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CONNECT THE WORLD

Fears of Civil War in Libya; The Refugee Crisis on the Libya- Tunisian Border; Crackdown on Journalists in Turkey

Aired March 3, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Colonel Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: U.S. President Obama warns of a bloody stalemate as the battle for Libya shows no signs of letting up.

Almost 200,000 people have fled the violence. Now the West is stepping in to help some return home. Yet not all rescue missions have gone to plan. These Dutch marines captured by Gadhafi's forces.

Despite being investigated for crimes against humanity, Libya's leader refuses to bow to international pressure.

These stories and more tonight, as we connect the world.

I'm Becky Anderson on the Tunisian-Libyan border.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, GUEST HOST: And I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London.

Also coming up, six journalists are arrested in Turkey over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

And the pop queen, Lady Gaga, takes to the catwalk in Paris and speaks exclusively to CNN.

ANDERSON: Thank you for that, Finn.

Back here on the Tunisian border and fears of a civil war are growing, as a second day of saults -- assaults happened today by Gadhafi's forces on opposition-held areas.

Here is the very latest for you from the region.

Military jets once again bombed the strategic oil port of El Brega, as well as the town of Ajdabiya. The rebels held their ground, but, clearly, this battle is far from over. Ajdabiya, El Brega and Zawiya are among the towns that both sides are fighting to control. Rebels are said to have a firm grip on Benghazi, Misurata and Tubruq, while forces loyal to Gadhafi control the capital, Tripoli, Sabrata and his hometown of Sirt.

The Dutch Defense Ministry says three of its military personnel have been captured in Sirt by Gadhafi's forces. It says they were trying to go to evacuate a Dutch civilian. But Libyan state TV, which broadcast these pictures, says it was no rescue mission, suggesting the crew came on an attack helicopter.

US President Barack Obama, meantime, warns the situation in Libya could develop into a long, bloody stalemate. He also had a direct warning for those carrying out Gadhafi's orders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Those around him have to understand that violence that they perpetrate against innocent civilians will be monitored and they will be held accountable for it. And so, to the extent that they are making calculations in their own minds about which way history is moving, they should know, history is moving against Colonel Gadhafi and that, you know, the -- their support for him and their willingness to carry out orders that are direct violence against citizens is something that, ultimately, they will be held accountable for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, well, Libya's opposition forces want more than just talk. They are now wanting and calling for military airstrikes at this point. So far, though, no takers from the international community.

Let's get more now on the opposition's efforts.

Ben Wedeman joining us from Benghazi -- ben, what do you know, at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that there were these airstrikes on Ajdabiya, as well as Brega. But by and large, the situation was fairly calm in this area.

We were at the Brega checkpoint, the main sort of -- the last frontier, in a sense, before you exit the opposition-controlled territory.

There, we saw a lot more armed opposition members, a lot more in the way of heavy weaponry, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft, as well as shoulder launched surface to air missiles. They don't seem to be beefing up their forces and, Becky, speaking to them, they're talking about starting to move ahead, to try to move in the direction of Ras Lanuf, which is the site of another important refinery. And eventually, they want to get to the town of Sirt, which, of course, is highly important because of its symbolic value. That is where -- that is the hometown of Moammar Gadhafi -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, there are those -- thanks, Ben -- who say that Moammar Gadhafi, to a certain extent, may feel that he's losing some control. But other analysts say that he may have been expecting this uprising in the east for some time. And they say he could have been planning this and expected it to happen.

Let's hear more from Brian Todd.

(VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: OK, I've got nothing again.

I've got nothing again.

OK, I've got you.

All right. Well, I'm joined now -- we're having some technical issues here, but I am joined now on the Tunisian-Libyan border with the UNHCR spokesman, Firas Kayal.

We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Libya has been somewhat of a magnet for semi-skilled and unskilled workers, no more so than Egyptians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and many from Western and Sub-Saharan Africa.

About 10 percent of those -- 100,000 -- have made it across this border. But a million are still there.

What are we hearing about them?

FIRAS KAYAL, UNHCR SPOKESMAN, UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE AGENCY: About, you mean the people who are...

ANDERSON: The people who are still there.

KAYAL: Well, we are not actually present at the other sites, so we don't have a lot of information from inside Libya. But what I can tell you about the people who have left inside, we're not talking about more than 100 -- 160,000 people who have crossed so far into Tunisia and to Egypt.

Here in Tunisia, more than 100 people -- 100,000 people left in the past six days. It is because of the generosity of Tunisian government that kept the borders open that we managed to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

ANDERSON: And it'[s a grim night here tonight. The weather is awful. We're having technical problems just getting this show out.

It looks very empty where we're standing now, but just beyond us here to the right and straight down, it's just a sea of people.

How are you coping?

