovers Russian Supply Lines Prolonging Conflict Between RSF and Sudan Armed Forces; African Leaders Arrive in Kyiv on a Peace Mission; Nine Egyptian Men Arrested on Suspicion of People Trafficking Near a Coast Off of Greece; Chinese President Xi Jinping Meets with Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 16, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Isa Soares coming to you live from London and this is One World. The conflict in Sudan has now entered
its third month and since it began in April, more than one million children have been displaced. That is according to UNICEF. Tragically it says 330
children have been among the fatalities there.
The conflict broke out in April between Sudan's army and the paramilitary rapid support forces and despite numerous attempts at ceasefires, the
fighting rages on. Civilians are suffering, with the U.N. reporting most hospitals near conflict areas are actually out of service.
While Sudanese rights organizations say atrocities are being committed in Darfur, and CNN has uncovered evidence that the Russian mercenary group
Vagna is complicit continuing to support Sudan's rapid support forces paramilitary throughout the months of fighting, despite calls by the way by
U.S. and others for support to cease.
An exclusive CNN investigation, we uncovered the Russian supply lines, prolonging the conflict between the RSF and Sudan's armed forces that have
displaced around two million people since mid-April and pushed the country further into a humanitarian crisis. The RSF denies links to Wagner and any
involvement in mass rape.
As part of this investigation, CNN verified and corroborated incidents of rape perpetrated by the RSF, including one which was captured on video that
we feel, it is important in the face of the RSF's repeated denials to broadcast part of that video. But we must warn you, it is graphic and it is
disturbing. Here's CNN's Nima Elbagir
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The fighting on the streets of Sudan is relentless. Ceasefire after ceasefire
has not helped. Forces previously accused of genocide returning to a well- worn playbook. Terrorize, expel, and ethnically cleanse.
The paramilitary rapid support forces RSF are currently engaged in a fight for dominance with Sudan's army. But years before that rivalry spilled
blood in Sudan's streets, they were implicated in atrocities in Darfur. Now, once again, Darfur to the west of the country is stalked by the
specter of genocide.
The damage wrought by these forces is so extensive you can see it from satellite images. This is El-Geneina, West Darfur. Hundreds killed, whole
districts razed to the ground. And it's not only El-Geneina that is burning. This is Andur. And this, Kadumi (ph).
On the ground, it looks like this. These scenes, sadly familiar in Darfur. Twenty years ago, the region descended into genocide. The same RSF
leadership in place as their men killed, occupied and raped. Now, once again, women's bodies are part of the field of war. This video is too
disturbing to broadcast in full, but it goes on to show a girl believed to be just 15 years old being raped. You see here a man in light-colored
fatigues. matching those worn by the RSF, we've paused the video just before the camera pans to show another soldier wearing the same uniform,
forcing himself onto the prone girl.
CNN verified and geolocated the area where this happened. We're not revealing the exact location in Khartoum to protect our sources and the
young girl. This is not an isolated incident. We received and reviewed dozens of cases where women say they were raped by RSF soldiers.
Identifying them by their light-colored fatigues and the insignia on their right shoulders. So, who is complicit in this pain?
The RSF's key ally, the notorious Russian mercenary group, Wagner, has been sustaining their fight and providing the impetus to slaughter innocent
people by supplying arms. We're going to show you how. This is an Ilyushin 76 cargo plane operated by Wagner sitting at a Libyan airbase. A previous
CNN investigation exposed how this Russian cargo plane was providing the RSF with deadly arms from a Russian naval base in Latakia, Syria via
Wagner-controlled bases in Libya. This pattern starts just days before the war begins in Sudan. Libya, Syria, and back, and it picks up pace.
What's interesting here is the new focus on the city where it goes next, Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. After our exposure of
the Libya route, a route directly from the Central African Republic into Darfur became crucial for the RSF. Eyewitnesses at key transit points and
intelligence active in the region told CNN, arms and supplies from this elusion transported overland using the truck captured here and others like
First to a Wagner base in Birao and then into South Darfur to an RSF base in Um Dafuq. Wagner putting their thumb on the scales here to secure access
to Sudan's resources through Darfur creating chaos and terror, helping tip the balance of power in their war in Ukraine, whatever the cost. Nima
Elbagir, CNN, Juba, South Sudan.
