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Hala Gorani Tonight
International Push Intensifies for Israel-Gaza Ceasefire; Israeli Security Cabinet Meets Amid Calls for a Ceasefire; BBC Criticized Over Famous Diana Interview; Russia Beefing Up Military Presence in Arctic Region; Netanyahu: Israel Will Either "Deter" Or "Conquer" Hamas; Biden Vows To Protect Maritime Commerce In S. China Sea. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 20, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST: Hello everyone, live from CNN London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Israel's cabinet is meeting as we speak as the world waits
to see if there will be a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict. Also this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This entire airbase is covered in ice, and yet, the Russians have managed to extend the runway to a point where they can land
even their heaviest aircrafts here including strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we take a look inside Russia's expanding ambitions at the top of the world. I'll be speaking with Sweden's Foreign Minister about the
threat some countries believe this poses. And deceiving Diana. The "BBC" is criticized for how it secured one of the most famous interviews shown on
And there is a lot happening this hour in the push for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants. But amid all the talk, both sides are escalating
attacks as a possible truce nears. There have been some reports perhaps that an agreement has been reached. We don't have that confirmed. The
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with his security cabinet right now. These are images from that event coming into us. These
images show him with those top officials before the meeting actually began. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity.
Foreign ministers from Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are in Israel today. They visited a building hit by rocket fire from Gaza, and
Germany's foreign minister was also expected to meet with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.
A U.N. official, meantime, is in Qatar to talk with Hamas leadership. The U.N. General Assembly also talking about the conflict, Israel's ambassador
walked out in protest as the Palestinian representative accused Israel of war crimes. The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister spoke earlier to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: Netanyahu obviously is extending this operation to serve his political interests.
This is self-centered Netanyahu, the prime minister who wants simply to stay in power.
And he is making the cost of his -- or himself as staying in power, the cost of so many lives, so many innocent Palestinians have lost their lives
because of that. I think Netanyahu is a deviant prime minister who has been totally rejecting every mediation effort by United States, by the Arab
countries, mainly Egypt, and by Europe.
And I think that Netanyahu should be held accountable to all what he is committing of crimes against our people in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and
mainly in Gaza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, that's the view from the Palestinian authority. Let's get the latest now from Israel. Nic Robertson is live in Ashdod, first reports
in the Israeli press, we have not confirmed them, that potentially we are nearing some sort of truce. Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Hala, I don't know if you can hear the sirens are going off, which means there could be
rockets coming in. So we're going to try and get ourselves to a safer place here just now. This will just take us a second. Bear with us.
This location has been -- actually a rocket landed right outside this hotel a little earlier today, which is why -- which is why we're headed inside at
the moment. This will be much safer when we can get in here and we can keep talking to you properly.
But I think this gives you an idea. There is the intercept explosion, so we're hearing that. I think this will give you an idea -- this is the
secure room in the hotel here. And I think this will give you an idea that although a ceasefire is being discussed at the moment, it's you know, sort
of anything but arrived at a conclusion. The --
GORANI: Nic, I'm going to let you -- I'm going to let you continue, but I just want to let our viewers know that we've lost your image. We have your
audio, though. So, just continue to describe what's going on because we heard the air raid sirens go off --
ROBERTSON: Yes --
GORANI: You had to take shelter.
ROBERTSON: So, right now, Hala, I am inside a secure room in the hotel. A rocket actually landed outside this hotel and embedded in the road just
earlier on today. Just before we were coming on air there, we heard that sirens were going off in the area immediately outside of Gaza. And just as
you were coming to us, you heard the sirens going off there.
So this will be -- we'll be in this room here for maybe another minute, maybe another 30 seconds. I think perhaps we'll be able to go outside in
just a few moments. But I think what this underscores is that level of uncertainty. That security cabinet meeting is underway. There's a lot of
expectation and a lot of pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu.
But at the moment, the conflict as we've seen it for the last ten days, that continues.
GORANI: And describe -- you're back in vision by the way, just in case you weren't aware, Nic. Describe exactly where you are, this is typically what
happens when an air raid sirens goes off signaling that perhaps there's a risk that a Hamas rocket would fall in the vicinity of where you're
standing. So it would be unsafe to remain outside.
