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One World with Zain Asher

Turkey Agrees To Back Sweden's Bid To Join Alliance; Russia-Ukraine War Continues; Human Rights Watch Says War Crimes Continue In Sudan; Protesters Block Ben-Gurion Airport On Their National Day Of Disruption; Six People Killed In Nepal Helicopter Crash; Record-Breaking Rainfall Leaves At Least Six People Dead and Five More Missing In Japan's Southwest Region; Well-Known Western Companies Outed, Accused Of Breaking Promises To Leave Or Scale Back Operations And Presence In Russia; Meta Spokesperson Tells CNN Protecting U.S. 2024 Elections Remains Top Priority; Heart Transplant Performed On A Six-Year-Old Girl in Ukraine Amid Ongoing War. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 11, 2023 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: World leaders are meeting right now in Vilnius to discuss NATO's future. Here is what's coming up.




ASHER: Ukraine wants a clearer path to NATO membership. We'll tell you what the alliance and Western leaders are saying. And dozens of people are

arrested in Israel after demonstrations over the country's judicial overhaul plan. And later --


EMEKA ADINDU, SALSA INSTRUCTOR: Salsa was the only thing that could make me smile.

ASHER: Using the power of dance to battle depression, how one man is raising awareness about mental health in Nigeria.


ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is One World. Western leaders are in Vilnius, Lithuania, for what could be one of the

most consequential summits in NATO's modern history. And it comes during what may be one of the most significant moments in Moscow's war on Kyiv.

The Ukrainian President is at the two-day meeting where he's urging allies to send a clear signal on when, on when his country will be allowed to


Hours before he arrived, Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent out a scathing tweet criticizing the divided alliance through its uncertainty, calling it

unprecedented and absurd, as well. NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, is projecting a positive image and says the goal is to send a strong and

united message to Kyiv. But he also stressed Ukrainian membership likely will not happen anytime soon.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: The most urgent task now is to ensure that Ukraine prevails because unless Ukraine prevails, there is no

membership issue to be discussed at all.


ASHER: Meantime, after resisting for months, Turkey has agreed to back Sweden's bid to join the alliance. CNN's Nic Robertson is in London for us,

so is White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz. But first, I want to start with Nic Robertson. So, Nic, Kyiv is looking here or was looking here for

specific pledges when it comes to how and when it's gonna able to join NATO. It didn't quite get that. There's still question about the timeline.

Just walk us through it.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, and I think, you know, perhaps one way to understand this and looking through what could be

the communique that comes out of the NATO Summit and what could be the language as it appears to be potentially at the moment, or potentially the

language that President Zelenskyy was talking about, it's not really firm at all on offering what Zelenskyy wanted, which is the timeline and this

sort of, you know, the war closes and the door opens to NATO to have that very clear.

And he essentially says that if that is left open as it is, then that then becomes a sort of a bargaining chip somehow. Ukraine's membership of NATO

becomes a bargaining chip in negotiations with Russia at the end of the war. And he says that's only going to encourage Russia to double down in

the war at the moment.

You know, Zelenskyy has always been at the forefront of demanding what he thinks Ukraine needs. You know, go back to the very beginning of the war

when it was bullets, anti-tank weapons and they came that it was a bit slow. The surface to air missiles, the air defense systems, the tanks, the

fighter jets, they came, but there was a battle to get them. Zelenskyy was very firm on that.

And I think that he, Zelenskyy, at the moment, gets that sense that the language, going back to before the war, December 2021, when President Biden

said that NATO wouldn't get involved if Russia invaded Ukraine, wouldn't put troops into Ukraine. It's that kind of moment for Zelenskyy because he

feels that this weak messaging about Ukraine's future position in NATO encourages Russia to try to take advantage.

And I think this is why we see Zelenskyy so animated and we see Stoltenberg try to sort of paper over the cracks that there are within the alliance

over, you know, on the speed and the way that Ukraine should be allowed to join NATO.

I don't think it's in anyone's doubt that it should happen, but you have to have this complete agreement at NATO to give a path to make that happen.

And it seems clear that that's not there.


And this is, Zelenskyy is very afraid because he knows the consequences, because he's at the tip of the spear on this and he's witnessed what

happens when he's clear that that's not there. And this is, Zelensky is very afraid because he knows the consequences, because he's at the tip of

the spear on this and he's witnessed what happens when you don't show that resolve.