SOARES: Nima Elbagir with that exclusive report. The U.S. State Department responded to CNN's investigation saying that attacks on civilians must end.
The Department's Africa Bureau tweeted that the war has brought back rape, murder, ethnic-based killings and the destruction of whole villages in
Darfur. The blame, according to the statements you can see there, lies with the RSF and its allies.
Well, Russia meanwhile has launched a massive missile attack on Kyiv, even as African leaders arrived in Ukrainian capital on a mission of peace.
Ukraine says at least six people were injured as residential areas were hit. Ukraine's military claims it brought down a dozen Russian missiles
that includes six hypersonic Kinzhals.
And the African delegation includes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who's been criticized for his close ties to the Kremlin. The
leaders will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That will happen today and then they will head to Russia for talks with President
Vladimir Putin that is happening on Saturday.
Meanwhile, there is fierce fighting on the southern front. Early on Friday, Ukraine said its soldiers have had partial success and that Russian troops
put desperate resistance around Bakhmut. Meanwhile, Russia has a different take on the war's progress.
President Vladimir Putin says Ukraine is not breaking through Russia's defenses and will soon run out of military equipment. He spoke earlier at
the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Mr. Putin also says that Kyiv's losses on the battlefield are 10 times that of Moscow's and that
Ukraine has no chance against Russia.
Keeping an eye across all these new developments, Sam Kylie is following all of this from us from Kyiv. And Sam, I think it's fair to say, look,
it's been a while since you and I have spoken about diplomatic efforts at least to end this war. So, talk us through this African delegation, what
they're hoping to achieve and whether Kyiv is potentially on board with their peace initiative here. Sam.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that Cyril Ramaphosa in particular, if he did have a role to play, given that recently
the Russians have enjoyed cordial relations, to say the least, with South Africa, having joint military exercises with their naval exercises
recently, accused by the United States of supporting Russia militarily, certainly condemned for failing to condemn sufficiently loudly the Russian
invasion here, it could be argued that Cyril Ramaphosa is a good go- between, given that he could have the ear of both presidents.
But during his visit here, alongside the leaders of and representatives of six other African nations, the city of Kyiv came under attack. So, that
rather undermines the kind of goodwill potentially between Ramaphosa and Vladimir Putin, not least because the city was attacked with these
Kinzhals, six of which were shot down, Isa.
But this is all coming at a crucial time when the whole international communities are getting increasingly rattled not just by Putin's boasts
about, frankly, fictitious boasts about the state of the war in Ukraine, but much more about his threat to use nuclear weapons at that same forum
that he's been addressing. He has just said that nuclear weapons could be used if the future of the sovereignty or the Russian Federation itself was
Now, that could be interpreted in a number of ways, but it is clear that he is threatening to use nuclear weapons, and in particular, tactical nuclear
weapons that are on their way, he says, into Belarus, where they will be established. Now, the Belarusian President has also hinted that they might
use nuclear weapons, but in fact, those weapons will remain under Russian control there.
But all of this adding up, Isa, to a very troubling nuclear scenario for the international community, an absolutely deliberate maneuver by Putin
because if he does start to lose ground significantly in Ukraine, he might be tempted to up the ante in terms of threats to use the nuclear weapons
because he knows that will result, probably, or he could certainly gamble a lot of money on the idea that the more he threatens to use nuclear weapons,
the more he's gonna get listened to, even by those who absolutely condemned Russia's actions.
SOARES: Yeah, hoping he has some sort of leverage, but of course fictional boasts is something we have heard many a times from President Putin. Sam,
appreciate it, thank you very much. And we'll have much more on the African leaders' trip to Kyiv, as well as St Petersburg, as well as the diplomatic
impact they may have. That's going to happen in about 10 minutes or so right here on the show.
Well, U.N. agencies are calling for urgent as well as decisive action to prevent more deaths at sea after the latest disaster on the Mediterranean.
A boat carrying hundreds of migrants sank on Wednesday killing at least 78 people.
Many of the survivors were transferred by bus to a migrant camp near Athens on Friday. Nine crew members have been arrested on suspicion of people
smuggling and other charges. Our Melissa Bell has more now from Kalamata in Greece.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Nine Egyptian men have been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking, just some of those who
survived the disaster of Wednesday morning here, not far from the coast off of Greece. Those men now are under arrest. The other survivors, most of
them, those who are not still in hospital, have now been transferred towards Athens where their asylum applications will be processed.