ROBERTSON: It would. Particularly on the side of the hotel where we were located because the building adjacent to us on this -- on that same side
was hit two nights ago. So to --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Stay on that balcony would not be safe if say a rocket hit outside. But this has become a sort of -- you know, the number of times --
how many times a night are you coming here into the shelter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many times.
ROBERTSON: Many times. This lady -- we've got to know her, this wonderful lady, and her dog in the shelter here. We've gotten to know her very well.
And yes, this has become normal for people here to come into these shelters. They're protected on all sides.
You have these in most of the hotels, most homes around here, new homes at least will be built with these. They're strong rooms with steel doors and
steel covers on the windows. But you know, we should be able to go out in a few minutes and people would just have to listen for the sirens again to
know when they come back in.
And of course, this is why people here are really hoping that a ceasefire is found. That --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: You know, hope that they can be made safe by their defense forces, but also there's a hope they can get back to their -- back to their
normal lives here, Hala.
GORANI: It's always a great opportunity just to see ordinary people affected by these extraordinary and very unstable, you know, events around
them. This lady with her dog --
ROBERTSON: And a very -- and a very -- I have to say, Hala, for a dog that's being kept in an enclosed room --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: And has to trot off here, and I know this, we've talked before. I know sometimes this dog has been asleep and had to come in here,
remarkably well behaved. It just shows --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: How people's lives here are getting attuned and changed to the conditions around them.
GORANI: And can you -- can you -- I don't know if she wants to share her thoughts, but what does this lady want to see happen now.
ROBERTSON: Let me ask that question. Can I talk to you live on CNN just now about the situation and how you feel about it? Is that OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ROBERTSON: Yes, OK, let's do that. Let's just do that. So, I'm going to bring the microphone over here with us, point it down here. So, tell me,
how do you feel at the moment being in a shelter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the first sirens is scary, but then you like get used to it.
ROBERTSON: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I'm still afraid inside, and most of all, I'm afraid for my dog.
ROBERTSON: How is your dog handling it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
ROBERTSON: How is the dog handling being in the shelter, good?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's fine with it --
ROBERTSON: Yes, so right now the government is having a security cabinet meeting. What are you hoping is going to come out of that meeting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want the missiles to stop. I think if we start it, we have to end it and go to the end.
ROBERTSON: So, you want the prime minister to continue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ROBERTSON: Yes, because you feel that the threat is still there and you're still in danger?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they will continue, it doesn't matter if they will stop now and have a -- shall we call it, because they will continue.
ROBERTSON: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have the rockets and they'll do it.
ROBERTSON: And there's a lot of -- there's a lot of pressure on the prime minister from the United States, from all the European leaders to stop, to
essentially make it safe not just here for you, but to make it safe for the people in Gaza as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but if we don't -- you don't continue right now, it will be continued. And it will be hard. So we have to continue now so
there will be no hurts in the future.
ROBERTSON: And if the prime minister comes out and says, OK, we're going to have a ceasefire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have nothing to say.
ROBERTSON: You are with them --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't call him and tell him continue. So --
ROBERTSON: Yes, well, thank you very much for talking to us, I appreciate it. Hala, I think that gives you an idea of, you know, how people feel. We
can leave the shelter, so we'll head out of the shelter and back to our balcony. Just give us some moment here. As you can see, it's fairly close
to our room. Here we go, coming back out. And as I say, a rocket literally landed next to the hotel here this afternoon. I don't know if we can play
the video, but we do have the video of the rocket embedded in the middle of the road outside of the hotel.
And a couple of nights ago, that building there that's under construction was hit by a rocket. So, you know, when the sirens go off, even though
there are those interceptor missiles, the threat -- the threat is very real and people feel it. You just heard from that lady there, people --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: Feel it, Hala.
GORANI: Thanks very much, Nic Robertson live in Ashdod there with that lady you were sharing the shelter with for a few minutes there, saying she
doesn't want this campaign to stop. She wants Netanyahu to finish what he started in her words. Thanks so much. Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem right now.
Any word on a potential truce, what are you hearing?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are reports in Israeli media and elsewhere that there will be a ceasefire or that the security cabinet
will agree on a ceasefire potentially to start tomorrow. But we don't have any of that confirmed. And in a situation like this, anything can change in
the last minute. You heard what happened to Nic right there, sirens still going off, rockets still being fired.