KAYAL: In fact, it is very true, what you mentioned, it's very true. We have, back there, a transit center that UNHCR established in two days that is now providing shelter for more than 20,000 people. These are people that would otherwise have slept on the ground here, as they have did in the last couple of days.

And, of course, the -- the speedy response, we welcome very much the speedy response of the governments through the IOM/UNHCR appeal that was made yesterday. Governments have sent planes. They've sent other -- other flights, which have transported many, many thousands of persons right now.

As I speak to you, buses are taking the persons from our transit center, taking them to Djerba Airport and they are flying back to their countries.

ANDERSON: And you must welcome the intervention of the United States tonight. President Obama, of course, announcing that he will be sending U.S. military assets to help out.

KAYAL: Yes. We do welcome that. And we call on other governments to -- also to follow suit, because this is still a situation that is ongoing. We have here more than 6,000 people right behind us still waiting to be transported. And we are still at the border, although the numbers are -- have declined today. But there is a flow of persons and we...

ANDERSON: Yes.

KAYAL: -- we wait and see how this is going to go.

ANDERSON: Well, I guess the big question is that we have really no idea what's going on on the other side of this border. There's been a trickle of people coming in today, nothing like the chaos we saw sort of in the last 48 to 72 hours. The worry will be if Gadhafi continues to attack and if those million migrants decide that they want to flee, that this could get a lot worse again.

KAYAL: Of course. And we will remain here as long as the need is there.

ANDERSON: All right.

KAYAL: I mean it is because we -- but one word of credit has to be taped for the Tunisian government, the Tunisian authorities, the local Tunisian Army, for their generosity...

ANDERSON: Yes.

KAYAL: -- in receiving those people in the past three days.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

The spokesman there for the UNHCR.

A humanitarian crisis here, which, at one point in the day, they were suggesting might become a catastrophe. It looks as if things have calmed down. It's much better organized now. But as I say, things still very, very tense.

We're going to take a very short break.

I'll be back later in the show to do more about exactly what's going on here and more about what's happening just outside of where we are here, the Tunisian border -- Finn, back to you.

SWEENEY: Thanks, indeed, Becky.

And ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, as well, a journalist crackdown in Turkey. Media reports saying journalists have been targeted in a series of police raids. We'll have the details.

Plus, a symbol of the old guard in Egypt -- Mubarak's last prime minister steps down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Exhausted, cold and hungry -- refugees waiting in no man's land, trying to flee from Libya. Ahead on the show, we talk to two key organizations working on the ground at the Tunisian-Libyan border.

Hear from the World Food Program and the International Organization for Migration.

What does the international community need to do more?

That's all ahead here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at some of the other stories we're following this hour.

A German official says the man suspected of killing two U.S. airmen on Wednesday at Frankfurt's international airport has confessed and said he acted alone. Neighbors tell us that this photo, obtained from Facebook, shows 21-year-old Kosovo Arif Uka. An official says he's a recently radicalized Muslim. We are told he spent time on Islamist Web sites.

In Turkey, media reports say journalists have again been targeted in a series of police raids. It's part of a longstanding investigation over an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Among the six journalists detained is Nedim Sener, a newspaper columnist. He's written books and articles about the 2007 assassination of an Armenian Turkish newspaper editor. And his work, he's accused the Turkish authorities of failing to stop the murder. The reporter is facing trial on charges of violating secrecy of an investigation.

Well, let's get more on this now with journalist Andrew Finkel, who is with us from Istanbul.

A long-running investigation.

So why now?

ANDREW FINKEL, JOURNALIST: Well, I -- well, I can't answer the question exactly why now, but certainly Nedim Sener thought that he was going to be arrested. He was writing two weeks ago that the police seemed to have him on a list and that he expected to be arrested soon. And, indeed, this morning, the police arrived at his door.

Now, there have been a whole series of arrests in Turkey, as part of a longstanding trial. It's called the Ergenekon trial. This is meant to be a major conspiracy organized by the military and sympathizers outside the military to provoke circumstances in Turkey which would allow the military to step in and have a coup.

Now, that plot seems to have been well and truly squashed. And what we're seeing now is fringe people, people who not directly connected to this coup -- to this coup attempt, perhaps, being roped in by the police, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Now, of course, when anybody hears talk of military coups, possibly freedom of speech, right to demonstrate, etc. They automatically think of countries such as Egypt and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa at the moment.

So let me ask you, is this in any way influenced by external events or a purely internal long-running situation?

FINKEL: No, no, no. This is very much a question of domestic politics. We have a government whom the military certainly didn't like and who have basically a feud between the government and the military. Now, those who support this Ergenekon trial, who believe in its existence, say that this is an attempt, really, to establish the rule of law and democracy in Turkey.