It is, of course, the fate of the other now believed to have been many hundreds who may have lost their lives that has been forefront of the mind
of so many people hoping for answers, some of those, desperate relatives that turned up here in Kalamata hoping that their loved ones had survived.
As the survivors were taken away to Athens, one man who'd been looking for his brother was able to see him, touch him, hold him through a fence.
Most of those who turned up here in Kalamata, of course, were disappointed. Given the scale of the tragedy is now believed that 750 people may have
been traveling on the boat, we may never know their true numbers and we're unlikely ever to know their actual name.
We do understand from the survivors that there were women and children on board. They were in the hold and, of course, given what the Greek Coast
Guard say about the 10 to 15 minutes that it took for the boat to sink, they had very little hope of being able to make it out. What the NGOs that
work in places like Kalamata and all around the Mediterranean fear now is that given the tightening of European policies with regard to immigration,
that these kinds of tragedies may actually increase. Melissa Bell, CNN, Kalamata, Greece.
SOARES: Well, the U.S. Justice Department has just issued a blistering report on the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation was launched
after George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin during a 2020 arrest, sparking, as you remember, nationwide protests. The report
details racial discrimination, excessive use of force and significant deficiencies in the department's accountability system.
DOJ investigators say the systemic problems, quote, made what happened to George Floyd possible. Here's what U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland
said, with more. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We found that the Minneapolis Police Department routinely uses excessive force, often when no force is
necessary, including unjust, deadly force and unreasonable use of tasers. MPD officers discharge firearms at people without assessing whether the
person presents any threat, let alone a threat that would justify deadly force.
We also found that MPD officers routinely disregard the safety of people in their custody. Our review found numerous incidents in which MPD officers
responded to a person's statement that they could not breathe with the version of, you can breathe, you're talking right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is gauging reaction from Minneapolis. And Adrian, before we talk about the reaction, just talk us through this
blistering report. I was just looking at what it said. It said, officers would frequently, I'm quoting here, use neck restraints without warning and
use the restraints against individuals, including teenagers accused of low- level offenses. I mean, this is quite something.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, for some that don't live in the city of Minneapolis or the neighboring communities, this report comes
as a surprise, but it is not a surprise for the people who call Minneapolis home. The report really paints a picture of what some folks in the
community, especially black folks, have been saying for decades.
One nugget of information you talked about, the teenager that was referenced there, when it comes to blacks and Native Americans here in
Minneapolis, they're six times more likely than their white counterparts to be pulled over by police. Let's take a look at some of the other highlights
from this report that the Department of Justice found.
For example, MPD uses excessive force, including unjustified deadly force and other types of force. This report that the Department of Justice found.
For example, MPD uses excessive force, including unjustified deadly force and other types of force. It specifically talked about the use of tasers.
MPD also unlawfully discriminates against black and Native American people in its enforcement activities, and it violates the rights of people engaged
in protected speech. There was a lot of talk about journalists there. And not only the city also discriminates against people with behavioral and
I spoke with Nekima Levy Armstrong ahead of the announcement today. She told me she was not surprised by what this report detailed. You may or may
not know she was the person who called the former police chief when George Floyd was killed, telling the chief to look at the video that was captured
by Darnella Frazier. The chief thought George Floyd's incident was a medical incident because that's what the officers had reported. Listen to
what Nekima Levy Armstrong had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG, ATTORNEY AND FOUNDER, THE RACIAL JUSTICE NETWORK: There's no doubt that this report found many egregious incidences of
excessive force and abuse and probably even the use of deadly force unjustifiably on the part of the Minneapolis Police Department. Although
I'm unsure how far the DOJ will go in terms of pulling the curtain back on the horrific behaviors of Minneapolis police officers that again they've
been allowed to get away with for so many years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: So, the big question now is what is next? What will reform look like? There are at least 28 suggestions, as you probably saw, listed in
this report, but it's not going to happen overnight. It is going to take some time. And this is one step toward progress. Isa.
SOARES: Reform, but what has been the comment from Minneapolis as to this report? What do they have to say for themselves?
