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One World with Zain Asher
Russia Launches More Drone And Missile Strikes On Odessa; U.S. Reaches Out To North Korea Regarding American Soldier Crossing Demarcation Line; Nigeria Fuel Prices Reach Highest Level; Special Counsel Jack Smith Sends Trump A Target Letter; Fighting Rages On In Sudan Despite Ceasefire Attempts; Heat Blanketing Parts of Europe Sparks Wildfires. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired July 19, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is One World. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is
accusing Russia of deliberately targeting grain deal infrastructure after a massive attack on the southern port city of Odessa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN teams on the ground captured video of Ukrainian air defenses shooting down incoming cruise missiles. Kyiv says the Russian strikes
destroyed about 60,000 tons of grain meant for export. Meantime, thousands of people were evacuated in occupied Crimea following explosions and a fire
at a reported Russian ammunition dump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN's Clare Sebastian has more on that Russian drone and missile strike on Odessa and what's being described as the worst attack on the
Ukrainian port city since the war began.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russia's promised response to Ukraine's attack on the Kerch Bridge linking Russia and Crimea seeming to escalate in
a pretty big way overnight into Wednesday. The mayor of Odessa calling it a fierce air battle, and the scale of which they haven't seen in almost 17
months of war. More than 30 cruise missiles were fired. Ukraine's air force says, five times the number we saw the previous night, and a similar number
of attack drones targeting Odessa and other regions.
The air force claiming that it shot down more than half of those targets. Well, clearly, Odessa is the key focus here, images surfacing of damage at
the port and in residential areas. President Zelenskyy accusing Russia of deliberately targeting infrastructure related to the grain deal. This
comes, of course, just two days after Russia pulled out of that deal, sparking international alarm over food prices and supply.
And we're now also hearing from the agriculture ministry in Ukraine that says 60,000 tons of grain was actually destroyed in Chornomorsk, another
port just down the Black Sea coast. That grain, supposed to ship out through the grain corridors to find under the Black Sea Initiative around
60 days ago. The Russian Ministry of Defense, for its part, makes no mention of grain facilities, claiming it was targeting military and fuel
infrastructure and claiming without evidence that all of its targets were hit.
President Putin, meanwhile, briefed on Wednesday on a separate incident, this time in Crimea. The pro-Russian head of that region saying that a fire
broke out at a military training facility in the east of the peninsula. Video on social media showing rolling explosions. Mid-reports, this was
also an ammunition dump. Crimean officials are saying that more than 2,000 local residents had to be evacuated. The cause of that is not yet known.
Clare Sebastian CNN, London.
ASHER: The head of Britain's intelligence agency is appealing to Russians who are, quote, wrestling with their conscience. In a rare public speech,
the MI6 chief issued a plea to Russians unhappy with Vladimir Putin's regime to spy for the U.K. Richard Moore also revealed some interesting new
details about Yevgeny Prigozhin. He told CNN that the Wagner boss is alive and that he is, quote, unquote, floating about. And a new video appears to
back that up.
In the video, which is grainy and low-light. Prigozhin is apparently greeting his fighters in Belarus. CNN is not able to verify the video or
geolocate the footage. Nick Paton Walsh is joining me live now from Prague. So, in this new video, Yevgeny Prigozhin is welcoming his fighters,
basically saying that through Wagner training, the Wagner Group will make Belarusian fighters the second-best military in the world. You spoke with
the head of MI6. Just walk us through what he said about the deal that Progression apparently struck with Vladimir Putin.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INT'L SECURITY: Yeah, it's remarkable to see this video, deeply inconclusive as it is, suggest emerge a matter of hours
after the head of MI6 said that Yevgeny Prigozhin was still, quote, "floating about". The first time we've really heard from Western
intelligence agencies on the record about their assessments, the extraordinary weekend at the end of June.
Now, interestingly, Moore's comments today essentially confirming what we'd seen publicly from the Kremlin. That's rare, frankly, because so much of
what the Kremlin emits is misinformation, designed to mislead and something else happens behind closed doors. But really, I think it's fair to say
Moore's comments, they suggested that the surface was to be believed. And he said it was remarkable, frankly, that Yevgeny Prigozhin had gone along
with this deal, that this deal had been accepted and foisted upon Vladimir Putin by the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.