But there are those who believe that Ergenekon is -- the trial is, itself, a conspiracy and being used by the government to silence its critics.

And I have to say that today's events seem to support this latter camp, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Andrew Finkel in Istanbul.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Now, the U.S. and Mexican presidents are reaffirming a strong partnership and important trade ties. Barack Obama hosted Felipe Calderon at the White House on Saturday. They resolved a longstanding trucking dispute that will allow Mexican trucks to once again cross the U.S. border.

President Obama also promised to do more to stop the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico -- guns that often end up in the hands of drug cartels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are very mindful that the battle President Calderon is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle, it's also ours. We have to take responsibility, just as he's taking responsibility. And that's true with respect to guns flowing from north to south. It's true about cash flowing north to south.

And so we've stepped up our enforcement and monitoring of -- of bulk cash transfers across the border that oftentimes finance these cartels.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: The United Nations Security Council remains concerned the Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war. It's been receiving a briefing on the situation there, which is described by the U.N. ambassador to the Ivory Coast as genocide in the making.

Fresh violence in the West African nation is displacing vast numbers of people. The U.N. estimates some 200,000 people have recently fled their homes in Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan. Demonstrations have raged since disputed elections in November. Incumbent president, Lauren Gbagbo, has refused to step down after his opposition was internationally recognized as the winner.

The media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, is a step closer to acquiring BSkyB, the British satellite broadcasting giant. In order to get the go ahead from the government, Murdoch agreed to spin-off Sky News, a channel which competes with CNN in some markets.

A giant set of Olympic rings has been revealed at St. Pancras International Station in Central London. The city's mayor, Boris Johnson, and the chair of London's 2012, Sebastian Coe, were there for the unveiling. It's the first of several sets of rings which will appear on key landmarks around the city in the run-up to the Olympics.

Now, some carry small bags, others just have a blanket. This is the exodus out of Libya.

The international community has stepped up to help, but is it enough?

Up next, we're joined by Becky Anderson on the Tunisian-Libyan border for the latest situation on the ground.

And coming up in the show, we head to Egypt, a symbol of the old guard, Prime Minister Shafiq gives in to protesters' demands.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, on the Tunisian-Libyan border.

Now waiting to be evacuated, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis at Djerba's airport. Earlier on today, between 8,000 and 10,000 people crossing into Tunisia on Wednesday in total.

We're looking at 180,000 who have now fled Libya. The UNHCR has already, this week, launched a joint urgent appeal with the International Organization for Migration for a mass evacuation at the Tunisian-Libyan border.

Here, an Egyptian refugee climbed into a bus, as refugees leave a camp not far from where I am here on the border.

A child looked nervous waiting on a bus in this picture. And this border area is quite literally no man's land and many have been trapped for days between the two countries. Many people are of very different nationalities, Egyptians, Bangladeshis, Vietnamese, Thais, Koreans, Mauritanese, Ghanaians and Sudanese.

Originally, they came to Libya in search of a better life -- a chance to earn more money. Now they are fleeing from what is potentially looking like it could be a civil war.

It's very difficult here. It -- it's nighttime now. The weather is, quite simply, very, very filthy.

What these guys here -- and there tens of thousands of them between here and about like five kilometers down the road -- what they want to do is just get home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, they may have got some food, but as you can see, very few people have got any accommodation. There's been 100,000 people over this border since February the 20th. They've got some 20,000 here and as far as the eye can see.

The U.N. has set up a tented accommodation further down the road. But these guys, really, have got very little at this point. And they are still getting, they say, some 10,000 a day coming through.

It -- it's more of a trickle at this point in the day than it has been in the past couple of days. But this is a logistical crisis which the U.N. says could become an absolute catastrophe.

Here on the Tunisian border, it's got to be said, these guys are calm, aren't they?

I mean things have got a lot more organized.

But the question is this, how do we get all of these guys home?

That is what the U.N. is struggling with at the moment. And that is why they need more help. Egypt Air sending some 20 flights a day from an airport which is about two-and-a-half hours away from here.

But this is going to take an awful long time. And meanwhile, the hope is, of course, that these guys are going to stay calm.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, as I say, it is fairly calm here. And it is a lot more organized than it was about 48 hours ago. And that is, in part, thanks to efforts of aid organizations and the Tunisian Army.

Philippe Chauzy is one -- from one of those aid organizations, the International Organization for Migration.

You've been out and about here today.

What have you found?

JEAN-PHILIPPE CHAUZY, SPOKESMAN, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Well, we still have some people going in. Literally two or three hours ago, we had about 300 Pakistanis who have arrived, 160 Vietnamese. We have groups of Ghanaian, Nigerians. And the situation is better, but we are -- we're not out of the woods yet.