BROADDUS: You know, we heard from the city's mayor, Jacob Fry, as well as Chief O'Hara, who it's important to underscore was not the chief of police
during the time of the killing of George Floyd. The mayor says that they needed this help. The mayor says the city is happy. The Department of
Justice came in and took its time with this report, and they are willing to make change. The chief of police said, quote, and I'm paraphrasing here
that the good cops and the good people who want to see this shift and a cultural change within the department are willing and ready to do the work.
SOARES: Adrienne Broaddus, appreciate it. Thanks very much for joining us there from Minneapolis. And coming up right here on the show, the leaders
of several African nations are in Kyiv, as we told you at the top of the show, hoping to mediate peace between Ukraine and Russia. We'll have more
on their mission and its chances for success. That is just ahead.
SOARES: Welcome back everyone. I want to take a closer look, a deeper look in fact, at Africa's peace mission in Ukraine. An Africa delegation,
including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet the Ukrainian president on Friday and then head to Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin.
That's happening on Saturday. They see a chance to mediate in a war that has hit African countries especially hard while the war is impacting the
global food supply chain. The fallout of course from the war is aggravating food insecurity in Africa, as well as food inflation, and worsening an
existing hunger crisis.
A Black Sea grain export deal has helped alleviate some of that pressure, but Russia has threatened to quit the agreement separately. The leaders are
trying to make a difference when it comes to issues of global governance from peace in Ukraine to climate change.
Well, the African Union has had success in mediating peace. If you remember, it got Ethiopia, as well as Tigray fighters to lay down their
arms. Can this African delegation have an impact? I want to get more from Gyude Moore, a Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Gyude, great to have you back on the show. Let's start then on this delegation. What do you think they can achieve here?
GYUDE MOORE, SENIOR POLICY FELLOW, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, thanks again for having me. I think the first thing is to ensure that grain
inputs remain available to the continent. And so first, it's self- interested. They want to ensure that the problems they face with accessing grains, these problems are mitigated. But more importantly, I think they're
gonna try to see if they can make a change in the dynamics of the war and bring some sort of peace to it. Many African countries, more than half,
have refused to condemn Russia. And so, they believe they have leverage in dealing with Russia on this issue.
SOARES: So, let's talk about those dynamics, Gyude, because so far, we have seen Turkey, France and China, as well as the Pope, act as some sort of
peacemakers. You know, Turkey has probably been more effective, of course, at the beginning of this grain deal. Do we have this strategy here from
this African leadership? And do you think they can be effective interlocutors here?
MOORE: So, I think there is hope. So, you have to remember that when the West led by the United States attempted to isolate Russia, the foreign
minister of Russia went on this trip to Africa where he tried to use African countries as sort of a wall against global isolation and succeeded
to a certain extent. And so, the hope from the African part is that they have won some sort of goodwill with Russia.
I am skeptical of how successful they can be because as your correspondent said, even as they arrived in Kyiv, Kyiv came under a barrage of missiles
from Russia. And where China has failed, where France has failed, where Turkey hasn't been able to make much progress, it just seems unlikely that
this delegation of Africans is going to be able to make a significant, move the dial significantly more than has been moved already.
SOARES: Let me ask you this, because we've seen, Gyude, Reuters says it's seen a draft document of the framework. And that includes, I'm gonna read
here, Russian troops pulled back, removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of implementation of an international criminal course
of the ICC, arrest warrant targeting Putin and sanctions relief. How much of that do you think that Zelenskyy will agree to? I mean, how realistic is
MOORE: Well, obviously they have to put something on the table. But again, the chances of success are, you know, to be optimistic, not great. Because
one is that when the African delegation came to Kyiv, they went to the neighborhood where bodies were found in unmarked graves, and they leave
flowers there. The idea that the Ukrainians would abandon some sort of justice for them through the International Criminal Court process seems
really unlikely. And it's also unlikely that the Russians acquiesce, would remove tactical nuclear weapons because it gives them some sort of leverage
More importantly, Ukraine has already rejected every attempt of peace that includes ceding any territory to the Russians. So, it's not clear that if
the Africans are going to find success here where others have failed.