And the Israeli military as far as they're concerned, until they get the word that a ceasefire is reached, they will continue to try to hit those
targets, to reach the military objectives they -- although they say that they have degraded the Hamas capabilities, that they've targeted more than
1,500 sites they say belong to Gazan militants. They will want to continue until they have reached what they say is all their military objectives that
the defense minister said today they want to set Hamas back years so that Israel when in place have years of quiet.
And the way it's been described to me is that every day of this operation, they believe buys them months of quiet in the future, and they want years
of quiet. But I think Hala, the real question here is, even if this ceasefire is announced, first of all, the Israelis are concerned that there
will be a sort of last-minute barrage, a last minute attempt by the Gazan militants to make their mark. So, even though a ceasefire might be
announced that it's coming soon, the Israeli military will still be likely preparing for something to happen in the last few hours.
And they will, potentially, who knows, maybe they will respond to something as well, until that ceasefire actually takes into effect. But Hala, even if
this ceasefire is announced, my question is what will fundamentally change to change this tortured cycle that we have been experiencing in this region
now for years.
So far, we have not heard anything that would fundamentally change the situation on the ground, the situation in Gaza with Hamas, the situation
between Hamas and Israel. So sure, ceasefire might be announced, and we might have a cessation of the rockets, a cessation of the military
activity. But what will actually change that will make -- that will make sure that this sort of situation does not happen again in the future? And
as of right now, we have not heard from either side that anything will actually fundamentally change.
GORANI: All right, Hadas Gold, thanks very much, and that's a great segue to our story, our next story. Ben Wedeman looks at the road ahead and a
warning by the way that some of the images in his report are quite disturbing. Take a look.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the 10th of May, the god of war has smiled down upon this blighted land. Air strikes and rocket
barrages, artillery and mortar fire. Hundreds of people dead, and more than 2,000 wounded, tens of thousands made homeless. A ceasefire or perhaps a
lull, approaches. And then what?
WEDEMAN (on camera): The current round of hostilities between Gaza and Israel -- this too shall pass. What shall not pass are the reasons for this
conflict played out in places like here, Al-Bireh and other villages, towns and cities in the West Bank. In places like Sheikh Jarrah, in east
Jerusalem, and, indeed, in Gaza itself.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Going back more than a decade, Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face forced eviction has been a constant flash point
in Jerusalem, even more so today. In Jerusalem, Palestinian residents, nearly 40 percent of the population pay taxes, carry Israeli identification
cards, but among other things, can't vote in national elections. A new wave of protests has broken out in the West Bank, where millions of Palestinians
live in limbo, crammed into an archipelago of pseudo-autonomous enclaves, all ultimately under Israeli military rule.
Since hostilities began, Israel has pummeled Gaza with hundreds of air strikes, while Hamas and other factions have fired more than 4,000 rockets
into Israel. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but has maintained, along with Egypt, an effective blockade since 2007, when Hamas took over.
Israel controls the birth registry, the air space and maritime access, and much more. This war will change none of that.
TAWFEEQ HADDAD, JERUSALEM RESIDENT: Just like in South Africa, this has to end. Palestinians will not be second class citizens in their homeland or
kicked out of their place.
WEDEMAN: When relative calm returns and the world's attention moves on, the petty pace of this conflict will resume from day to day until, once
more, unto the breach. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al-Bireh on the West Bank.
GORANI: Well, still to come tonight, diplomats around the world are pushing for peace as the battle between Israel and Hamas hits a crucial
point. A Jordanian Senate member weighs in on the efforts ahead. Stay with us.
GORANI: Right now, the push for an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire is pretty global. The U.N. has taken up a debate on the issue, and diplomats have
even descended physically on the region. As we speak, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with members of his security cabinet
to discuss the situation. These are images from today. And also today, Jordan's royal court released a statement saying that U.S. Vice President
Kamala Harris called King Abdullah to discuss the tensions. With me now is someone who has been through this process many times before, Nasser Judeh.
He's a former Jordanian foreign minister and deputy prime minister, currently a Jordanian Senate member. Thanks Nasser Judeh for being with us.
What are you hearing about a possible ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel? The Israeli press is reporting that the Israelis have notified the
Egyptians that something has been agreed. Are you hearing anything?