We still have about 6,000 Bangladeshis that are sleeping fairly rough here. It's still an emergency. We still need to move people away, give them shelter...

ANDERSON: Right.

CHAUZY: -- and evacuate them as quickly as possible.

ANDERSON: What sort of stories are you hearing?

CHAUZY: Pretty horrific stories. I spent most of the day listening to all those who have managed to leave the country. I think the -- the West Africans probably have the most heart-wrenching stories about terror at night. As soon as the night comes in Tripoli, people barge into their houses, break down doors, threaten them. I heard someone say some Libyans treat donkeys better than they treat us.

ANDERSON: There are some million migrants, generally semi-skilled and unskilled workers, that left there in Libya. As you say, only about 10 percent have made it to these borders.

Do you fear that if things get worse there, that this border, once again, will become chaos?

CHAUZY: Well, I think that everyone needs to remain incredibly focused on this emergency. This is -- we've got 200,000 people who've come out. There could be five times that amount of people. This could be pandemonium.

So, again, we -- we really implore the international community, along with our HCR counterparts to basically mobilize all possible resources -- financial, logistical, personnel -- so we can move, evacuate those migrant workers who have made it here into Tunisia and also prepare for what could be the worst case scenario, which we hope won't happen, but we need to be prepared.

ANDERSON: Yes.

All right, Philippe, we're going to leave it there.

We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

CHAUZY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And do come back as we continue to follow this story.

Well, the international community is helping people by providing assistance, of course. And we've seen some of that, with talk from Obama today, saying that they will use U.S. military assets, of course.

Let's take you through what other people are doing here.

Egypt is chartering flights directly from the airport at Djerba, which is just down the road from here, to Cairo. Some 17 flights have left this Thursday, carrying some 2,700 passengers.

Now, France expects to airlift around 5,000 Egyptians. Six flights expected to leave Djerba daily over the next few days.

The U.K. helping to evacuate some 8,800 stranded Egyptians. Three British chartered planes are now involved in what is the British mission.

And a Canadian warship is on its way to the Libyan coast, we're told. Its role hasn't yet been fully determined, but the navy expects to be involved in the humanitarian assistance and evacuations as required.

Now, Spain also sending a plane with 30,000 tons -- sorry -- 30 tons of humanitarian aid to the Libyan-Tunisian border and another plane is available. And as I said, in the last few hours, U.S. President Barack Obama has approved the use of military assets in order to help with this evacuation.

So, for the lucky ones -- the lucky 10 percent, effectively, who have made it here, it looks as if things may get a lit -- a little bit better for them.

But while they are here, of course, they've got to eat and they've got to be made to feel more comfortable, human, at least.

Let's join the spokesperson now for the WFP.

Just tell us, you know, what sort of challenges you're facing here.

ABEER ETEFA, SPOKESMAN, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: The main challenges that we're facing at the moment is at the other side of the border. Here, people's needs are being met. The Tunisian community has come in a beautiful way to support these people. WFP has been providing, also, these communities with some assistance to help them continue to provide this aid -- the important aid, food assistance to the people that are here. And we're worried about the people who are on the other side of the border.

We are calling for humanitarian safe way, passage for, to be able (INAUDIBLE) food assistance inside to the people in -- in areas in Tripoli and around there that do not have access to food.

We've heard stories of some people that have arrived. They said there are shortages of bread and food items in many different places of Libya.

ANDERSON: All right. I'm just using my microphone, because I know that as we have these technical problems, yours, I think, is -- in a little bit weak tonight.

So what you're saying is that the Tunisian people, of course, have been absolutely fantastic. And the army, I mean, really, has been a godsend to those who have been trying to sort of sort out the logistics here.

What do you fear most if things kick off in Libya and we get an enormous flood -- a bigger flood, the sort of chaos we saw in the past 48 to 72 hours?

ETEFA: I think these communities have been -- the Tunisian ones have been (INAUDIBLE) so far, they've provided all that they could. And I don't think that the (INAUDIBLE) response to this will continue in the way that they did in the last few days.

This is why we're coming here and we are ready. We've already pre- positioned food items here in the area, in Djerba, so that -- and around -- along the border area, so that we're able to respond to these needs if they arrive -- if they arise.

We also have a regional mode emergency response plan to respond to the needs in a flexible way, Libya -- inside Libya, Tunisia, as well as on the Egyptian side of the border.

ANDERSON: All right, with that, we're going to leave it there.

We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

The elements really playing up with us tonight.

But as you can imagine, there are a lot of people that are out here living under absolutely nothing. So we'll get on with this and bring you up to date on exactly what is going on at the ICC today, who say that they are going to hold the Libyan leader accountable for anything that goes on on that side of the border, if, indeed, he is attacking his own people.

