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Interview with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; Interview with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni; Imagine a World
Aired July 21, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, my exclusive interview with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, who tells me the
whole world now faces a crucial test since Flight MH17 was shot down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: every country, including Russia, should find out and make a decision where their -- where their own
place in this world, together with the terrorists or together with the civilized world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, I ask Israel's chief peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, why Palestinian hospitals are being targeted in their Gaza
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
Tonight, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko's first interview since the downing of Malaysia Flight 17, outraged and determined to act
about what he calls the "terrorist" attack on his soil and devastated about the continuing chaos at the crash scene. Four days after it was blown from
the sky, the bodies of men, women and children piled onto a refrigerated train, are now finally moving out of the crash site to the government
controlled city of Kharkiv in the east.
The evidence seems to have been severely compromised and in some cases removed by pro-Russian rebels, though the Dutch and Malaysian prime
ministers are now saying the rebel leaders are handing over the two black boxes to Malaysian authorities, who are in Donetsk.
President Obama has issued this demand for a proper investigation to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia -- and President Putin in particular
-- has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And for the first time since the plane was shot down, President Putin has responded publicly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We must do everything possible to ensure their work has full and absolutely security
,ensure necessary humanitarian corridors are provided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But of course, it is deeds, not just words. And Europe issues Putin an ultimatum now: step up and face this moment of truth or
face new sanctions.
And the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote to demand accountability for those responsible. At this time President Poroshenko
joined me in this exclusive interview from Kiev.
AMANPOUR: President Poroshenko, thank you for joining me from Kiev. Your senior officials are now saying that all the bodies are being
brought to the eastern city of Kharkiv on an refrigerated train.
Is that every body or just the ones that have been on the train for the last 24 or so hours?
POROSHENKO: Thank you very much, indeed, Christiane.
First of all, we still missing 16 bodies of the innocent victim of the terroristic attack which happened 96 hours ago in Ukrainian sky, but the
rest, from the 298 victims, is already in a refrigerator train, which was supplied by Ukrainian government.
I just want to deliver the information that, in Ukraine, during the last days, happen three major international crime.
Crime number one is that terrorist attack itself, where the terrorists, supported by the Russian launch rocket missile, surface-to-air
missile, against the civilian Malaysian plane, which brings 298 victims.
Crime number two -- and it is a disaster -- the way how the bodies, innocent bodies, including the 80 children, were treated. They're make --
they take their personal belongings, these terrorists, and they treat it very badly. This is barbarian style of doing this with the bodies of
And crime number three, all that you do during this 96 hours, they try to destroy the evidence. This is impossible, because we have all the
strong evidence by Ukrainian side, by the international community, by the United States, by the countries where they severely suffered from this
terrorist attack, including the Germany, Netherlands, Malaysia and different other countries.
We know exactly the place where SAM were launched. We know exactly the place where hit the civilian plane, the place where the plane were
crashed. And all this territory is firmly controlled by Russian-support terrorists.
AMANPOUR: The United States tells CNN that they are investigating the possibility that it was Russian personnel, who may have actually been
manning this Buk, this SA-11 missile system.
Do you believe that as well?
Is that what your intelligence has picked up?
POROSHENKO: We have intercepted phone conversation -- which we'll make it public -- by our Secret Service. And this is -- we had a lot of
evidence that these people are supported by Russia, trained by Russia, armed by Russia.
And most of them and their leaders are Russian citizens.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you to react, because there have been several declarations from Moscow today?
First and foremost, President Putin has been seen online and on camera, saying that he would enable a full investigation, make sure that
that was able to take place in the crash site region and that he would do whatever he could to stop the fighting in that region.
Do you believe that this is President Putin's moment of truth and that he will now do that?
POROSHENKO: Look, I think this is a question for everybody, just not only speak, but demonstrate the effectiveness of their own action.
But I can tell you that today I make a decision to declare the zone diameter 40 kilometers around the place of the terroristic attack and crash
of the plane as a zone free from military operation of Ukrainian army.
We undertake the enormous effort to receive and to deliver to the place where tragedy happened. Hundreds and hundreds of the international
experts of the -- those who will deal with the bodies of the victims.
And unfortunately, until now, we don't have receive any permission to launch the investigation on this place.
And please, this is absolutely no explanation and no excuse for this way of behavior for these terrorists. This is simply impossible to remove
and destroy all the evidence, because all the shrapnel is dispersed on the territory of about 20 square kilometers.
This crime, the international crime, is impossible to destroy. And I think all their efforts, which undertaken by these Russian-support
terrorists -- by the way, please, Christiane, don't name these separatists. There is no separatists there. They are terrorists. They are killing the
innocent people, and I think that their attempt to destroy the evidence were useless.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, the international community is getting ready potentially to impose more sanctions and world leaders seem to be much more
united in speaking with much more unified voice than they may have done in the past.
Are sanctions are going to do it?
Is that what you are looking for?
POROSHENKO: Look, we should use all the methods which are in our hands just to deescalate the situation. If the situation -- if sanction
will help that, we should introduce new sanction.