NASSER JUDEH, FORMER JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER & DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I'm hearing what you're hearing, Hala, and we're all waiting for a
cessation of hostilities or a ceasefire, but I am praying like millions around the world, and particularly in this region, that this is not just
going to be another ceasefire with Israel like getting away with what it has done, and Ben Wedeman, a veteran reporter and journalist who has
covered this region for decades said it all in words and in images, I am hoping that the root causes will be addressed rather than Israel getting
away and calling it a wrap and saying our work is done here, and we move on and hope to get away with it again.
It cannot --
GORANI: OK --
JUDEH: Happen. The root causes have to be addressed.
GORANI: And it -- but it doesn't -- it doesn't sound like those are being addressed. It sounds like potentially this will simply lead to a cessation
of hostilities and not tackle some of those very important issues that lead time and again to a cycle of violence that renews itself over and over
every few years.
JUDEH: That is exactly my point, Hala. We've seen Gaza in 2008, 2009, Gaza 2012, Gaza 2014. And in-between skirmishes and raids and what not, and so I
am hoping that this is not one of those to-be-continued. This is a horror movie that we've all watched before.
Four times during my tenure as foreign minister. So I hope this is not -- this is not one of the to-be-continued horror movie with an obvious sequel
to come in the future. The root causes have to be addressed. And what I mean -- what I mean by the root causes is the end of occupation, the end of
subjugation, the end of what is essentially apartheid. This is not acceptable in today's world.
GORANI: Take us behind the scenes. You've been part of this process before. I mean if Hamas and Israel are notifying the Egyptians that they've
come to some sort of agreement, how do they communicate, how does this work exactly? Because there is no direct talk between the two.
JUDEH: Well, Egyptian envoys have been on the -- on the go. And there have been challenges. But Hala, let me take you back, if I may, regardless of
how the communication channels operate and regardless of the outcome of these talks and hopefully, there will be an end of the air raids and the
bombardment and the violence and the death and the destruction that we saw in Ben Wedeman's report. I mean, I don't need to go over the details again.
They're horrific. The Secretary General of the United Nations today said he was horrified that ten members of the same family were killed in one air
Schools have been bombed, hospitals have been bombed, clinics have been bombed. So, this has to stop. You have to address the root causes of this.
And the root cause of this entire problem is occupation and they need to go back to a negotiating table where an independent Palestinian state is
established and peace and security for all the people of the region. Again --
GORANI: Of course, this is -- but this --
JUDEH: This is --
GORANI: I understand your point here, but this all started before Hamas started firing rockets. It started with the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It started with a heavy-handed according to many reaction to protest against forced evictions in east Jerusalem.
Then Hamas of course opportunistically took advantage of the whole situation and started firing rockets. Hamas is doing a tremendous
disservice to its own people, isn't it? Because the world wasn't at all focused on Gaza until Hamas started firing rockets. People were actually
paying attention to some of these issues that you're bringing up.
JUDEH: Well, Hala, we can -- every time there is an escalation or a flare- up in this part of the world, we get into the symptoms rather than the causes. And we get into the polarization of the narrative. And we're going
to end this escalation, hopefully, and end the death and destruction, and then we're going to go back to the drawing board.
We shouldn't go back to the drawing board. We have to go back to serious negotiations. You said it right, what started this was not rockets being
fired at Israel. What started this is actually, even before the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, what started this was harassment of Christian worshippers
during holy week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. The storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque --
GORANI: I guess, Nasser, if I can just jump in, I am sorry -- I'm sorry to interrupt. If I can just jump in, Hamas is hijacking what was a substantive
discussion about Palestinian rights. So, there is a lot of blame to go around here. Do you accept that?
JUDEH: No. I accept that there -- I accept that there's a root cause of the problem that has to be addressed, Hala. I mean, again, I am not going
to get into who started what because at the end of the day you are talking about an ongoing occupation for more than 60 years, I mean, this is -- and
the problem that's been there for almost a 100 years.
So, you know, we have to -- we have to accept the fact that there has to be an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinians need their dignity so
that we look at the whole picture rather than just symptoms. You go to a medical doctor to seek attention, and if he says, well, look, you know,
I'll give you something to reduce and subside the flare-up this time, but come back every time there is another flare-up, that doesn't work. Address
the root cause of the problem. That's what I'm talking about. Who hijacked --
GORANI: OK --
JUDEH: What is the polarization of the narrative.