He said that Putin had, quote, cut a deal to save his own skin. Here's a little more from Richard Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOORE, MI6 CHIEF: He really didn't fight back against Prigozhin. He cut a deal to save his skin using the good officers of the leader of
Belarus. So, even I can't see inside Putin's head, but the only person who has been, well, the only people who have been talking about escalation and
nuclear weapons are Putin and a handful of henchmen around him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Really describing, I think, Vladimir Putin rattled, often hard to even interpret over the past weeks or so, startling events for any long-
term observers of Russia at all, and interestingly, more referred to how it appeared that Putin -- sorry, Prigozhin, during this time had breakfast
been branded, traded by supper had been pardoned, and a few days later had been invited into Kremlin for tea. Really trying to expose, I think, the
flip-flopping we've seen from Vladimir Putin as he wrestled with this unprecedented challenge to his power.
And so, the appeal that was made here in Prague, the last European capital before Ukraine, to see Russian tanks on its streets in the 60s a long time
ago, the appeal to disaffected Russians to spy for the United Kingdom, I think also trying to seize upon that sense of weakness within the Russian
elites, discombobulation, confusion. Also, too interesting to point out, Zain, that during this speech, Richard Moore talked about Iran's role in
this as a regular supplier of weaponry towards Russia and that some of the drones you heard about there that have been used attacking Odessa over the
past days, some of the other military supplies had in fact caused fissures at the very heights of Iran's government, division about whether they
should indeed be doing this.
And so, some interesting insights certainly and also too, a belief that still despite the slow progress of Ukraine on the battlefield at this
stage, Richard Moore did not believe that Russia would regain the momentum on the battlefield at this point, but still interesting to see a man with
that access to that kind of information still saying, listen, we really have been watching what's been happening with that failed rebellion in
Russia and ourselves being at times baffled and amazed by it. Zain.
ASHER: Yeah, it's incredible. I mean, a lot of people assume that Prigozhin was a dead man walking after that rebellion, and then he ends up, you know,
meeting Putin face to face. Certainly, quite a head scratcher. Nick Paton Walsh, live for us there. Thank you so much.
The U.S. has been actively reaching out to North Korea regarding the American soldier who made a run across the demarcation line into North
Korea on Tuesday. But a defense official says they have not heard anything back from Pyongyang. Private Travis King had faced disciplinary action,
according to an Army official. Court documents reveal he was brought to a South Korean court on assault charges last year. The incident comes during
a sensitive time with Pyongyang ramping up its ballistic missile tests. Two short-range missiles were launched early Wednesdays.
CNN's Marc Stewart joins us live now from Tokyo. So, Marc, just walk us through what more we know about this particular private, Travis King, and
his decision to cross over into North Korea. How much of it was pre- planned? I mean, it looks as though it wasn't exactly spontaneous.
MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Zain. I think that's a very good question. And I've been going through the timeline today here in Tokyo. And
while it appears there were certainly some deliberate decisions, again, it is hard to know if this was something spontaneous or something that was
well thought out.
Private Travis, or rather, the private king was supposed to be flying to the United States to begin the process of separating from the U.S.
military. He was taken to the airport by escorts, but one those escorts left is side, he somehow left the airport and then the next day appeared on
this tour of the demilitarized zone and then, to use the words of a government official, willfully made the trek into North Korea.
But as far as his insight into all of that, that's a bit mysterious. We have not heard from North Korea. In fact, right now there are no diplomatic
relationships between the two nations, so we have no idea on his condition. Zain, his mother did talk to ABC News and she said she was surprised by all
ASHER: And just in terms of our, I think actually we are running out of time, so I have to leave it there. Marc Stewart, live for us there. Thank
you so much. Appreciate it. All right. Still to come, despite repeated warnings from President Ruto and his government, Kenyans are taking to the
street as a fresh wave of anti-tax protests gets underway.
We'll have a live report from the Capitol just ahead. Also ahead, Nigerians are feeling the pain at the pump, and it is reverberating across the
country's entire economy. We'll look at Africa's largest economy after the break.