And we're going to get you to Egypt after this short break. Find out what is going on there.

I'm Becky Anderson with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here on the Tunisian border.

Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London and coming up, investigating Gadhafi for alleged crimes against humanity in Libya. Hear what the International Criminal Court has to say.

Plus, Mubarak's last prime minister steps down in Egypt, but will protesters demand more?

And be sure to stay tuned for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY GAGA, SINGER: It's all about being free and being proud to be a woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: The outrageous Lady Gaga finds a new stage for her talent, fashion, and flamboyance on the Paris catwalks.

Well, all those stories ahead in the show for you but, first, let's get a check of the headlines this hour.

For the second straight day, the regime of Moammar Gadhafi has attacked rebel-held territory in eastern Libya. Military jets bombed the strategic oil port of Al Brega, as well as the town of Ajdabiyah.

A German official says the suspect in Wednesday's shooting at the Frankfurt International Airport has confessed and said he acted alone. Neighbors tell us that this photo from Facebook shows Arid Uka. The shooting left two US airmen dead and two others wounded.

In Ivory Coast, angry protesters have been rallying against self- declared president Laurent Gbagbo. News agencies report his security forces killed at least six women in Abidjan. They were demonstrating in support of his rival, internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara.

In Turkey, six journalists are reportedly among at least 11 people arrested in police raids. It's part of an allegation over an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Investigative reporter Nedim Sener, seen here, was one of those detained.

And the biggest gain this year. The Dow closed up 191 points from positive job numbers and lower oil prices. Both the NASDAQ and S&P both rose over one and a half percent.

Well, let's get back to Becky, now, for more on the situation in Libya. She's there on the Tunisian side of the border. Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: That's right. And news not necessarily from here, today, but it will be news that Moammar Gadhafi will be interested in, whether he wants to be or not. The International Criminal Court has announced that it is launching an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Libya. Atika Shubert reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and several of his sons could be hauled before the International Criminal Court if the court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, has his way.

LUIS MORENO OCAMPO, PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: We'd like to use this opportunity to put them on notice. If forces under their command and control commit crimes, they could be criminally responsible.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Ocampo provided this map showing the locations where several alleged crimes may have been committed. But in a CNN interview, Ocampo cautioned he needed more time to review the evidence.

OCAMPO: We couldn't confirm these allegations that the civilians were bombed by planes -- from planes. But we have cases, we have some confirmation that civilians demonstrating were shot by security forces. We're trying to conduct an investigation for now. We interview people, and we present even to the judges. The judge will decided who should be prosecuted.

SHUBERT (voice-over): On Wednesday, Libyan aircraft dropped bombs just meters away from a CNN crew in Brega.

(CROWDS SHOUTING)

(SHOTS FIRED)

SHUBERT (voice-over): While images of gunshot victims have been streaming out of Libya since the uprising started. But Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, acting as a spokesperson for the regime, has denied reports of bombings and has threatened violence on anti-Gadhafi quote-unquote "terrorists."

SAIM AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON (through translator): Blood will flow, rivers of blood in all the cities of Libya.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Statements Ocampo says may land him in criminal court.

OCAMPO: You have Mr. Gadhafi himself and at least three of his sons who, apparently, have de facto authority. And apparently -- allegedly, allegations against them that they were organizing the operations. So, in those cases, we'd like to tell them very clearly, if people under their command commit crimes, they could be made responsible.

SHUBERT (on camera): Ocampo says he plans to submit the results of his investigation within weeks and hopes for a judge's decision within months, possibly even an international arrest warrant. That would be a first for the International Criminal Court, investigating alleged crimes against humanity as they happen. Atika Shubert, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. So, while efforts to end the crisis in Libya, an offer of mediation has come from one of Colonel Gadhafi's closest friends. Have a listen to this. Venezuela's information minister confirms that President Hugo Chavez is proposing to send negotiators to talk with both sides.

Reuters says the government has accepted that offer, but the opposition is reportedly rejecting it out of hand.

Well, there are some who say that Moammar Gadhafi may -- just may -- believe that he's losing control of one part of the country. Others say, though, this is something that he may have known might happen, the uprising in the east, for some time. It's something that he's been planning for accordingly. Brian Todd reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As far as he's concerned, he's not going anywhere.

MOAMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): Libyans' unity will be fought until death. Those who are meddling, causing anarchy, should be stopped in their tracks.

TODD (voice-over): If you ask Moammar Gadhafi, reports of rebel advances and opposition strongholds are overblown. He's been called delusional by his internal enemies and by US officials. Analysts say Gadhafi has been weekend by this uprising, but don't count him out yet.

SHASHANK JOSHI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: I think we seriously underestimated the loyalty of those core security elements around him, and we were, perhaps, misled by the early defections, not fully taking into account that those defections were anticipated by Gadhafi and consisted of some of the weakest of his forces.