SOARES: So, when they go then to -- when they go to Russia, to Moscow tomorrow and they meet with President Putin, what do you think will be
Will it be about the grain deal? Is that the priority, given, of course, the fallout that we've seen from the war, disrupting supplies -- food
supplies, food inflation, is that gonna be the priority to start off with, do you think, Gyude?
MOORE: Absolutely. You have to imagine that the first and primary responsibility of governments is to protect their people and provide for
their people. So, ensuring that Africans have access to grains, have access to fertilizer, That's gonna be the first thing. However, both the African
Union and other African heads of state have actually pushed for Africa to have a more meaningful voice, a permanent seat at the G20, a permanent seat
on the U.N. Security Council.
So, this is an attempt for Africans to make a substantive contribution to issues of global governance, as you said, whether it be on climate change
or now in this situation, the war in Ukraine. So yes, that's gonna be the second thing. But first and foremost, it's gonna be the impact on the
SOARES: And of course, you hinted at the top there, Gyude, about the makeover of this delegation. There are some differing visions, I think it's
fair to say, within the members of this group vis-a-vis the war in Ukraine, with some, South Africa, I think it's fair to say, somewhat circumspect
regarding the war. Just talk us through these tensions then, and whether they can see eye to eye on all of this.
MOORE: Well, we've already seen that the South African delegation has faced significant disruption in trying to get to keep their security team has
been stopped in Poland for almost 24 hours. So, we see, there is an impression in the West that South Africa is sort of allied with Russia. The
South Africans have maintained that they're independent. They've always maintained that independence.
So, yeah, I think the presence of Ramaphosa on the team will raise those questions in the West. However, from the African perspective, it would seem
that because South Africa has already endured a lot from its Western partners because of this relationship with Russia, it gives South Africa
leverage. And so, that leverage attempts to bolster what leverage the Africans themselves can wield.
But, yeah, you're right. Some on the delegation voted against resolutions - - voted for resolutions condemning Russia, and others haven't. So. it is this complex mix of different interests that they're trying to represent in
reaching out to Russia. But again, as we noted earlier, the prospect of success is pretty dim.
SOARES: Look, Gyude, at least they're talking, right?
SOARES: Let's keep talking. That's a great starting point. Gyude Moore, always great to get your analysis. Thanks, Gyude.
MOORE: Thanks, Isa.
SOARES: And coming up at a time when Russia and China are both making pushes in Africa, can U.S. keep up? A conversation with one of Washington's
most experienced African diplomats, in just a moment.
SOARES: Hello. Welcome to One World. Let's catch up on the headlines for you. A judge in Kenya has ordered more than 60 followers of that suspected
starvation cult to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. They were charged with attempted suicide after refusing to eat food provided to them after they
were rescued. So far, authorities have uncovered the bodies of 318 people. Court documents seen by CNN allege the cult leader brainwashed his
followers into starving their children before themselves.
Police in Manitoba, Canada are investigating a horrific highway crash that left at least 15 people dead and put 10 others in the hospital. They say a
big rig collided with a bus on a rural highway on Thursday. It was full of mostly seniors headed to a casino. Flags have been lowered in Manitoba to
honor the victims.
Pope Francis is settling back in at the Vatican after doctors discharged him early on Friday from a Rome hospital. Surgeons repaired an abdominal
hernia nine days ago. The hospital team and other well-wishers gave the 86- year-old a big send-off, as you can see there, as he begins the rest of his recovery at home.
Well, the verdict is in for the man who went on a shooting spree at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue. A jury there has found Robert Bowers
guilty on 63 federal charges. Those charges including murder and several hate crimes. Eleven worshippers were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue
in October of 2018. He was also found guilty for the six people who were wounded at the scene. It is the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the
I want to bring in Danny Freeman, who is outside the courtroom with all the details. And of course, Danny, not just federal charges but also capital
offenses. Just talk us through this and what happens next now?
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Absolutely, Isa. Really, just in the past 30 to 40 minutes, we finally got the verdict that we've been
waiting for really four and a half years in this Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial. All 63 federal charges, guilty of -- Robert Bowers, that
was the charge by the jury. Twenty-two of those, capital offenses, as you noted.
And I just want to explain the capital offenses, if it's all right. The first ones were about obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs
resulting in death. So, that's the 11 victims who Robert Bowers killed, now convicted of murdering. He also murdered them while they were practicing
their Jewish faith. And also, the other capital charges were the use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime
of violence. Also convicted of all of the hate crimes that he was charged with, initially.