GORANI: Yes, Nasser Judeh, thanks very much, a former foreign minister and a Senate member speaking to us live from -- you're in Oman, correct?
Just want to make sure you're --
JUDEH: Yes --
GORANI: You are, OK. Have a good evening, thanks for joining us. The U.S. --
JUDEH: Thank you very much --
GORANI: Senate is taking action to try to help Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region. It unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday, calling for Eritrean
troops to leave Ethiopia. It comes days after America's top diplomats slammed both Eritrea and Ethiopia for coordinating their troops together to
close off a key aid route to Tigray.
The plight of the East African regions starving and wounded civilians has been spotlighted by exclusive CNN investigation. CNN's Nima Elbagir joins
me now live from London. I guess the obvious question is what would a Senate resolution in Washington D.C., what impact would it have in the
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sends a very clear message to the Ethiopians and Eritreans that this is now gone up
a couple of notches. Because what this resolution does, Hala, is that it opens the door to sanctions.
In fact, in a text, in addition to calling for an immediate withdrawal by Eritrean troops, they call upon the Secretary of the Treasury, the
Secretary of State and the Biden administration to push for investigations and also to push to hold those found guilty accountable. So, it's in the
language that this really opens up that whole legal world for the Biden administration to now fall back on.
And frankly, for a lot of the advocates, a lot of the activists, a lot of the humanitarian actors who have been dealing with this obstruction of aid
and the conflict on the ground for all these months, it is about time they're telling us that actions need to start backing up. So many of these
strong words of concern that we've been hearing from the international community. And what this resolution does is, it sets a template for that,
GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Nima Elbagir there off the back of that exclusive investigation with reaction to the Senate resolution in
Washington. Still to come tonight, Russia's arctic expansion. As polar ice caps continue to shrink, Moscow's military presence continues to grow.
We'll speak with Sweden's top diplomat about what this could mean for the region. We'll be right back.
GORANI: The U.S. Secretary of State has wrapped up his trip to Iceland, where he discussed security with other foreign ministers. During the Arctic
Council Forum, Antony Blinken also held his first high-level talks with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.
The two discussed growing friction between their countries with Blinken pressing Lavrov on Russia's aggressive behavior toward American allies.
They also urged cooperation in areas of mutual interest. In the end, both sides described the meeting as constructive, which is a favorite diplo
speak word that we see a lot during forums and summit.
Now during this forum, Blinken also said Washington remains committed to peace in the Arctic. And this comes as Russia is boosting its military
presence in the region. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has our story.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The course due north flying for hours to Russia's northernmost military installation.
Moscow granted us a rare visit to its base on Franz Josef Land, a barren archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that which Russia believes is key to
dominating the Arctic. This entire Air Base is covered in ice and yet, the Russians have managed to extend the runway to a point that they can land
even their heaviest aircraft here, including strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The effort Moscow is making to upgrade its Arctic bases is massive. Inside the modern housing complex called a Trefoil, the air commander confirms to
me that even Russia's dangerous Tu-95 strategic bombers, a plane similar in size to the U.S.'s B-52's can now operate out of the airfield here. "Of
course, they can," he says, "have a look. We can land all types of aircraft on this base."
A chilling prospect for the U.S. and its allies, considering Franz Josef Land is only about 160 miles east of NATO territory. That's well within
range of these powerful coastal defense rockets the Russians also showed us. They're capable of hitting ships more than 200 miles off the coast, a
threat that worries the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have concerns about some of the increased military activities in the Arctic. That increases the dangers or
prospects of accidents, miscalculations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: The main reason why this standoff between the U.S. and Russia has not been the Arctic, it's climate change. As polar ice melts, the region is
becoming more accessible and Russia is moving fast to stake its claims. Much of that effort is led from here, the headquarters of the Northern
Fleet in the closed military town, Severomorsk, which we also got access to.