TODD (voice-over): Shashank Joshi says Gadhafi knew beforehand that military units in eastern Libya were not as loyal to him as others, that he planned for the day those units might defect to opposing forces, as many of them have now.

He says Gadhafi purposely deprived those units in the east of the best training and equipment. He gave that to other forces, like the vaunted 32nd Brigade, commanded by his son, Khamis.

JOSHI: Now, that brigade for years has been receiving the most sophisticated equipment out of any in the army, communications equipment, weaponry, it retains the finest tanks. And it retains the best skilled and best trained personnel.

TODD (voice-over): It's also backed, analysts say, by mercenaries. Joshi and other analysts say, despite rebel gains, they've not yet shown they have a unified command structure or an ability to mount a serious march on Gadhafi's stronghold, the capital, Tripoli. If they do, Gadhafi can make a bold last stand.

TODD (on camera): If Gadhafi does get cornered in Tripoli, analysts say he still have some measure of command and control because of a fortified bunker known as Bab al-Azizia, which has strategic and symbolic importance for him.

TODD (voice-over): I asked Noureddine Jebnoun of Georgetown University about that fortification.

TODD (on camera): What can you tell us about the bunker that Bab al- Azizia has?

NOUREDDINE JEBNOUN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: It's the former military base of the Libyan armed forces used by Gadhafi and where he was bombed by the US Air Force in 1986, where the turnout system or the communication system, the more sophisticated one, it's almost five miles square.

TODD (voice-over): Jebnoun says Gadhafi could hold out maybe two months in that bunker. He and other analysts say, despite Gadhafi's strengths, there's still a good chance he won't survive this uprising in the long run. That it's likely he won't emerge strong enough to have a hold over the entire country like he had before. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, coming up next on this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, on the Tunisian border, more changes afoot in Egypt as the government there is shaken up. We're going to get to that story for you. Meanwhile, former President Mubarak is being called back to the country's capital. Stay with us for the full story.

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ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I want to get you to Egypt, now, where there have been some significant developments in the government there. This is, of course, a transitional government at this point. I want to get us to Nima Elbagir, who is in Cairo. Nima, just explain what's been going on today.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, sources that we spoke to on the Supreme Military Council said that they had hoped that the former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, would find acceptability with the Egyptian street, even though he was, of course, put in place by former president Hosni Mubarak.

That hasn't happened. We're looking at calls for widespread congregations at Tahrir Square tomorrow. And in what appears to be a preemptive move, the Supreme Military Council have replaced Ahmed Shafiq with Essam Sharaf, a former transport minister, and someone who here in Cairo, Becky, is viewed with a lot of respect, someone who has been very critical of former president Hosni Mubarak and the ruling clique in the past, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right. And meantime, what do we know about Hosni Mubarak at this stage?

ELBAGIR: I spoke earlier with Mustafa Bakri, a former member of the Egyptian parliament, who has brought corruption charges against former president Hosni Mubarak and his family, and he told us that he has been informed by the prosecutor general's office that Hosni Mubarak will be brought to Cairo for questioning next week in relation to the corruption charges. And it is also within the context of those charges, Becky, that he has had a travel ban put in place against him and his assets have been seized.

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir for you, live in Cairo. Let's stay there and get to someone who you will recognize if you've been watching this show over the past few weeks. Gigi Ibrahim was a protester that we spoke to on a regular basis while the protests in Tahrir Square were going on.

Gigi, I'm having quite a lot of problems hearing, tonight, but I hope that you can hear me. Given what Nima has just been talking about, let's start with Hosni Mubarak first and foremost. Your reaction to the news you are hearing that he will be brought back to Cairo to stand trial.

GIGI IBRAHIM, BLOGGER AND ACTIVIST: That's definitely great news. The people have chanted in the square time and time again that they want justice to be brought, and we hold him accountable for a lot of wrong that was done in all of the 30 years. So, for him to do that and to be there, then definitely, that's a good sign of accountability.

ANDERSON: All right. Meanwhile, Gigi, the prime minister resigning. This, of course, is a transitional government at this point. When we last spoke, it was a scene of euphoria in Tahrir Square. You'd been there pretty much the whole way through those protests. What is your sense now, some weeks on?

IBRAHIM: Actually, things have gone up and down. The army's reaction is not really what people have been expecting on some parts. I was there on the night of the 25th, February 25th, where we got actually harassed for wanting to sleep over in front of the prime minister's office regarding the step down of Shafiq.

And we definitely got confronted by force with the military, including one person who got arrested who's still detained and will be put on military court for trial for five year, facing five years sentence. His name is Amr Al Beheiry.