And I just want to say, this has been a long time coming for this community. Like I said, four and a half years ago on October 27, 2018, he
came into the Tree of Life Synagogue, there were three congregations worshiping there, and he killed 11 of them. Six of them he shot in the
And for the past three weeks we've been listening to really gut-wrenching testimony and a case from the prosecution that looked to specifically
illustrate that Robert Bowers killed these people specifically because he was Jewish, and they described how he went through the synagogue
methodically killing people as if it were a hunting ground.
Now, what's interesting is the prosecution called about 60 witnesses. The defense in this stage, with the guilt phase that we're in, called zero
witnesses to the stand. They only cross examined a handful. And yesterday in closing statements, the defense did not dispute that Bowers was the one
who pulled the trigger and killed those worshipers. However, the defense tried to call his motive into question, saying, no, no, this wasn't about
Jewish people. This was about one congregation's connection to a refugee resettlement organization. And this whole mass murder was actually about
his hatred of immigrants.
Well, the prosecution came back in rebuttal yesterday and said that argument is absurd and laid out a number of not only anti-Semitic posts
that the defendant Robert Bowers had made over the course of several years, but also illustrated the brutality of the actual shooting itself and the
intentionality that it was a Saturday morning where Jewish worshipers would be in that synagogue. He came there specifically and killed those folks.
The prosecution argued because they were Jewish and the jurors in this case agreed. Now, we move on to the death penalty phase that should take place
in the next, I should say, it should begin in the next week or so. Isa.
SOARES: Danny, thank you very much indeed for breaking it all down for us. We are going to turn our focus now to Africa and the Biden administration's
effort to enhance the U.S. presence on the continent. When Joe Biden hosted an African leaders' summit in December, he concluded it with a surprise
commitment. He pledged to visit Sub-Saharan Africa sometime this year, the first president to visit the heart of the continent in nearly a decade.
In February, U.S. First Lady Jill Biden, if you remember, spent five days visiting Namibia and Kenya, carrying a message of how the U.S. can help to
grow democracy as well as empower women. But China and Russia are pressing their own African agendas.
China, in particular, has made investments in Africa a priority. China is Africa's largest trading partner, reportedly doing four times as much
business with Africa as the U.S. does. All of this comes as many the African nations are pushing to be bigger players on the world stage as
shown of course by today's visit as we've been discussing by African leaders to war-torn Kyiv, Ukraine.
Time now for The Exchange. And joining me now is the man planning Joe Biden's visit to Africa later this year, Johnnie Carson has been U.S.
Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. He's currently the U.S. Special Presidential Representative for U.S. Africa Leaders Summer Implementation.
And if you're confused about that title, it means that when the U.S. says it is going to do something in Africa, he makes sure it actually gets done.
Ambassador, great to have you on the show. There's so much for us to talk about, but I want to get your thoughts, if I may, on really the top story
today and that the diplomatic efforts by these seven African leaders, this peace mission in Kyiv. What do you think they can achieve here, Sir?
JOHNNIE CARSON, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR U.S-AFRICAN LEADERS SUMMIT IMPLEMENTATION: Well, I hope that their effort would be to help push for a
peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. They are visiting both Kyiv and hopefully going on to Moscow. And in those discussions in Moscow, I
hope they will push the Russian government to cease its aggressive activities and to pull out of Ukraine.
SOARES: And of course, South Africa, as you know, Ambassador, has been somewhat circumspect of its criticism in regards to the war and has
routinely abstained from votes condemning Russia at the U.N. General Assembly. What can you ask, do and say to influence change in your view?
CARSON: Well, I think the U.S. government is carrying on an active and high-level dialogue with the government of South Africa to encourage them
strongly to use their friendship and influence in Moscow to get the Russians to withdraw their aggressive forces out of Kyiv. Both countries
are aligned together in the BRICS movement, and they should use that influence with Moscow to best advantage to bring about peace and to stop
the Russian aggression.
SOARES: And of course, as we said in the introduction, Ambassador, you have been ambassador to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda. You know the continent better
than most of us here. What we have seen, have been seeing, is most African countries largely aligned with China and Russia in their political, and I
think it's fair to say, economic partnerships. Can the U.S. counter this? How is it countering this?