Russia has been upgrading its fleet up here for years. Its flagship is the Peter the Great nuclear battle cruiser outfitted with an array of weapons
to hit targets on sea and land and fight off planes and submarines. Russia has a clear strategy up here in the Arctic, and essentially revolves around
three different things. On the one hand, a very strong military, then dominating the Northern Sea route, and also tapping and exploiting natural
resources. And Russia is warning the U.S. and its allies not to mess with that plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory,
this is our land, and we are responsible for our Arctic Coasts to be safe. Everything that our country does there is absolutely legitimate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Rhetoric that increasingly has the U.S. and Russia on a collision course in the High North with Moscow so far in a stronger position. Fred
Pleitgen, CNN, Severomorsk, Russia.
GORANI: All right. Well, joining me now is Sweden's Foreign Minister, Ann Linde, who was also part of that Arctic Council Forum. She spoke with
Blinken and her other foreign ministers participating in the event. She joins me now live from Stockholm.
Thank you, Foreign Minister, for being with us. First of all, Sergey Lavrov, when he says, "It's our land, our territory, our waters," regarding
Russian expansionary military projects in that part of the world, what is your reaction to that?
ANN LINDE, SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, thank you, Hala, for having me. Well, the truth is that there is building up of military in the Arctic. And
it's also true that the whole Arctic area, 50 percent of the land is Russian and we can see that the security policy duration in the Arctic has
changed even though mainly due to external factors.
LINDE: And I think therefore, it -- it's very, very important that we have an organization like the Arctic Council with the eight Arctic countries
that could focus on concrete confidence building measures in the region. And also to find ways to reduce the risk of any potential incidents that is
spiraling out of concern.
GORANI: Are you concerned? Are you concerned that this --
LINDE: Of course. Of course.
GORANI: -- could happen? Yes.
LINDE: Of course, because there is a great interest now from all the big powers, and from a country like Sweden, we would like to have the Arctic
area as a low-tension area. And we want --
LINDE: -- to concentrate on the possibility for the people to live there, to have a sound environment, and also for the confidence building. And
here, I think it's the -- what John Kerry is talking about all the time, to see how climate issues and security issues are combined, because one reason
why the Russians are now building up their military capacity is that for a long time, they have had a strong, wide, thick ice along their coast.
LINDE: And now when the ice is melting, they are not saved by this kind of ice wall into the same extent. And we should be aware of that the global
warming is three times faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world.
GORANI: Yes. Yes.
LINDE: So this is one reason that shows it's important to see which United States finally is doing, I would say, that security policy and climate is
GORANI: Absolutely connected. In this case, it's actually obvious. You could see it with a naked eye. There is news that just came in before I
came on the air that E.U. bodies have reached a deal on a COVID-19 vaccine passport. Is this something you can talk about that you're aware of?
LINDE: Well, actually, I'm not seeing the latest and there have been so many discussions. And --
LINDE: -- from our part, in the Swedish part, we hope that in June, we will have a vaccine passport. But we still think it's important that every
country should have the possibility to have also some of their own restrictions because of the pandemic. But --
GORANI: So how --
LINDE: -- we are all longing for a passport, a vaccine passport so that we can travel freely.
GORANI: I can confirm we are all longing for that vaccine passport, but I guess how would it work? I mean, you need to have some sort of
harmonization, right? Each country has to recognize another country's vaccination sort of passport or vaccination documents, how would it work
LINDE: Well, actually, I'm not so into those detail about the vaccine passport as some other of my colleagues who works with this. But we are
having the technological possibilities already in June from Sweden to start with the vaccine passports or what we call it the Green Certificate. So, I
LINDE: -- that this will be a possibility rather soon.
GORANI: All right. Well, you may have more visitors in Sweden, if you're able to beat other countries to it than some countries that are taking a
little bit more time to come up with a system. Let me ask you about Gaza, just as a reminder to our viewers, because as we're all anticipating,
potentially, a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants, just, you know, less than 24 hours ago, this is what the Israeli Prime Minister had
to say about the military operation on Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: There are only two ways that you can deal with them, you can either conquer them, and that's always an
open possibility, or you can deter them. And we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence but I have to say, we don't rule out anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, what is your assessment of Israel's military operation on Gaza? Do you think that it was an overreaction? Do you think there was any
overreach? Or do you think that they did the right thing in terms of their response to Hamas rockets?