And we are ready and I am, as a president, presenting the peace plan. We declared the -- a unilateral cease-fire for seven days then continue for
the three more days. But every single day of this cease-fire, my country lost from three to 19 soldiers, every day.
And again, every country, including Russia, should find out and make a decision where their -- where their own place in this world, together with
the terrorists or together with the civilized world.
AMANPOUR: And Mr. President, what is the situation in the Donetsk region right now, near where the crash site is?
There have been reports of fighting, of confusion as to whether actually there is a Ukrainian government military operation underway there.
Some in the government deny it; some say it is a planned counteroffensive.
Can you tell me what is going on right now there militarily?
POROSHENKO: The terrorists attacking my troops and my troops providing anti-terrorist operation.
But now we talk about the deescalation and peace in this zone. We're waiting for two weeks until this representative of this terrorist even
sitting on the table or having the video conference with the trilateral contact group from the OEC Ukranian and Russian representative. They
rejected even the possibility to have these talks.
Can you imagine now that, the -- in the present situation, we use all the opportunities, but this problem on the east of Ukraine should be solved
because this is, again, creating the global danger of the global security.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, I have to ask you to react to something that the Russian defense minister said today. He held a news conference a few
hours ago and showed what he said were all sorts of radar pictures and saying that it was a Ukrainian military aircraft that was flying a few
kilometers away from the Malaysian Flight 17 just shortly around the time that it was down.
What is your reaction to that?
POROSHENKO: My immediate reaction: this is not true. And we are open for any checking and this is not -- Russia -- when the Russian
minister should -- when Russian minister makes such a statement, they should present evidence of that.
But the sky above the Ukrainian terrors is monitoring by lots of satellites, by lots of anti-aircraft position.
And everybody knows that, at this period of the time when tragedy happened, that all Ukrainian planes were on the ground in the where is, I
don't know, maybe several hundred kilometers. And this is not true.
And I invite the Russian representative to participate in the work on the investigation commission, and instead of doing such irresponsible
statement, they have an opportunity to send their representative and present to the commission all the necessary evidence, not wasting 96 hours,
when the people around the globe are sitting and waiting about the possibility to start the international investigation work.
So this is irresponsible and false statement of Russian minister and, unfortunately, this is demonstrate a very bad trend. I'm very disappointed
AMANPOUR: And we have this just in. Malaysia's prime minister says the remains of 282 victims, which are currently being transported to
Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine, will next be flown to Amsterdam for identification and eventual repatriation to so many of those countries, who
lost so many of their citizens.
And on another note, we have repeated extended invitations and requests to senior Russian officials to appear on this program. So far,
they haven't. But we continue to extend our invitations.
And without a truce or some sense of common humanity, investigators still can't get close to the crash site to do the grim work that needs to
be done. Contrast that with the world at war a century ago, when the armies of Europe were deadlocked in mutual slaughter on the western front.
During Christmas of 1914, the cannons and the rifles went silent as soldiers from both sides climbed out of their trenches and crossed no-man's
land to sing carols and exchange cigarettes and packages from home and even play football.
The Christmas truce is still remembered as perhaps the last gasp of gallantry even amidst the worst of carnage.
And after a break, another war zone: this one in Gaza, where peace on Earth has never seemed so far away.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Today President Obama also addressed the two- week-old Gaza war and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. International press (INAUDIBLE) cease-fire is
growing after a weekend that saw the highest number of casualties yet on both sides. It was the deadliest day in almost a decade.
Israel is investigating reports of yet another hospital that came under its attack in central Gaza.
Tzipi Livni is Israeli minister of justice and chief negotiator with the Palestinians. And last time she appeared on this program, she told me
it's her life's mission to achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians, a goal that moves farther away with each day's fighting. She joined me
earlier from Tel Aviv.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Instead of convening peace talks, Secretary of State John Kerry is en route there to Cairo to try to get a cease-fire.
AMANPOUR: Minister Livni, welcome to the program.
TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI JUSTICE MINISTER: Hello.
AMANPOUR: You have just come from close to the border.
Is there a sense that your mission is nearing its end, that you are anywhere close to agreeing that it's time to stop?
LIVNI: I wish, but it's not only our decision. As you know, Israel accepted the cease-fire, the Egyptian proposal. Hamas said no. And now
the entire world is trying to convince Hamas that this is the best thing or best decision to the sake of their own people.
AMANPOUR: Well, to that end, Secretary Kerry is flying to Cairo for help in a cease-fire. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United
Nations, is there. And as you say, everybody wants a cease-fire.
I would like to play for you some unguarded, perhaps truthful moments that Secretary Kerry was caught on mike saying in the last 24 hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's a hell of a pinpoint operation. It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.
QUESTION: Right. It's escalating significantly. It just underscores the need for a cease-fire.
KERRY: We've got to get over there.
Thank you, John.
I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The secretary seemed to be saying and seemed to be doubting the targeted nature of your operation; the way everybody's read what he's
said is very sarcastically referring to what Israel calls a pinprick or a pinpoint operation.
I think it has been read as questioning your sense of proportionality.