CARSON: Well, I think the reason many of the African states are doing what they are doing is because of the historical relationships that they had
with Russia and China during their independent struggles. But today is different. And I think the countries there should realize that what is
happening in Kyiv and what is happening in Ukraine is pure out Russian aggression, something that they should all stand up against.
In respect to what the United States is doing, the U.S.-Africa leaders summit, which was held for three days in December of 22, was an opportunity
for the Biden-Harris administration to reaffirm the strong connections and ties that exist between the United States and Africa, and to demonstrate
very clearly that America has key interest in Africa, that we recognize that Africa is a geopolitical area of great importance, that Africa is
important at the table -- at the international table, when all major decisions are being thrashed out. That summit was extraordinarily
The U.S. committed some $55 billion to Africa over the next three years -- the next three fiscal years, and to support programs that we think will
benefit the people of Africa, cement our partnerships, and strengthen our trade and investment relationships.
The second day of that conference was focused on business issues. And in that day of discussion, U.S. companies agreed to sign with African
companies and governments some $15.7 billion in new trade and investment agreements, indicating the strong desire of American companies to
participate fully in Africa's growth.
SOARES: And we talked, you talked about obviously breaking it down, the U.S. African leaders' summit, what was achieved and back then we heard
President Biden say the United States is all in on Africa's future. Would you say that the goals that were promised then, are they being met,
CARSON: Absolutely. We're six months into these commitments and there is great enthusiasm and activity across the U.S. government, not only at the
State Department, but at the Department of Commerce, the Defense Department, and also at our key agencies that deal in international
affairs, USAID, DFC, the Development Finance Corporation, EXIM Bank. They have all been extremely active in their engagements across the continent
and good things are happening.
SOARES: And of course, I mentioned this, I touched on this earlier, the U.S. does seem to be trying now to catch up at least with other countries
including Russia, but especially, Ambassador China, that have developed of course stronger ties with the continent. How much would you say,
Ambassador, this is a result of America's neglected foreign policy in the continent?
CARSON: America has always been deeply engaged in Africa. What we are doing is reaffirming that engagement, stepping it up and broadening it. The U.S.
has never stepped away from Africa. We are just recommitting ourselves to engage more actively across a broader front, recognizing Africa's
geopolitical importance. We have seen things across Africa that make us very, very positive about that level of engagement.
Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world. We see a rising middle class, we see increased urbanization, and with that we see increased
trade and economic opportunities. As we move towards a green global future, we also recognize that there are half a dozen countries in Africa,
including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Guinea, that all possess enormously important minerals and metals that will help ensure that
we have a good transition to a green economy. So, we see trade opportunities not only in traditional metals, but we also see opportunities
for investment going forward.
So, this is really important for us. But we also recognize that Africa is a player on the international scene. In New York and in the international
organizations, Africa represents with its 54 nations, one of the largest voting blocks in the United Nations system. We need the support of Africa
as we move forward to deal with issues of climate change, deal with the issues of global health pandemics, deal with the issues of food insecurity,
as we all deal with the issues of refugees and as we deal with trying to resolve conflicts around the globe and in Africa. Africa is a partner of
SOARES: Very well put. Ambassador, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Ambassador Johnnie Carlson, thank you, Sir.
CARSON: Thank you.
SOARES: And we'll be back after this short break.
SOARES: Well, Chinese President Xi Jinping did something that he has not done since before the pandemic. He actually sat down for a chat with a
prominent Western businessman. Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, who is now more of a philanthropist than a business leader, met with the Chinese
leader early on Friday. Our Kristie Lu Stout has the story.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping today in Beijing. This is Xi's first meeting with
the Western business figure in years. According to state media, Xi called Gates the first American friend he has seen this year. He also said that
the foundation of China-U.S. relations is, quote, in the people.
According to the state-run broadcaster CCTV, Xi told Gates this, quote, in today's world situation, we can carry out all kinds of activities that will
benefit our two countries, our two peoples and humanity. As a whole, let's all be facilitators in this regard.
Now, Gates is in China to discuss global health issues with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he is the Co-Chair of. On Thursday, the
Foundation announced its renewed collaboration with the Beijing government and Tsinghua University to develop innovative therapies for infectious
diseases around the world.