ASHER: Nic, stand by. I want to bring in Arlette Saenz now. So, one sort of win, I guess, for President Biden in all of this is, of course, Turkey

now saying that, look, they are going to support Sweden's bid to join NATO. Just explain to us, A, how this came about. Obviously, it is sort of a win

and is being touted as a win for U.S. diplomacy here.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, President Biden's really entering the summit hoping that it would show that NATO will strengthen and

unite it and to offer a message directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And that decision, that abrupt reversal by Turkey to accept SWEDO

into the NATO alliance is one symbol of unity and strengthening of the alliance that the administration is trying to push here.

Now, this has been in the works for over a year now. Sweden had applied for NATO membership back in 2022 in May of that year, but Turkey had been

blocking this in part due to concerns that they believed, Sweden was harboring groups that Turkey considers to be terrorists.

Now, this deal was ultimately struck between the leaders of Sweden, Turkey, and the NATO Secretary General. But behind the scenes, President Biden and

his team, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, had been in touch with their Turkish counterparts

heading into this summit.

President Biden, you'll remember, hosted the Swedish Prime Minister at the White House last week and in the lead up to the summit, President himself

placed a phone call to Erdogan as he flew from the U. S. to London on Air Force One where he had a simple message that he wanted to see Sweden

admitted as soon as possible into the alliance.

Now, one thing that Turkey had really been pushing for, they've been pushing for some concessions in the lead up to this agreement. And that

includes the sale by the U. S to Turkey of F-16 fighter jets. That has been held up on Capitol Hill. In part, lawmakers, including Democratic lawmakers

frustrated with the fact that Turkey had put a hold on Sweden's application into NATO.

It appears that could now potentially be shifting, and that would be something that Erdogan would be receiving, though the White House has

continuously stressed that these were not directly tied or contingent upon each other. But the White House is viewing this as a big win in this summit

as they're trying to project that unity, even as you have that flashpoint brewing over Ukraine's membership -- a pathway to membership to NATO,

really dominating much of the conversation here.

ASHER: All right, Arlette, thank you so much. Nic, let me go back to you because Arlette was just talking about some of the concessions that Erdogan

was offered here. I mean, she touched on the fact that Erdogan wanted F-16 fighter jets. But it was just yesterday that we were talking about the fact

that Erdogan, in exchange for allowing Sweden to become a member of NATO. Erdogan wanted a clear path for Turkey to become an E.U. member, even

though those two issues are completely separate. Just walk us through what specific concessions were given to Erdogan in the last 24 hours. What a

dramatic about-face.

ROBERTSON: Well, there were a number of points that came out in the NATO press release. And one of those following the meeting and following that

agreement by President Erdogan, and one of the things was that Sweden would improve its economic ties with Turkey.

Sweden would allow its defense equipment to be exported to Turkey, something it had stopped doing because it believed that Erdogan's

leadership was not particularly democratic leadership and appeared to disapprove of the way that he cracked down on the attempted coup in 2016,

which in essence is a sort of a point where the E.U. also sort of frowned upon the anti-democratic direction that Erdogan was taking the country

himself becoming from Prime Minister to President.

Taking the powers with him is not in keeping with the E.U.'s values or standards for E.U. membership. So, you know, what Sweden has agreed to do

now is to sort of speak up on Turkey's behalf within the E.U. to bring it on board. It's not giving a concrete commitment that it's going to make it


But also in this, Sweden had changed its laws and constitution. That was done sometime over the past year in reference to the PKK, this Kurdish

group that the Turkish call terrorists. But also, we now know that Sweden has committed to crack down on other Kurdish groups and other opposition

groups that Erdogan considers terrorists, as well.

So, there is quite a number of commitments that have come from Sweden, but the pressure on Turkey also that NATO top to bottom was saying very

clearly, look, Sweden has done everything that you originally asked. So, to come out of left field with this request on the E.U., I think perhaps, you

know, was just an extra bit of something that Erdogan wanted, that would never get him over the line for E.U. membership, but it raises that flag

that's been an issue for him for some time.


ASHER: All right, Nic Robertson, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, as joining NATO now seems closer than ever for Sweden, the path for

Ukraine is not so clear. Here's the British Defense Secretary speaking to CNN's Pamela Brown, aligning the U.K. with the American position on

Ukraine's bid.


BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: I totally agree with the United States that we can't have a new member in the middle of a conflict. I mean,

that would just import war into the alliance. And I think it's certainly the case that we should all, as we are, work together to make sure that

Russia fails in its attack and its illegal invasion of Ukraine, and we end up in a position where we can then discuss the future.