ASHER: The cost of living crisis across much of Africa, worsened by Russia's war on Ukraine, is spurring new unrest. Police fired tear gas and
dozens of protesters threw rocks and set fires in the streets of Nairobi today as the first of three days of planned demonstrations got underway.
Opposition leaders have called on Kenyans to make their voices heard as anger grows over a slew of unpopular tax hikes that threatened to worsen
the economic strain already facing in the country. Despite a court order to temporarily halt the hikes, the government went ahead and increased a levy
on petroleum products, causing a jump in fuel prices.
The U.N. says it is very concerned about the widespread use of violence by security forces after 23 demonstrations -- demonstrators rather, were
reportedly killed in recent protests. CNN's Larry Madowo has the latest for us from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. So, just walk us through how the
protests we've seen today compared to previous protests that we saw in Kenya earlier this month. And what sort of show of force are we seeing,
Larry, from security forces?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just after nightfall here in Nairobi. This is a region of Kibera where Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, has a
lot of support. And you see this huge security contingent. This is a water cannon truck in the back. That's one of the three we've seen this afternoon
that's been spraying chemical water on some of the demonstrators trying to make sure that they don't block the roads, they don't barricade any of the
places that people need to use. But even though we didn't see major street protests today here in the capital of Nairobi or across the city or across
the country, there were still almost no business activity.
So, in a way, these opposition leaders were able to bring the economy of Kenya to a standstill by just the threat of three days of protests made
sure that a lot of people didn't go to work. The government closed schools here in the capital, Nairobi, as well as in Kisumu and Mombasa, two other
major cities, which made sure that the streets were even more deserted. And then you see this. Even though it's after midnight, these security officers
tell us they still have to stay here, because sometimes they take advantage. Some you take advantage to try and steal.
They've also taken some incoming, like this is a windshield that's completely broken because they've been having young people throwing rocks
at them, throwing projectiles, anything that they could just to try and push back these security officers who've been maintaining order, Zain. So,
it's been this day of balance confrontations between security officers in many parts of the country and these demonstrators, who some of them, to be
fair, they take advantage of it.
And you mentioned the U.N. condemning widespread violence in these protests. Kenya's Foreign Secretary, Dr. Afri Mutua, today called out the
U.N., saying that statement was inaccurate and misleading, and they will be formally protesting to the United Nations. And they are calling these
demonstrations as economic saboteurs disguised as protests then. Yes, we'll be following these protests closely over the next couple of days. Larry
Madowo, live for us there. Thank you so much.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is the center of attention in Washington, D.C. today. Just moments ago, he delivered a rare address to the U.S.
Congress. Mr. Herzog pointed to Iran and its efforts to build a nuclear bomb as a threat to peace in the Middle East. He also said that Israel
wants peace with the Palestinians, but progress cannot be made while terrorism is being used as a negotiating tactic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Israelis are targeted while waiting for buses, while taking a stroll on the promenade, while spending time with
their family. Terror is not a bump in the road. Terror is hatred and bloodshed. It contradicts humanity's most basic principles of peace. Israel
cannot and will not tolerate terror. And we know that in this we are joined by the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And let's bring in one of the lawmakers who is there for Mr. Herzog's speech. He is Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a member of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, so good to see you. Obviously, President Herzog's role in Israeli politics is largely ceremonial, so I do
want to talk about the elephant in the room, and that is, of course, the judicial overhaul happening in Israel right now. How should President Biden
walk the fine line between obviously standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel. The U.S. and Israel are allies that go back many years, but at the
same time, holding Israel accountable for what is clearly democratic, backsliding. Your thoughts, Senator.
CHRIS COONS, U.S. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: President Herzog gave a very strong and impressive speech today to a joint session of the U.S.
Congress and he did speak to that issue of the widespread, nation-wide protest now over many, many weeks about a controversial proposal to revise
the judicial laws of Israel in a way that would make the judiciary more subject to action by the legislative and executive branches of government.
He spoke generally about the importance of respecting the right to protest and to express one's views peacefully and the importance of reaching
consensus in any path forward that might reform the structures of Israeli government. President Herzog has deep credibility. It was his own father
who spoke to the American Congress in his role as president, and it was his grandfather who was the chief rabbi of Jerusalem at the time of Israeli
So, his role in the Knesset, his role in speaking as a protector of the democratic institutions of Israel, I think was important at this moment.