On Wednesday, Gates announced on Twitter that he arrived in Beijing for the first time in five years. He tweeted this, quote, solving problems like
climate change, health inequity, and health and food insecurity requires innovation. From developing malaria drugs to investing in climate
adaptation, China has a lot of experience in that. We need to unlock that kind of progress for more people around the world.
In 2020, Gates stepped down from the Microsoft board to focus on global philanthropy. And the last reported meeting between Xi and Gates was back
in 2015 on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in Hainan. And in early 2020, Xi wrote a letter thanking Gates and his foundation for their support for
China's fight against COVID-19.
Now, several Western business leaders have visited China this year since it reopened after years of tough zero COVID measures. You know, those leaders
include Elon Musk of Tesla, Jimmy Diamond of JP Morgan, Tim Cook of Apple. And while Beijing has been rolling out the red carpet for these Western
corporate figures, tensions remain high between the U.S. and China. America's top diplomat, Anthony Blinken, will visit China this weekend as
the U.S. looks to reset relations. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: And coming up, a new documentary tells a story of an immigrant turned superstar. See our interview with French Montana. That's next.
SOARES: Welcome back. A Grammy nominated musician overcame incredible obstacles to go from struggling immigrant to global superstar. Now, he's
telling a story on the big screen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRENCH MONTANA, RAPPER (voice-over): Us watching America as kids. They sell you the dream. They don't show you that behind those buildings is this, the
nightmare part. It's like gladiators. Could you even pray or you're a predator? All four of us had one room. It was the ground of all grounds. I
was an immigrant with no papers. I can't go to college. I can't get a job. My pop didn't like the way French was going. And he wanted to leave French.
I just remember my mother working two, three jobs. I walked in on my mother one time crying, praying. You don't want to see a mother like that. What
other options you got? I hit the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, the powerful documentary called "For Kadija" is the saga of French Montana, it releases today. Larry Madowo talked with a Moroccan-
American rapper for an upcoming edition of CNN's African Voices Changemakers and here's part of that interview.
MONTANA: You know, when we first came here to America, that's when the journey started. But the journey was complete when my mother was able to go
back. So, the story started from then, and the story finished when she came back. Because it was, you know, we came here immigrants, we came here with
no papers, my father came.
He tried different businesses that didn't work, he went back, so my mother stayed. She did not know English, welfare. I mean, you know, the grind of
all grinds, you know. Me hustling any day can get deported. You know, my brother got deported. It was a leap of faith, you know, and my mother just
stayed in the States for 25 years to make sure we -- was good without seeing her family at all for 25 years. So, when she went back and I took
her back, she finally met up with them. That was the moment where it was just like, okay, the story made sense.
LARRY MADOWO, HOST, CNN AFRICAN VOICES CHANGEMAKERS: After your dad comes here to the U.S. and it doesn't work out and he goes back and she's left
raising you and your two brothers alone in the Bronx without knowing English and trying to make it work. That's insane.
MONTANA: Yeah. I mean, for her to just tell my father I'm not going back after 30-something years of marriage just because she's seeing no future
for her kids back in Africa and she was like, I'm going to make sure my kids become something. I mean, that's sacrifices that only mothers can
MADOWO: You've been very open about the lows of your life, as well. Your friend getting murdered, another friend getting a long prison sentence,
your brother getting deported.
Why do you share these less glamorous aspects of your life?
MONTANA: Because people just see French Montana, Diamond Records streaming this, that, look at this, but they don't see that all the stuff that I
lost, you know. You lose your brother, you get deported. Your best friend doing 75 years. Your other best friend, dead. You know, the people that
used to motivate me to make music, I didn't hear them, no more.
But I still have to push through and stay strong and still make it happen. They always see French Montana doing this, you know, conquering certain
things. That's cool that's highlighted. You know people always go but what's not highlighted is the struggle and the things that happen that
without them there wouldn't be no French Montana.
SOARES: And you'll see the full interview of French Montana on a future episode of African Voices, Changemakers with our Larry Madowo. And that
does it for me for today. Thank you very much for watching One World. I'm Isa Soares in London. I'll be back, in fact, in an hour. I'm not done yet.
Amanpour is up next. So, do stay right here with CNN. See you in an hour.