But, you know, after this war, I think, first of all, given we have an Open-Door Policy, it's important to state that we believe Ukraine does

belong in NATO, there are some steps that need to be met to get there, and those steps would involve the likes of making sure its military is up to

standard. But we can see right now that its military is up to standard. Its military is taking on a vast superior-sized Russian force and has dealt

with a heavy defeat. So, I think overall, you know, Ukraine is not far off membership, but obviously we're in alliance of by then 32, and everyone has

to move at the same pace.


ASHER: The war continues all the while. Air raids, sirens blared through Kyiv Tuesday morning as officials say they repelled Russian drone strikes.

Ukraine's military also reports new progress in its offensive, claiming to have retaken some territory around Bakhmut.

Human Rights Watch says that war crimes are being committed in Sudan. It says the rapid support forces, paramilitary group, along with its Arab

militia allies, executed dozens of people in a town in Sudan's West Darfur region in late May.

These are satellite photos of the area of the attacks. They show evidence of buildings allegedly looted and burned. You just saw smoke, black smoke

billowing in the air in the previous photo. Human Rights Watch spoke to survivors of the attack who fled Sudan and who are now in Chad.

All right, still to come here on One World, Ukraine's case for joining NATO. I'll be speaking with somebody who has been both an ambassador to

NATO and a special envoy to Ukraine. Kurt Volker joins us later on this hour. He's the perfect person to speak to about all of this, so do stay

tuned for that.

Also, protesters are out again in the streets of Israel speaking out against planned traditional reforms there. We're going to be speaking to an

Israeli newspaper editor about what's driving the anger back.




ASHER: Protesters are calling it a day of disruption and resistance. Israelis are once again venting their fury over the government's moves to

overhaul the nation's judicial system. Plans which are back on the table after being frozen in March following a general strike. Tens of thousands

of people have been taken to the streets every Saturday night for 27 weeks since January when the measure was announced.

Tuesday's protests come hours after Israel's parliament the initial approval to advance a key provision of that package. Lawmakers voted Monday

to strip the Supreme Court of the power to declare government decisions unreasonable. It's the first of three votes required for the bill to become


The sweeping judicial overhaul, a package of several bills, includes other measures, as well, such as giving the Knesset power to overturn Supreme

Court decisions with a majority vote and changing the composition of the committee that selects judges so that the government of the day has

effective control. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies say the measures are necessary to rebalance power. Opponents call the plan a coup

and say it threatens to turn Israel into a dictatorship.

Let's turn now to CNN's Hadas Gold, has been following developments from a protest site at Ben-Gurion International Airport. I want you to listen to

our report here.


HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Ben-Gurion Airport just outside of Tel Aviv. Thousands of protesters have essentially taken over. I'm standing

right here and this is the arrivals lane. This is where cars would normally come to pick up passengers. But as you can see, it is completely blocked by

these protesters. This is part of what they're calling the National Day of Disruption. Protests have been going on since the early morning hours and

they plan to go on throughout the evening across the country from downtown Tel Aviv to small towns and cities all across.

This National Day of Disruption is part of the larger protest movement that has been going on for several months, but the reason that it's particularly

amped up today is because last night, the legislation of the judicial overhaul was put back on the table. The first vote of one small aspect of

it was passed on first reading. This specific aspect would strip the Supreme Court's ability of declaring government actions unreasonable. This

is an ability that they have right now.

The legislation had been essentially frozen in place since March. That was when there was those massive general strikes and protests. The defense

minister had come out against the overhaul plan. And so, the legislation was frozen and there were attempts at some sort of compromise negotiations

with the opposition. But those clearly didn't go anywhere.

And so, the government coalition, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is pushing forward once again with this legislation. They say

it's a softer legislation. They say they've taken away some of the more controversial aspects, and they're going to do it in a slow, piecemeal


But essentially, these protesters, the opposition, they don't believe anything that Benjamin Netanyahu or his government says. And they want this

overhaul just completely off the table. Now, Netanyahu and his coalition say that judiciary is in

The judiciary is in desperate need of reform. They won the election. They have the votes in parliament. But they're getting grave concerns, not only

from these protesters, but also from allies. We just heard President Joe Biden in his interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria calling this government

the most extreme in decades.

But yet, Netanyahu and his government still say that they will be pushing forward. And these protesters say that they will continue coming out to the

streets. In fact, some of them even say they're going to be pitching tents in downtown Tel Aviv to make this protest even more permanent. Zain.