And to your question, Zain, President Biden, who has been very actively engaged in the U.S.-Israel relationship for five decades now, is striking,
I think, the appropriate balance of delivering any concerns or criticisms privately and of sustaining this robust and bipartisan relationship.
ASHER: I mean, let's talk more specifically about the relationship that President Biden has with Netanyahu. Obviously, he's known Netanyahu, Prime
Minister Netanyahu, for many, many years. Netanyahu is invited to a meeting with Biden later on this year. The president was very vague about it. He
chose to invite Herzog this time.
And, obviously, as you touch on, Senator, democracy is a foundational principle of the American ideal. It is fundamentally a huge part of
America's DNA. The fact that President Biden is meeting with Netanyahu at all at this particular time, at this particular juncture in America and
Israeli politics, as the country seems to be sliding towards basically autocracy. What message does that send to protesters in Israel?
COONS: Well, I don't think President Biden agreeing to meet with the prime minister of Israel is any endorsement of a particular legislative package
or action. You say they are sliding towards authoritarianism or autocracy. I don't think that it's clear endorsement of a particular legislative
package or action.
You say they are sliding towards authoritarianism or autocracy. I don't think that it's clear ultimately what will happen in the Knesset with the
proposals that are gravely concerning. And I think the message to protesters of our receiving President Herzog today in the Congress is that
we respect the tradition of robust debate, of peaceful demonstration, and of the foundations of democracy that are a shared legacy between our two
Look around the world, there are countries whose leaders come here and comment to us about how the January 6th riots that nearly overturned our
capital and our ability to have a peaceful transition of power, gravely concerned those who respect and appreciate the traditions of American
democracy. And we are sharing with our friends and partners around the world that we have to strike a balance, protecting a free press, preserving
an independent judiciary, respecting the rights of citizens to protest, but not allowing those protests to become so violent or so disruptive as to
overturn a society. This is a difficult balance to strike in many countries around the world, and I do think a core part of President Biden's
engagement with the world over five decades has been having these relationships that allows him to urge leaders to step back from decisions
or actions that might undermine the very underpinnings of democracy.
ASHER: Yeah, this is obviously the most sort of far-right government in Israeli history. And when you think about comments made by Representative
Jayapal, who essentially called Israel a racist state over the weekend, just, you know, there does appear to be some division within your party,
within the Democratic Party, about the right way to approach this relationship with Israel. Just walk us through, A, how concerning that is
to you, the level of division, and B, what the right way is to build consensus among Democrats so that they can present a unified front.
COONS: Well, Zain, to be clear, the congresswoman promptly walked those comments back and expressed regret for having used that terminology, and
the House has now taken up and passed a resolution essentially going in the other direction of the statements she made. Let me speak more directly to
your question. I think it's important that in my caucus, in the Senate, among Democrats, and in the Senate more broadly, that we continue to
sustain a decades-long, deep and bipartisan commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
You saw that on the floor of the Congress in the House of Representatives here today, where the applause and the positive response to President
Herzog's speech was very common, very similar across both parties, both houses. We've got our Vice President, Kamala Harris, and the Speaker of the
House, Kevin McCarthy, of standing and applauding at virtually the same moment throughout the entire speech. I do think it's important for us to
deliver our criticisms, our questions, our concerns about current Israeli political decisions privately and to not hold back from them. And President
Herzog said he welcomes criticism, questions, concerns from his friends in the United States. So, I think that's the approach we need to follow.
We are about to take up later tomorrow, the bill that I lead along with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, that is essential to our
contributions to the U.S.-Israel relationship, the development relationship, the security relationship. I expect that to be unanimous in
our committee. So, I think there is strong bipartisan support for the U.S.- Israel relationship at the same time that there are concerns about the direction in which Israeli democracy may be going in the weeks and months
ASHER: We'll see how it plays out. Senator Chris Coons, live for us there. Thank you so much.
COONS: Thank you, Zain.
ASHER: All right. Fuel prices in Nigeria are about to reach their highest level ever, 78 cents per liter. This comes two months after the president
scrapped a popular, yet very expensive fuel subsidy. Of course, with higher fuel prices comes higher inflation. All of this in Africa's largest
economy. Stephanie Busari looks at how Nigerians are coping with this very difficult situation.