So, there has been some confrontations with the military in regards to protests and strikes that have been going on since then. And also, the emergency law is still in place. We're happy to see today that Shafiq, the prime minister Shafiq step down, and this new prime minister in place is definitely good news. He is respect -- well-respected among the opposition.

However, we still want to see actual changes within policies and not just faces. So, we will wait and see how this new government will form, and if it will truly reflect the demands and push for the demands for the - - of the revolution.

ANDERSON: Yes, and that, of course, is what's important, here. This has been a people's revolution, inspiring, of course, people in Libya, as Tunisians inspired the likes of yourself. Are you optimistic that you'll get what you want going forward?

IBRAHIM: I'm definitely optimistic. It seems that the more we increase the pressure and we push for our demands by returning to Tahrir or continuing the labor strikes that are definitely getting more momentum and being more organized, we're definitely seeing some results and things out of those mechanisms of pressure.

And after all, this is a long-term process, and it's -- we're only in the beginning. So, we've just got to keep continuing on -- calling for democracy and justice and the whole social, economic, and political demands to be met.

ANDERSON: All right. Gigi, with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Up next, out of Cairo for you is the spokesman (sic) for the finance ministry. Sir, we thank you for joining us. You've listened, I assume, to what Gigi Ibrahim has just had to say. Those expectations, will they be fulfilled?

SAMIR RADWAN, FINANCE MINISTER, EGYPT (via telephone): Well, you know, the process, as I have told you a few -- some days ago, the process is going on. I think Egypt has been setting an example for an excellent transition to democracy. Compare it to any neighboring country and you would see that the process is proceeding extremely well in an organized manner, in a very civilized manner. And that's what counts.

ANDERSON: What of these -- this thought that Hosni Mubarak will be brought back to Cairo to face charges? What can you tell us about that?

RADWAN: Well, I just heard it on the news, now. But you see, the whole situation is subject to the application of the rule of law, and anybody is not -- everybody is within the rules of law.

ANDERSON: And apologies sir, I completely downgraded you and called you the spokesman for the finance ministry. I'm struggling, here, a little bit tonight. Of course, as our viewers will know, that you are, of course, the finance minister.

Concerns, of course, by many that the process of transition will be slower than they want. What is the significance of the prime minister's resignation today?

RADWAN: Well, first of all, it's not slow. The process is not slow by any measure. By any measure, even if you sit it against the process of change, which I witnessed in eastern and central Europe, or which we would -- we have observed anywhere else, the process is not slow by any measure.

And now, the people said that they don't want somebody who had been sworn in by President Mubarak, and the man has bowed down to the desires of these people. So, the process is going on. It's going on very well. It's going on peacefully, and that's what's important.

ANDERSON: And any sense, for those who are watching who might have been concerned in the past about the makeup, the profile of the government going forward. Any sense of how, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood is involved in it or might be involved in the makeup of the administration going forward. Is there a real leader at this point?

RADWAN: Well, you see, I think there is a consensus here in Egypt that Egypt is a secular country and it should remain so. And I, for one, would like to see it to continue as a secular country. And that's it.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. The finance minister in Egypt, there, reacting to some significant news coming out of Cairo today.

Well, tomorrow, we'll still be here on the Tunisian border, as will tens of thousands of migrant workers who haven't been able to get from Tunisia back home, wherever they are trying to go. So, we'll be here with them for another special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

And we'll be joined by Desmond Tutu, who will be representing the group of elders out of Africa, getting his reaction to what is going on in Libya. For now, though, having had these technical difficulties, I hope you have, though, enjoyed what we've been able to bring you out of Tunisia today. It's an important story. For now, though, back to you, Fionn, in the studio.

SWEENEY: All right, Becky. Take care.

Now, for a shift of gear, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, she is the queen of the music world and, now, Lady Gag takes to the catwalk. We'll bring you an exclusive interview from Paris. Stay with us.

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SWEENEY: Paris Fashion Week took off with a bang. Pop icon and fashion queen, Lady Gaga, strutted her stuff on the runway at Paris Fashion Week. The star is the fashion muse for designer Nicola Formichetti. CNN's Monita Rajpal caught up with Gaga and her designer for an exclusive interview.

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LADY GAGA: I don't want to take any credit for Nicola's work. He's really, really an amazing designer. He's an amazing creator. I think something that the music industry and the fashion industry share is now that the internet is alive, criticism has sort of created this sort of competition and race, when Nicola and I see everything as really subjective and really free and really free-minded.

So, today was great because we just sort of said, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) music, (EXPLETIVE DELTED) fashion, it's all about being free and being proud to be a woman.

MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It was theatrical. That's your expertise.

LADY GAGA: Oh, thank you.

RAJPAL: Theater.

LADY GAGA: Thank you.