ASHER: Hadas Gold reporting there. Let's take a closer look at the protests over the planned judicial reforms. Amir Tibon is a diplomatic

correspondent for the Israeli newspaper, "Haaretz". He joins us live now from Tel Aviv. So obviously this bill is essentially part of a package of

reforms aimed at scaling back the power of the judiciary in Israel.

Amir, when you think about just the resistance, right, and the level of protests we've seen for months now in Israel, what's gonna happen when this

actually becomes law? If this is a reaction we're seeing right now, what's gonna happen then?

AMIR TIBON, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE, "HAARETZ": So, the noise that you just heard behind your correspondent at the airport in Israel will get 10

times louder and the amount of people in the street will grow significantly and I think also the international pushback will be much more significant

than what we've seen so far.

What we're seeing today in Israel, massive protests all over the country, roads, blocks in different cities, the police arresting dozens of people,

people getting injured, that is all because one component of this judicial overhaul package, one bill, has passed a first reading in our Knesset in

the Israeli parliament. It still got away injured.


That is all because one component of this judicial overhaul package, one bill, has passed a first reading in our Knesset in the Israeli parliament.

It still got away to go. And I think for the protest movement, it is a warning sign. They're basically trying to tell the government, what we're

doing today, this day of rage, is just the beginning. Don't go there. Don't tear apart Israeli society.

And there is an alternative, which is to renew the negotiations that had collapsed at the president's residence, meaning Israeli President Isaac

Herzog, who wants to be some kind of a mediator here. I will not be shocked if in a week or two there will be more and more talk in the Israeli

political system about going back.

ASHER: So, speaking of going back, I mean the last time, I don't know if you remember, but the last time I actually had you on my show was, I think

it was late March and there were sweeping protests. You remember? Yeah. So, there were sweeping protests across the country.

TIBON: It will be a day never forgotten Zain, because it was the day of the huge demonstrations after Netanyahu tried to fire the defense.

ASHER: Right.

TIBON: Everything that happened on that day, every Israeli journalist will remember for many years and I remember when I was on your show.

ASHER: I was texting you and you're like, listen, it's a huge day here, I'll get back to you in a second. No. But that was the point, as you

mentioned, where he had just sort of fired Gallant. He had just fired the defense minister, and obviously he reinstated him. But it was a huge day of

protests. Then, because Netanyahu was under so much political pressure, he paused the reforms temporarily for a few weeks, a few months. Just explain

to our audience how we got from that to where we are now. Explain the political calculation for Netanyahu in all of this.

TIBON: So, I think what Netanyahu did is he tried at first to ramp through this reform using the fact that the Israeli opposition was divided after

their loss in the previous election, using the fact that the world is busy with other issues, Ukraine and China and so many other points of crisis,

and also building on the momentum that he himself had coming back into the prime ministership and surprising all the skeptics. And he said this is an

opportunity to just push everything at once.

And he did not take into consideration, the huge pushback, the strong resistance that his government would meet in the streets of every Israeli

city, hundreds of thousands of people protesting, people within the military, in the Air Force, in the special units, in the intelligence

saying, we will quit, we will no longer serve if this becomes the law of the land, and of course also the international reaction. And then he said,

okay, let's stop and let's try to do it instead gradually, piece by piece.

We call it here in Israel the salami mess, like you slice a salami into pieces. So, now, they're trying to push through one piece of it, which is

basically taking away the Supreme Court's ability to conduct judicial review over governmental decisions. This is not about legislation right

now. This is about what we call the reasonableness standard, the ability of the Supreme Court in Israel to come and say that a decision made by a

minister in the government, an appointment perhaps, is extremely unreasonable.

I want to give you one example, Zain. Netanyahu is a criminal defendant right now facing his own corruption trial in the Jerusalem District. Of

course, he's innocent in the Israeli system until proven otherwise, or if he retains his innocence. But theoretically, he could try to fire the

Israeli attorney general who is leading the case against him.

Today, it's very likely that if his government fires the attorney general at the same time that he has a clear interest there, the Supreme Court will

say, no, this is an extremely unreasonable decision and it will strike it down. If you cancel the reasonableness standard, new options open up.

ASHER: So, what does all this mean for Israel's relationship with its allies on the international stage? I mean, particularly in the U.S.,

there's so much concern around the world, just given this bill, about the state of Israel's democratic health. I mean, obviously opponents think that

Israel is slipping towards dictatorship. President Biden is actually, I believe, hosting the President of Israel, not the prime minister this time

around. He's not hosting Netanyahu. So, what does this mean for Israel's relationship with its allies?