BOLA TINUBU, PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA: The fuel subsidy is gone.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR FOR AFRICA (voice-over): It was a moment that caught many off guard. Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu
accelerating ahead, announcing his first major policy at his inauguration in May, triggering panic buying at petrol stations, with fuel prices
tripling immediately and soaring to record highs. The shift in gears angered Nigerians, who in the past have protested previous attempts to
remove the fuel price caps.
Nearly two months on and people are feeling the pinch.
REJOICE CHUKWUNEKE, MARKETER: At the end of the months, I have to borrow money and food since 80 percent of my salary goes into transportation.
BUSARI: The rise in petrol prices poured fuel on the economic fire, with inflation now hitting nearly 23 percent. The first impact is on inflation.
The second impact is on income. And the third impact is when will relief come?
BUSARI: That relief, however, is not in sight yet, with Tinubu pleading for patience. It's rush hour on this busy street in the heart of Lagos Island.
And typically, the streets will be gridlocked with cars stuck in Lagos' legendary go-slow traffic. It seems an unintended consequence of the fuel
subsidy removal is that people simply aren't getting into their cars.
Increased operating costs, including fuel power generators to combat the country's erratic electricity supply, are also forcing some businesses to
press the brakes, while others such as this clothing store in Lagos are finding creative solutions to stay afloat.
WJIRO AMOS TAFIRI, DESIGNER: We're flexible with our hours to make sure that we're maximizing on the resources that we have. So that once the
generator is on, we're maximizing production and then when we are powering down, we know we're powering down.
BUSARI: Meanwhile, offices are also turning off their lights, with work from home policies being introduced to combat soaring costs.
STEVE BABAEKO, ADVERTISING AGENCY OWNER: Post pandemic, we reduced working to like maybe four days a week. But now, with the removal of subsidy, we
reduced to three days a week. So, people work from home on Mondays. Everybody hates Mondays anyway, so we just took Mondays off.
BUSARI: While the road ahead remains bumpy for miles to come. Nigerians who have shouldered many hardships in recent years are continuing to display
the usual resilience and determination in the face of difficulty.
ASHER: And Stephanie Busari joins us live now from Lagos. So, Stephanie, here's the thing. Obviously, when you have higher fuel costs, it also leads
to the higher cost of pretty much everything, especially food. And President Tinubu is implementing some measures to help poorer Nigerians,
including trying to pump more money into the agricultural sector, trying to protect farmers, for example, from being kidnapped for ransom, which can
happen in Nigeria. Just walk us through whether or not any of these measures are actually going to make a difference in the short term.
BUSARI (on-camera): So, Zain, one of the measures has already hit a roadblock. President Tinubu announced last week that he was planning to
give 8000 Naira, which is equivalent to about $10, to the poorest of the poor as a monthly conditional cash payment, and this was going to be done
for about six months to about 12 million households. But he faced a barrage of criticism, because quite frankly, it's not just going to touch the
We've got inflation of 22.7 percent and like you say, every day, the cost of living increases. You walk into a shop and there's signs everywhere
saying, due to current situation, we're forced to increase our prices. It's across the board. So that 8000 Naira per month is just really inadequate.
And that money is coming from borrowing. And Nigeria is already in huge public debt.
So, he's had to go back to the drawing board and he's going to be announcing new palliative measures to help to ease the burden. And he's
faced a lot of criticism also about how this has been handled. Many say there should have been palliative measures announced before this fuel
subsidy was removed, Zain.
ASHER: All right, Stephanie Busari, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, coming up as fierce fighting rages in Sudan, we'll take a deeper
look at the country's struggle over the past few years, especially when it comes to heading towards democracy. We'll talk to a U.N. official behind a
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. Sources tell CNN that Donald Trump's legal team was caught off guard by the latest move from the special
counsel investigating the former president. Jack Smith sent Trump a target letter on Sunday. Multiple reports say the letter cites three statutes
related to deprivation of rights, conspiracy to defraud the United States and witness tampering.