NICOLA FORMICHETTI, DESIGNER: Very fashionable.

RAJPAL: Yes, fashionable. You also said that technology also plays a huge role as an inspiration to you. Tell me about that.

FORMICHETTI: Of course. We wanted to, of course, it was very important to have an amazing space and -- for the people to see but, for me, it was very important that the entire world could experience the whole show. Her fans, my fans, the fans of Mugler. And so, I really put lots of attention to the digital media, so we had lots of photographers and backstage.

RAJPAL: I do have to ask, based on the news of what's been happening over the last week with John Galliano, do you have any reaction to -- what has allegedly happened and, now that the prosecution is saying he will face trial.

LADY GAGA: Let's skip that question.

RAJPAL: All right, in terms --

LADY GAGA: Let's keep it positive. Let's keep it --

RAJPAL: Your first single -- well, your latest single, I should say, "Born This Way" was the main soundtrack for this. Tell me about "Born This Way."

LADY GAGA: Well, "Born This Way" is one of the most important songs that I've ever written, and I was really honored because, not only did Nicola ask me to be the musical director of this show, but he insisted that "Born This Way" would close the show, which was exciting for me, because --

FORMICHETTI: It's so positive.

LADY GAGA: But it's a commercial song, now, you know? It's on the radio, it's big worldwide, and I thought, well, for a fashion show, maybe he wants something a bit more underground, some of the more avant-garde records from the album, but he really wanted me to use it because he said it represented female empowerment.

And that's what this song is all about, and I think that's what Nicola's all about. And I'm just really proud to be here today.

RAJPAL: When you have clothes, when show clothes -- showcase clothes on the catwalk, you also put yourself out there, and you're open to reaction, criticism, people really dissecting everything that you've done. Do you care about the reaction? Do you care about what people think about your designs?

FORMICHETTI: No, I care about what my friends think and people that I respect. You know?

RAJPAL: And that's the same for you?

LADY GAGA: Yes.

FORMICHETTI: Yes.

LADY GAGA: I think, like I said, scrutiny is like this massive thing, now, in this century, and for Nicola and I and for everyone that we work with, it's all about your peers, it's about people that you respect. It's about knowing your own strength artistically.

RAJPAL: How do you make something that is very creative marketable? You've been able to do that with your music and even your look. But how do you translate that and make it into a successful, marketable strategy?

FORMICHETTI: I don't know, do you?

LADY GAGA: I don't know.

RAJPAL: No?

LADY GAGA: Just be honest, I guess.

RAJPAL: Yes?

LADY GAGA: I think if you ever backtrack or if you ever show a sign of insecurity, I think it shows a sort of a weakness in the idea. Stop analyzing everything so much. Analysis ultimately, I think, leads to divisiveness, and --

RAJPAL: Well, I do have to analyze shoes, though, I'm sorry. But I call these my Gaga shoes.

LADY GAGA: Oh, they're a bit --

FORMICHETTI: That's why you fell, right?

RAJPAL: That's why I --

LADY GAGA: Yes, I can -- why don't we tell them their name? Wipeout.

FORMICHETTI: Wipeout.

RAJPAL: They're not as high as yours, I have to say.

FORMICHETTI: Mugler?

LADY GAGA: These are Mugler.

RAJPAL: How do you walk in them?

FORMICHETTI: They're really comfortable.

RAJPAL: Much practice?

LADY GAGA: I'm a professional. He was laughing at me today because they made me really high shoes for the show, and I didn't think they were high enough, so I made them make them higher.

RAJPAL: I'm impressed. I'm impressed. High five.

LADY GAGA: Thank you.

RAJPAL: I'm impressed, good one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: Good fun. We're going to wrap up the week tomorrow night with a controversial Connector of the Day. Father Alberto Cutie created a scandal after falling in love with a woman, an affair exposed in the tabloids. Two years on, he's married, with a child, and has changed his faith. Find out what he says about celebrity -- celibacy. Maybe he says something about celebrity, too -- in the priesthood, tomorrow night.

For more on our stellar lineup of Connectors, head to cnn.com/connect.

In tonight's Parting Shots, Lady Gaga isn't the only one turning heads at Paris Fashion Week. Take a look at some of these creations.

Perhaps inspired by the recent movie "Black Swan," which won Natalie Portman an Oscar, a model where a feather dress and black hair extensions.

Now, this wowed the audience. This is a fake fur animal wearing a jeweled crown, is pinned onto the model's shoulder.

This dress also turned heads at the Indian designer Manish Arora's show in Paris.

And check out what this model is wearing. A bright blue feathered shrug with sticks poking out.

And finally, hey, presto! A magician does a trick on the catwalk, making a model appear in a box.

That is your lot. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, that's your world connected. Thanks for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.

END