TIBON: So today, the legal system in Israel, whether it is the legal advisors to the ministries of the government and, of course, the Supreme

Court, in a way, it plays a bit the role of a babysitter in Israeli politics. A lot of crazy decisions and ideas that Netanyahu's far-right

partners or very ultra-religious partners want to pass, stop at the Supreme Court.

And for Netanyahu, it's been convenient. I mean, for most of his career, he was opposed to curtailing the powers of the Supreme Court, that changed

only due to his personal circumstances.

But if the Supreme Court and the legal advisors will be weakened as the government wants to do through all these different pieces of legislation,

someone else will have to play the babysitter role. And of course, most likely, it will have to be the United States, every crazy idea, every

unthinkable and unreasonable piece of legislation or policy will get to the desk of the American ambassador or the American president.


And the same goes for the leaders, of course, of other close allies of Israel, France, Germany, the U.K. So, there definitely is a stake here for

Israel's allies abroad to come and say, wait a second, you are changing the structure of your government in a way that could also later on cause

international trouble. And just one more sentence about this. For every element of Netanyahu's ruling coalition, there's a different interest

behind this judicial overhaul. Netanyahu has his personal issues with the trial.

The ultra-orthodox, very religious parties in his coalition want to make Israel a more religious country, and they view the Supreme Court as a

liberalizing force in Israeli society. But there's also a far-right component in the Netanyahu coalition. People like the finance minister

Smotrich and national security minister Ben-Gvir. For them, weakening the judicial system is all about the settlements, it's all about annexation and

it's all about passing laws and policies that would severely hurt the rights of Palestinians and not having the Israeli Supreme Court stand in

their way.

ASHER: Amir Tibon, thank you so much. As you're speaking, we're just looking, we were just looking at live pictures of Jerusalem where

protesters, I think it's about 7:30 at night there in Jerusalem, with protesters gathered in streets, waving Israeli flags, honking horns with

Ruzelas, as well.

Actually, the noise was so loud with one of our correspondents, Hadas Gold, outside the Ben Gurion Airport. It was almost impossible to hear her, but

people are very upset, very angry about what this means, what this judicial overhaul, what this bill means for the state of democracy in Israel. A lot

of people are concerned that perhaps Israel is sliding towards a dictatorship. Amir Tibon, always good to have you on the show. I hope we

can have you back in the near future.

TIBON: Thank you very much.

ASHER: Amir, thank you so much. All right, still to come here, we're going to be returning to the NATO Summit, a conversation with a former U.S.

Ambassador to NATO in just a moment, after the break.



ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. Let's catch up on the headlines. In Nepal, six people were killed in a helicopter crash earlier

today. Their bodies have been recovered from a rural area near Mount Everest and are being moved to the capital Kathmandu. The helicopter was

carrying five Mexican passengers and a Nepali pilot on a carrier that typically caters to tourists. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Record-breaking rainfall has now left at least six people dead and five more missing in Japan's southwest region. A persistent downpour since the

start of July has caused flooding and landslides. And some well-known Western companies are being outed, accused of breaking their promises to

leave or scale back their operations and their presence in Russia after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. A group of researchers at Yale say

that big names like Heineken, Unilever, Nestle, among others, are still doing business there.

Research was shared exclusively with CNN's Matt Egan. He joins us live now. So, Matt, I think the issue here is that some people believe that these

companies are breaking a moral code, that they're profiting, you know, from war, essentially. Just explain to us how hard it has been for some of these

companies to move their operations out of Russia and how hard Russia has made it for them to leave, as well.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right, Zain. Russia has made it intentionally difficult, costly, onerous for Western companies to leave

Russia. And that is one of the reasons that's being cited by some of these companies that are being named and shamed by Yale for breaking their

promise, according to Yale, to leave Russia or drastically scale back. Some of the companies being named here, WeWork, Nestle, Heineken, Mondelez,

Philip Morris International and Unilever. And rather than breaking the law, what Yale Professor Jeff Sonnenfeld is saying here is that they are

breaking a moral code. Listen to what Sonnenfeld told me.


JEFF SONNENFELD, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Disappointed to the point of shameful and unethical. They're breaking their promises. They're

functioning as wartime profiteers benefiting from the mass slaughter of innocent civilians, showing no concern for their most valued resource, the

most valued possession, which is the trust of the institution, the character of the brand. So, they're self-immolating their own brand.


EGAN: -- child for this problem, according to Sonnenfeld, is Heineken, which had promised back in March of 2022 to get out of Russia. But here we

are today. The war has been going on for more than 500 days, and Heineken still has seven different breweries in Russia, 1800 employees there,

according to the Yale research.