Trump's legal team had not expected Smith to move so quickly in his investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The letter is a
sign, Smith could file charges against Trump in the next few weeks. Let's bring in CNN's crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz with more.
Katelyn, what more can you tell us?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Trump's team is caught off guard at least that's what they've been telling our own
Kristen Holmes today by the fact that this investigation is at this place where Donald Trump is very likely to be charged with a crime, very likely
to be arrested related to what he did after the 2020 election and then leading up to and on January 6th, that day of the riot at the Capitol. But
really, we never will know the full scope of the case until the Justice Department plans to bring it, until they make public what would be in their
And so in the coming days, Zain, we are waiting to see if a grand jury in a Washington, D.C. federal courthouse is going to approve an indictment
against the former president, potentially others as well, what exactly the charges will be, and how much of a sweeping investigation, an investigation
that looked into the White House, that spoke to the former Vice President Mike Pence about Trump and his conversations and other things that happened
to him as someone who was victimized by January 6th and was being the recipient of a great amount of political pressure to overturn the vote
across the country, and also to see how the national information that the special counsel's office has gathered, how that fits into the case.
We know now that they have spoken to state officials that were receiving calls from Donald Trump and others, as well as officials who administered
elections in various states across the country, especially ones that had very close results for Trump that he lost, but thought he could overturn
the popular votes in those states to help him put more wins in his column and keep the presidency his. And so, there's still a waiting to be had here
about exactly when this charge is going to come, what it will say, who will be charged, if Trump indeed himself will be charged. We do think, Zain, it
could come as soon as tomorrow or even Friday.
ASHER: All right, we'll be watching closely. Katelyn Polantz, live for us there. Thank you so much. The tenuous path towards democracy has proven to
be elusive in several nations across Africa, especially Sudan, where despite numerous ceasefire attempts, fighting rages on. Four years before
the current chaos we're seeing today, Sudan seemed to be on a path towards democracy.
After tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Khartoum calling for change, the popular uprising succeeded in toppling President Omar al-
Bashir, whose nearly 30-year rule was marked by fear, violence and economic collapse. Civilian and military factions agreed to share power in a three-
year transition and promised elections would eventually be held. But that never happened. Instead, pro-democracy activists took to the streets again
and again, risking their lives, demanding transition to civilian rule. Instead, all they got was empty promises and infighting between two
generals leading a nation to the brink of civil war.
Time now for The Exchange. The U.N. says that between 2020 and 2022, Africa experienced at least six coups, a sharp rise from the previous two decades.
The U.N., along with the African Union, has launched an initiative to help countries going through complex political transitions. Ahunna Eziakonwa is
the regional director for Africa at the U.N. development program, and she joins us live now. Ahunna, thank you so much for being with us.
I do want to start with Sudan. This is a country that has been through so much. It has been through so much in its quest for democracy. I mean, it's
seen the military dictatorships, it's seen coups, it's seen military rule, it's seen revolutions, it's seen countless demonstrations in which ordinary
civilians and protesters have lost their lives. Even after this civil war ends, hopefully, it will soon, but even after the civil war ends, what does
Sudan's transition towards democracy even look like?
AHUNNA EZIAKONWA, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: Well, this is exactly -- thanks for having me. This is exactly
why we launched this facility with the African Union, because we are seeing that political transitions today are more and more complex because they're
happening alongside many other transitions, economic transitions, environmental transitions. We have the impact of climate change. We've had
COVID. We have now the war in Ukraine.
So, countries are really, severely stressed at the same time as they are trying to pursue political transitions. And so, they are hugely complex and
therefore it's not just going to happen after elections that you have an automatic transition. You need to invest in a long-term way, a lot of
resources to make sure that the transitions themselves are inclusive. And that's the same for Sudan. You can't just leave it to the warlords and the
political elite. We need to have the voices of citizens, women, men and youth, as part of constructing the new Sudan.
ASHER: I mean, it's interesting because, I mean, it's not just, I named Sudan because obviously that is the focus, that's where everyone's eyes is
on because of the civil war that's happening there, but it's not just Sudan. I mean, you're seeing one man rule in places like Tunisia. You're
seeing political anarchy in Libya. I think Mali has had, if I'm not mistaken, about three coups in the last sort of 10 to 15 years.