LINDE: Well, I think that you have to divide it into different pieces because I'm deeply concerned about the violence in Israel and Palestine,
and not the least all the civilian casualties. Not the least so many children that has died, more than sixty in Gaza and then at least three in
And, of course, Israel has the right of self-defense when Hamas started to send their rockets. At the same time, Israel has to follow the
international law when it comes to proportionality in their response. And I think what's important now is both to have an immediate ceasefire, I hope
that will come even if that was not very promising, what we heard just now, I hope that will come.
But then we have beyond the short-term priority of ending the violence, there is a need for renewed negotiation to state the solution. And that
must be in line with the internationally agreed parameters, which means that both the ending of terrorist attack into Israeli land and to Israeli
civilians, but also an end to settlement expansions, to demolition, to evictions, respect to the status quo of the holy sites, that must be part
of a renewed peace, a renewed peace process.
GORANI: Right. I think very few people would --
LINDE: And also I think the issues in the occupied East Jerusalem is very, very important.
GORANI: I think very few people would disagree with you that there are core issues that need to be addressed, but they are not being addressed. And
that this is a wish list, a wish list many people have, but that is never truly tackled. So, in other words, we go from one cycle of violence to the
next cycle of violence. I wonder what needs to happen for substantive change to take place, in your opinion.
LINDE: Well, one is, of course, to start the peace process. And I hope that we can find a format that could be acceptable both to Palestinians and
Israelis. We have had the Quartet, we have what you call the mention Munich format, and others right now, it's Egypt who has a leading role, also with
support of the U.S. and, in some case, Qatar.
We also need to get the terrorist organization to stop with their violence. We need to have election in Palestine so that the Palestinians can get a
leadership of their own choice, and that there could be building of trust again, after these terrible, terrible weeks of the violence spiral. But
this has been, just as you said, it has been damaging several times before when you have thought you were going somewhere.
So, unfortunately, there is so much to be done. But we need to have the international community, the main countries to be engaged and I have to be
also honest, that we are not something to hold in the hands from the E.U. side. We have not been the player that I have hoped the E.U. to be.
GORANI: Yes. And we've heard that criticism from some other countries in the E.U., disappointed that the E.U. hasn't done more. Thanks very much.
Ann Linde is the Swedish Foreign Minister. Thank you for joining us this evening from Stockholm.
LINDE: Thank you.
GORANI: China says the U.S. has violated its sovereignty after a Navy warship sailed near disputed Beijing-controlled islands in the South China
Sea on Thursday. U.S. officials say the guided missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur, was only asserting "navigational rights and freedoms"
consistent with international law. And the move came just hours after the U.S. president vowed to protect open access to the South China Sea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We and our partners have kept the sea lanes open and secure with clear rules of the road. Behavior is
inbounds important, out of bounds for other nations to ensure we can share peacefully in the natural bounty of the sea. But as you know, increasingly,
we're seeing those rules challenged both by the rapid advance of technology and the disruptive actions of nations like China and Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Joe Biden there. Still to come tonight, was Princess Diana duped? A new report sheds light on an old interview, why the BBC is
having to apologize for an investigation into an interview once celebrated. We'll be right back.
GORANI: The BBC is apologizing for one of the most iconic television interviews of the 1990s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: Well, there were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: You'll remember that 1995 Panorama Interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, about the disintegration of her marriage to Prince Charles? Well,
a new report reveals all these years later that the BBC covered up how the reporter Martin Bashir landed it. The fallout is just beginning. And for
that, we turn to CNN's royal correspondent, Max Foster. So talk to us a little bit about what the -- what is the BBC apologizing for? How did the
reporter land this interview?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: So he forged -- he asked graphic designer to forge some bank statements, which Martin Bashir then took to
Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, to get an introduction to Diana. She -- these statements suggested that the secret services were paying off people
around her to spy on her and then she obviously eventually agreed to the interview.
What this report says, from this retired judge, saying that those tactics were deceitful. He calls Martin Bashir deceitful and the BBC investigation
that followed it was woefully inadequate and not just that, they then covered up its findings so a dark day for the BBC in the words of the
current Director General speaking today.