Now, I reached out to Heineken, and they said that the war in Ukraine is a quote, terrible human tragedy. And they said they are still committed to

getting out of Russia. In fact, they said they had a deal potentially in place in recent months to sell their assets in Russia, but that transaction

is being held up by regulators in Moscow.

And that has been a common theme from companies that we've heard from, is that there are these regulatory restrictions that have made it hard and

costly to get out. Of course, I think that critics would note that more than a thousand Western companies have been able to get out despite those


Another company that's being called out by Yale here is Unilever, the company behind Dove Soap and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Back in the spring of

2022, Unilever promised to only sell essential products in Russia, but now, according to this Yale research, they are still selling ice cream and other

items that would hardly be considered essential.

Unilever declined to comment, but they pointed to a recent statement where they pointed out that they're not trying to add any extra hardship for

their thousands of employees that are still in Russia. That's another thing we heard from companies. When I raised this point though to Sonnenfeld, he

rejected it. He said, listen, that's the whole point here. The whole point is to raise pressure on the regime in Moscow.


He said that the goal here is to make life more uncomfortable for people in Russia, so they start to look around and ask each other who's causing this.

And Zain, I think the implied answer there, of course, is Vladimir Putin.

ASHER: All right, Matt Egan, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, returning now to our top story, the NATO Summit with Sweden's

membership no longer being held up. Much of the focus of the next couple of days at the summit will be the question of Ukraine, both how to support

that country in its war with Russia and the more complicated issue of when and how to make Ukraine a NATO member.

Time now for The Exchange and joining me live now is someone who knows NATO and Ukraine, as well as anyone. Kurt Volker was U.S. Ambassador to NATO

from 2008, 2009, and later served as the U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine negotiations. Ambassador Volker, thank you so much for being with us. So,

so great to have you.

Obviously, it is virtually impossible for Ukraine to join NATO in the middle of a war for obvious reasons. But one thing that Zelenskyy intimated

was that by being hazy about a timeline for Ukraine to join NATO, Russia might indeed try to capitalize on that. Perhaps by making it part of the

negotiations to end the war, saying, look, we will end the war. There will be a ceasefire as long as Ukraine does not join NATO over the next X amount

of years. I mean, is that a concern here, the fact that Russia may indeed capitalize on the fact that there is no clear timetable for Ukraine to join


KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: All right, so, I think that there are a couple of big issues here that maybe aren't getting -- of

course, Ukraine's not going to join NATO at Vilnius itself. Both the objective could be to send a very clear message to Putin that his war is

failing, it will fail, and Ukraine will be a member of NATO, so we will have security in the future. This is not only about Ukrainian security.

It's about NATO security.

We are now suffering, all of us in NATO, paying money, taking refugees, spending all of our defense resources because of Russia's attacks on

Ukraine. So, we don't want to be in this situation again. So, Ukraine must come into the alliance. That's the signal that Putin has to get. If we

waffle, and that's what Zelenskyy is referring to, if we just give another vague statement that is hard for anyone to really understand what it means,

Putin will take that as yet another green light to keep fighting.

ASHER: And you touched on something that I think is really important. I mean, obviously, so much of the focus has been on how, you know, Ukraine

becoming a member of NATO would benefit Ukraine. I mean, the list is endless in terms of that. But just to expand on how Ukraine becoming a NATO

member would actually benefit NATO. How will it benefit the alliance?

VOLKER: Well, I think tremendously, and there are a couple of different ways. One of them, Ukraine already now has one of the most capable and

battle-tested military forces in Europe. Compare that to a lot of existing NATO allies, if you're going to go into a fight, you really want Ukraine on

your side, rather than even some of these others who have much smaller militaries. So that's one thing.

A second thing is that it is the absence of a security guarantee for Ukraine that has caused Vladimir Putin to attack, and this war has foisted

consequences on all of Europe now. We've seen it with refugees. We've seen it with energy supplies, with inflation. And it is going to get worse,

unless Putin is convinced that the days of warfare in Europe for him are over. So, it is important for NATO to rebuild security in Europe by

bringing Ukraine in. So, both from the overarching political perspective and the hardcore military perspective, Ukraine joining NATO is a benefit to


ASHER: One of the things that Jens Stoltenberg touched on in the press conference, he was asked this by a reporter, is that the key difference is,

if you compare now to 2008, obviously, the idea of Ukraine becoming a NATO member was discussed clearly in 2008. The key difference is that now they

have removed the membership action plan. They aren't able to offer anything concrete in terms of a timeline, Jens Stoltenberg outlined why.