There's also Chad, as well. Idriss Deby died a couple of years ago, his son took over and the idea of civilian rule in Chad is proving to be more and
more elusive. Whose job is it to assist these nations in their transition, or encourage I should say, these nations in their transition towards
democracy? I mean, is it the role of the African Union, for example? Is it the role of the international community? Who is responsible, if you will?
EZIAKONWA: I think it's a collective responsibility because if you take what's happening in the Sahel region where we've seen these
unconstitutional changes of government, they are grappling with insecurity.
With the war against terrorism, violent extremism, and you know, you have also climate change issues. These are all global issues and therefore, I
think it needs global action for these countries to be accompanied to transition smoothly to a constitutional order. So, it is the role of the
international community, it is the role of regional actors and that's why this Africa facility to support inclusive transitions, which we're calling
AFSIT, was launched just recently in Nairobi with the African Union and the U.N. development program, because we want to mobilize collective action to
accompany these complex transitions, whether it's in Chad, in Mali, in Burkina Faso, in Sudan, or in Guinea, indeed.
But also, we have increasingly a number of countries that actually, they're not going through coups, but they have manipulations in constitutions that
actually raise a lot of insecurity and public outcry. So, transitions are quite vulnerable to violence these days. And so, we need a predictable
facility that is also flexible and adapt to the context because every context is different.
And the role that we're playing as the U.N. development program alongside the African Union is to also to use our convening power to bring actors
together. So, we're all pulling in the same direction. Because sometimes if there isn't convergence of interest to mobilize for a successful
transition, what you could have is interference that actually delays transition.
ASHER: You know, I'm so glad you said that. I'm so glad you said that because it's not just about authoritarianism. It's much more complex. I
mean, you've got countries like Senegal, for example. That is a democracy but Mack Sall, President of Senegal, was, we all thought, inching towards
perhaps trying to seize a third term. He didn't, so that is somewhat of a bright spot, but you've got elections in places like Nigeria and Sierra
Leone where people also question the results, as well. I mean, Nigeria has been under civilian rule since 1999, but that doesn't mean that its
elections are perfect. So, just walk us through what can be done about that.
EZIAKONWA: Well, you know, we just did another study which we called soldiers and citizens, the pathways to renewal of democracy. I think the
point here and what we found, we interviewed about 8000 people and it's quite a large pool of individuals, of citizens just to ask their views on
these complex transitions and the unconstitutional change of government that we're seeing, but also the restlessness of citizens around what
democracy has to offer or not.
And what we are finding is you have a lot of enthusiasm and even warm reception of military rule at the beginning. But you know, it's more like a
cry for democracy, for a renewal of democracy. Not just that people want the military to come back into power, but they want democracy that works
for them. And they want elections that are fair, that are transparent, and that are inclusive where every citizen feels that their vote really counts,
not sham elections that legitimize, you know, existing ruling parties.
And so, we've seen that this is possible actually, because we've seen quite a few smooth transitions of power. Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Botswana. So,
it's possible for us to consolidate democracy on the continent. But we need to be predictable in the way we support transitions, even after elections,
because usually the trouble starts after elections when you have contestations around the results of the elections.
ASHER: Of course.
EZIAKONWA: But for UNDP, for us, it's also about making sure before elections that we have institutions that actually deliver credible
processes. That's why we support with technical assistance to make sure that those political institutions are positioned in ways that they can
deliver fair, credible, transparent processes, political processes.
ASHER: All right, Ahunna Eziakonwa, thank you so much for being with us. I appreciate it.
EZIAKONWA: Thank you for having me.
ASHER: Of course. All right, still to come here in one world, Vladimir Putin will apparently attend, not apparently attend, the BRICS Summit
taking place in Johannesburg next month. It's not going to be in person. We'll have more on South Africa's diplomatic dilemma just ahead.
ASHER: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his Russian counterpart will not attend next month's BRICS summit in Johannesburg by mutual
agreement. But Russian state media says Vladimir Putin will be there via video conference. At issue is whether South Africa, as a member of the
International Criminal Court, would be required to arrest the Russian president who is facing an ICC warrant for arrest for alleged war crimes.