And this has huge ramifications for the BBC, but also cause for Diana's legacy and Charles Spencer today speaking to the BBC, or in an interview
broadcast today, in the last hour, in fact, talking about how there was a direct connection between that interview and Diana's death two years
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SPENCER, EARL SPENCER, BROTHER OF DIANA: Well, the irony is that I met Martin Bashir on the 31st of August 1995. Because exactly two years
later, she died. And I do draw a line between the two events. It's quite clear from the introduction that I sat in on, on the 19th of September
1995, everyone was going to be made untrustworthy. And I think that Diana did lose trust in really key people.
This is a young girl in her mid 30s who has lived this extraordinarily turbulent and difficult time in the public eye. She didn't know who to
And in the end, when she died two years later, she was without any form of real protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And this -- the reporter, Martin Bashir, is he reacting to any of this?
FOSTER: He has reacted. He doesn't currently work for the BBC. He left last week for -- on health grounds, we're told. He put out this statement today.
"It's saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the Princess's brave decision to tell her story and help address the silence
and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of those issues and that's why I will
always remain immensely proud of that interview."
So he's sticking by it. He still stands by his tactics, but he's been widely condemned certainly in the media world here at the moment. Hala.
GORANI: Yes. Absolutely. But he's standing by his work. Thanks very much. Max Foster is in Berkshire. Still to come, Australia's mice plague looks
like something straight out of a horror movie. And it's just as bad as it looks and sounds. We'll bring you that next.
GORANI: The last thing you want to hear after the word mice is invasion. But that's what's happening right now across Southeastern Australia. The
mice are everywhere. They're in crops and fields, which would be, you know, tolerable, but they're even inside homes. Angus Watson tells us what is
behind the rodent plague.
ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: In the Australian state of New South Wales, homes, whole farms, overrun by mice.
SUE HODGE, PROFESSIONAL CLEANER: If you've got a couple of spots of poo in your bed, then you know that you've got mice urine throughout your bed.
WATSON: There are mice in people's beds?
WATSON: Sue Hodge is popular in the small town of Canowindra four hours west of Sydney. A professional cleaner trying her best to rid the mice from
people's homes. In the farms just outside of town, a household pest becomes a threat to livelihoods.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 40 years plus I've been farming here and, yes, probably the worst I've seen yet.
WATSON: Three years of crippling drought here forced farmers to the brink. Relief came in 2020. Drought breaking rains brought a bumper crop for grain
growers like Michael Payten.
MICHAEL PAYTEN, FARMER: We had a really good year last year. A lot of grain. We all put a lot of high-end sheds and we created these massive mice
hotels, you know.
WATSON: Full fields and groaning hay sheds, a buffet for mice now plaguing so many farms just like this one. Thousands of dollars worth of sheep feed
here that may now be unusable. Everywhere I walk, there are mice underfoot here. And there are mice all under this top hole and I can hear them. A
pair of mice can birth 500 offspring in a breeding season, and new litter every three weeks according to Australia's national science agency.
After months of rodent infestation, the heavy weaponry is being wheeled out. The state government seeking regulatory approval for even stronger
poisons, but that comes with the risk of killing native animals and even tainting the food that the farmers are trying to grow. The end to this mice
plague won't be pretty. Winter is beginning to bite. When food becomes scarce, the mice begin to eat each other. That's if the snakes don't get to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plenty of mice to eat.
WATSON: All fuel for a boom in the snake population come summer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ooh, damn.
WATSON: Angus Watson, CNN, in Canowindra Australia.
GORANI: All right. That is kind of a horror story there. You can add Prince William's name to the list of the newly vaccinated. The Duke of Cambridge
shared the development on Twitter saying on Tuesday, "I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine."
And he thanked the people working to get more shots into arms. According to reports, Prince William contracted the Coronavirus back in 2020 but at the
time did not share it with the public. The banner's hiding his arm, but there it is. That's a picture that was circulating. There you have it.
Finally, this is the one about Ross, Rachel and the entire Friends gang getting back together for the first time in 17 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rachel wrote Ross a letter and demanded he read it before they got back together. How many pages was that letter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 18 pages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 18 pages?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Front and back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Front and back is correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, it's part of a reunion. Special shout out for HBO Max, owned by our parent company, WarnerMedia. The cast will revisit recreated sets of
the NBC sitcom, which launched their careers. HBO max reportedly paid more than $400 million for streaming rights for five years. Friends: The Reunion
debuts next Thursday. Will you watch it? Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming your way.