But explain to us. I mean, obviously, this is not what Zelenskyy was hoping for here, but explain to us whether or not the alliance could be doing more

to give a clearer message to Ukraine about how and when they may indeed be able to become a member.

VOLKER: Sure. First off, what happened in 2008 was NATO made a promise that it will be a member of NATO without any process for getting there and said

you're going to have to do the membership action plan, but you can't have it. So, it was an empty promise. What NATO is doing now is removing that

obstacle of saying you need to have a membership action plan.


We can just invite you when we want to. But we still haven't given a process. We haven't said what steps we're going to be taking that are going

to accelerate Ukraine's entry into NATO. I understand the point about a timeline because no one wants to go to war with Russia today. We want this

war to be stable in some ways that when Ukraine is brought in, it's not requiring NATO allies to go fight Russia.

So, it's hard to put a timeline on that. But at the same time, we need to make clear that this train is leaving the station, this is where it's

going, we all know it, there's no doubt about it. Right now, we're taking some of these practical steps like upgrading the NATO-Ukraine commission to

a council, allowing Ukraine into subcommittee meetings, doing more training and interoperability work with Ukraine. But we're not giving it a political

context to say, what does it mean? Why are we doing that? And that has to be clearly stated, that this is so that they will join as soon as we can

practically bring the next.

ASHER: I want to talk about Turkey for my last question. And that is this idea, I mean, you know, yesterday, the whole conversation that we were all

reporting on was this idea that Erdogan had said, look, the only way, or at least the main way, for Sweden to become a NATO member is if there are

concessions made in terms of Turkey becoming a member of the E.U. He was sort of trying to link two very, very distinct and separate issues.

Now, we're hearing that Turkey has now said, yes, they will support Sweden becoming a NATO member. In terms of concessions, I mean, there's some

reporting that the U.S. is going to be giving Turkey F-16s, but will we ever understand the full price or be given the full idea in terms of the

price that NATO allies or the U.S. have paid in terms of what they've offered Turkey for Turkey to change its mind in this sort of dramatic way?

VOLKER: Yeah, well, the principal thing here, I believe, is Erdogan having secured his re-election. He wanted to use this position of standing up for

Europe, standing up against terrorism domestically in Turkey to enhance his position as he was running for re-election.

Having achieved that, I think he was then back in the negotiating space, okay, how can I close this now? What can I get for it? He did get Sweden to

make a few important steps on committing that they do not want to be a supporter of terrorism. They don't want their territory used by a terrorist

group such as the BKK. And they reached a further bilateral deal about that. That's all to the good.

The U.S. is now seriously looking at F-16s for Turkey. I think that's also a good step. As far as other things, though, and you mentioned the comment

he made about the European Union, I don't think that you can link these promises because they are so different. But it's interesting that Erdogan

is putting that back on the table.

For years, Turkey has not been pursuing that relationship with the E.U. It previously has not. This is now something he's curious about. It's actually

an opportunity for the E.U. to reengage Turkey in a more meaningful way.

ASHER: All right, Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker, thank you so much. Always great to have you on the show, thank you. All right, still to

come, just as it's launching a successful app, sources say that Metta has slashed jobs within its election team. What does that mean for the upcoming

political season? We'll have a live report for you just ahead.




ASHER: As Meta celebrates the success of its new Threads app, there's some concerning news about Facebook's parent company. Sources tell CNN that Meta

has made a number of cuts to its election team that tackles misinformation and coordinated a troll and harassment campaign. There are worries it could

affect content just ahead of the 2024 election season.

A Meta spokesperson tells CNN that protecting the U.S. 2024 elections remains a top priority. This has more than one 100 million users sign up

for Meta's Threads days after its launch. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us live now from New York. You and I were sitting next to each other in makeup

this morning and you convinced me to join Threads.

So, obviously, Meta has found a lot of success with Threads, a hundred million users in just a few days. But obviously the more serious issue is

the issue of the elections in just over a year from now. Just explain to us what safeguards are in place. I mean, what lessons have been learned by

Threads in terms of what Twitter has gone through on this front?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, a hundred and a hundred million and one users now, with you joining.

ASHER: Yes, and two, with you, Donie.

O'SULLIVAN: Exactly. Look, I will say, obviously, Threads has been you know an enormous success for Meta and I think it does say a lot about just how

bad a job Elon Musk has done with Twitter, kind of making it a space that has been inhospitable to the truth and to facts. You know, the platform's

just become really, really messy. So, people are looking for an alternative, and Meta is kind of filling that gap right now.