CNN's Dave McKenzie joins us live now from Johannesburg. So, this idea that Vladimir Putin is not going to be attending in person presumably would
allow Ramaphosa to breathe a sigh of relief because the South Africans were being caught between a rock and a hard place here.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that's right, Zain. I certainly think there's a sigh of relief going around in the
South African government because they were placed in a very unenviable position. Ever since Vladimir Putin and one of his allies were indicted in
that International Criminal Court ruling a few months ago, the speculation started and it didn't stop as to whether the Russian president will come
here to South Africa in late August for this critical summit. In the end, the statement by the presidential spokesman was relatively calm and
collected. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINCENT MAGWENYA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN: The summit will be attended by the leaders of Brazil, China, India and South Africa. By mutual
agreement between all BRICS member states, President Putin will not be attending the summit. However, Russia will be represented by its foreign
minister, Minister Lavrov.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: And now the state media and Russia are saying he will be there virtually, as you say, Zain. But this comes after intense pressure from
Western powers on South Africa to talk, while they said they have been neutral in terms of words, but to show in actions that they are neutral and
not to show that they are carrying favor to the Russians.
Earlier this year, you had those naval exercises hosted by South Africa, including China and, of course, Russia. And then later, the revelations
from the U.S. ambassador to South Africa very rarely giving a public rebuke to the South African government, claiming that there were arms and
ammunition placed on a sanctioned Russian vessel that was heading to Russia.
So, this will placate, certainly, I think, the U.S. and the E.U., but this isn't the end of the story. For now though, you're right, I think South
Africa will be breathing a sigh of relief. Zain.
ASHER: Yes. All right, Dave McKenzie, live for us there. Thank you so much. We'll have much more news after the break.
ASHER: The heat that has blanketed parts of Europe and sparked wildfires is showing no end. Some parts of Greece are expected to hit 44 degrees.
Melissa Bell shows us how the rest of Europe is coping.
BECKY TODD, TOURIST: We didn't expect it to be as hot. We expected heat, but not this hot.
LAURA GUERRA, TOUR GUIDE (through translator): We are holding on as best as we can, looking for places with air conditioning and staying well-hydrated.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Europeans are feeling the heat. As temperatures reach blistering highs, Italy, Greece, Spain, and
Switzerland are just some of the countries already suffering the consequences. In Switzerland, forest fires ripped through several mountain
villages as emergency services worked through the night to tackle the flames, mobilizing at least 200 emergency workers to secure the safe
evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes.
ADRIENNE BELLWALD, SPOKESWOMAN, VALAIS CANTON POLICE (through translator): Yesterday, we evacuated 205 people from Oberried and Ried-Morel. And as the
wind was slowing down, we didn't have to evacuate people from Riederaalp, luckily.
BELL: Over in Greece, firefighters tackled blazes spreading across four woodland areas near Athens and ordering thousands of residents to leave
their homes. It was some 62,000 people who died here in Europe last year as a result of the heat, and one meteorologist is warning that this time, too,
the heat wave we're going through could well prove to be an invisible killer, not just in Europe but around the world, also warning that this may
actually be the new normal.
JOHN NAIRN, ADVISER, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: These events will continue to grow in intensity and the world needs to prepare for more
intense heat waves and they will have quite serious impacts on human health and livelihoods.
BELL: In Italy, there are 20 cities enduring what the health ministry describes as a heat wave and which involves high-risk conditions which last
for three days or more. That didn't deter some from queuing to visit the Italian capital's Colosseum with tourists doing what they could to try and
ANDREAS DREAN, TOURIST: The first strategy, I guess, is finding places like this one we're chilling out right now. I don't know, drink a lot of water.
BELL: Others felt the heat was damning their holiday.
DALPHNA NIEBUHR, TOURIST: The heat is horrible. It's wet. It's making it kind of miserable. I'm ready to go back to my hotel instead of walking
BELL: Meanwhile, Spain is battling its third heat wave this year, with wildfires raging across the Canary Islands and authorities warning that
temperatures are set to rise further still. It is so much of the world that finds itself in the middle of a heat wave. And for some, there's nothing to
do but bask in the sun and search for some much-needed fresh air. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
ASHER: Thank you so much for watching One World. Amanpour is up next.