So, you know, it's a great platform, people are enjoying being on it. I'm certainly using it now more than I'm using Twitter. But we asked some

simple questions of Meta over the past few days, particularly, you know, you've launched this whole global new platform, although it's not yet

available in the European Union due to privacy concerns.

What additional resources have you put there? I mean, is there going to be more moderators? Are they hiring people to work on that? And essentially,

Meta was unable to answer that question. They didn't seem to suggest that they had hired any additional people to work, you know, moderating and

monitoring to make sure this platform of a hundred million people is safe. And of course, then, that also comes as we're also hearing from people

inside the company, and people who have just recently left the company about these costs to election teams.

ASHER: You know, it's always been a very sort of tricky balance of social media companies in terms of how to balance freedom of speech with also

protecting people from, you know, some of the ickier sides of social media when it comes to hate speech and misinformation and lies and the rest of

it. When Elon Musk took over Twitter, his strategy was very different in terms of opening up the platform to more controversial figures. How will

Thread's approach be different, do you think? when it comes to the balance between free speech and also protecting its users?

O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, I mean, I think, look, what we've seen from I think Zuckerberg and others at the company would certainly like this to be more

on the on the free speech side of things. You know, it's frankly -- it's easier to run a platform when there's less rules and restrictions because

you don't have to worry about as much stuff.

And also, what we're seeing here, of course, in the U.S., is allegations and also a federal judge ruling that there has been too much as what they

would call censorship. And particularly when it comes on the point of conservatives and Republicans here in the U.S., they particularly feel that

they have been singled out by these companies and how these companies rules are structured.

It's going to be really interesting to see what happens with Threads because, you know, Adam Aseri, who's running this platform for Zuckerberg,

kind of said, you know, they wanted to be a place where are sharing their personal experiences and stories.


And he made a comment that you know they're not necessarily going to try and get into the news business as such, but, you know, ultimately, when

you're running a global platform and politicians and candidates and everybody else are on there, it is going to become a news-making platform.

ASHER: Yeah, you're in the news business whether you like it or not if people are making news on your platform. Donie O'Sullivan, live for us

there. Thank you so much. All right, still to come here, how the art of dance, like salsa, appears to show healing benefits for some mental health



ADINDU: Salsa was the only thing that could make me smile.

ASHER: Ahead, we'll follow this Nigerian man's journey to better mental health via the dance floor.



ASHER: There are so many reasons why dancing can be good for your health. In Nigeria, we met a man who says salsa dancing has lifted his spirit and

helped him battle his mental health issues. And now he's helping other people feel better, too.


ASHER (voice-over): It may look like a typical bar in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, but you won't be dancing to Afro beats here. The house style is

Salsa. The male dancer Emeka Adindu is a Salsa Instructor. No studio needed, he teaches guests right on the dance floor, guiding their moves and

preaching acceptance of an intimate dance style that is uncommon in these parts.

ADINDU: Because it's a couple dance. And when you dance with someone, there's no space for you to think about your sorrow, because one, you're

thinking about the music. You're thinking about the counts, the rhythm.

ASHER: That was what drew him to salsa. After a battle with depression, he now praises salsa for helping him get back on his feet.

ADINDU: Salsa was the only thing that could make me smile. All those days I was battling, fighting with my demons, with my past, with my everything.

Salsa was the only thing that makes me feel like living. The most interesting thing about living on earth was Salsa.

ASHER: This massage therapist couldn't agree more.

EMEM ANDERSON, MASSAGE THERAPIST: It was like my personal social activity and it's helped me distract myself from a lot of stress and ease myself.


ASHER: Mental health challenges are often dismissed with a spiritual diagnosis in many parts of Nigeria. But Adindu is set on promoting the art

that gave him comfort.

ADINDU: I got happiness, love through dance and salsa. With everything I've passed through in my life, I've seen a lot, but I'm gonna give it out to

the world. This is my gift to the world by giving out love and expressing happiness.

ASHER: And guests here are receiving the Salsa love one step at a time.


ASHER: Amid the ongoing war, a successful heart transplant has been performed on a six-year-old girl in Ukraine in a medical first for that

country. The operation took place in Kyiv and lasted about three hours. The heart was donated by the parents of a four-year-old boy who doctors had

declared brain dead. The hospital said the boy's mother visited the girl after her surgery. It was the first time a heart transplant had been

performed in Ukraine on such a young child. All right, thank you so much for watching One World. I'm Zain Asher. Amanpour is up next. You're

watching CNN.