LIVNI: Well, I believe that Secretary Kerry is supporting the need of Israel to defend its citizens and the need to act against these tunnels.
But it is also true that unfortunately when there are civil casualties on the other side, people and leaders are questioning Israel.
And we give the same answer to all of them. We are trying to avoid civil casualties. We are acting against tunnels. We call the Palestinian
civilians in Gaza, in such area (ph), to leave the place. Hamas calls them to stay there.
And unfortunately, we are looking at this heartbreakful (sic) pictures of civilians that are paying the price of Hamas ideology.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Minister Livni, because this is when the world starts to get really uncomfortable about what Israel is doing. So
far the figures show more than 500 Palestinians are dead; 18 or 20, I'm afraid, 20 Israelis are dead. The proportion of Palestinian dead are
civilians; whereas the overwhelming proportion of Israeli dead are military.
You know, we ask you this every single time.
How do you get around this disproportionality and why are you bombing hospitals, for instance?
Today, al-Aqsa, el-Wafa, four hospitals have been bombed.
LIVNI: Christiane, I want to make it clear: we are not trying and we are not punishing the Palestinian people for what Hamas is doing. We are
trying to target these tunnels, the places in which they hide weapons and missiles.
The beginning of these tunnels are within the population centers. They are calling the people, their own people to stay in places in which we
call them to leave because we need to target and to act against these tunnels.
Know -- I know that -- and believe me, it's not like the world is feeling uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable as well.
AMANPOUR: Just very quickly and really a one-word answer, did el-Wafa and al-Aqsa and the other two --
LIVNI: OK, (INAUDIBLE).
AMANPOUR: -- hospitals have weapons in them?
Why did -- why did Israel target those hospitals?
LIVNI: Since you ask me for a short answer, this is something that need to be questioned and I don't have the answer to this. And I want to
share with you just the facts. So we are questioning this and will make all the facts found public.
AMANPOUR: There have been reports -- now some Israeli officials have denied it. But can you confirm or deny whether an Israeli soldier has been
kidnapped as Hamas claims?
LIVNI: I can -- I cannot refer to this question. I cannot answer this question for now. And if Israel had something to say, we would make a
public announcement on this as well.
AMANPOUR: I understand.
Back in 2012, I interviewed the Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal. This was during cease-fire to end that last spasm of violence then.
I asked him about the end game and this is what he said to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What is your goal?
You govern Gaza.
What is the goal, endless resistance, endless fighting, endless death?
KHALED MASHAL, HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER (through translator): Of course not. Of course not. The resistance is not a goal. The resistance is a
means to an end. The end game is to end occupation but the international community is not enabling us to do this. They are biased towards Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So I want to ask you this same question.
What is the end game?
LIVNI: Please ask him next time that you see him whether for him a Palestinian state, '67 line, is the end of conflict for him.
AMANPOUR: I did ask him --
LIVNI: Because the answer is --
AMANPOUR: -- I did ask him --
LIVNI: -- no. (INAUDIBLE) --
LIVNI: And not to -- not in order to end the conflict, because Hamas, for many years now, is not willing to accept the right of Israel to exist,
to renounce violence and terrorism and to accept Oslo agreement that are the basis for any peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
But now Mashal is the spoiler. We are all waiting for Mashal, who's not living in Gaza Strip, to say yes to a cease-fire and he refuses.
And he represents the conflict from a religious perspective. And there is no hope for peace with them.
This is why our strategy and policy is to negotiate with those that represent the legitimate national aspiration of the Palestinian state, the
meaning is Abu Mazen.
And Hamas, there are those trying to act in terms of terror and not instead of negotiating peace with Israel.
AMANPOUR: Minister Tzipi Livni, thank you very much for joining me.
LIVNI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And after our interview, Israel reported seven more soldiers were killed in fighting today.
And as we discussed, more than 500 Gazans, mostly civilians, have been killed thus far. Meanwhile, whether it be on the war-torn border of Israel
and Gaza or of Ukraine and Russia, there's no shortage of denial and deception.
But what about on the boundaries of outer space? Forty-five years after one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, the deniers still
look up at the moon and say no way. We'll explore when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, "In war, truth is the first casualty." So said Aeschylus, the Greek playwright, who spoke from experience, since
he fought at the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Today we see that playing out again in rebel-held Eastern Ukraine, where getting at the truth, not to
mention those black boxes, is met with deception and denial.
Now imagine a world where one of man's greatest achievements can still be doubted and denied. Forty-five years ago, two Americans, Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin, walked on the moon, leaving the first human footprints there, a worldwide television audience was glued to the grainy black-and-
white images that were flashed back to Earth.
But almost from the start, there were those who said it never happened, that the whole thing had been staged. It even became part of
popular culture in the 1970s Hollywood movie, "Capricorn One."
(VIDEO CLIP, "CAPRICORN ONE")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And Buzz Aldrin himself, who's now in his 80s and shown here in a gray sport coat, has been dogged by deniers. This one
was so insulting and confrontational that the former astronaut just couldn't take it anymore and threw a punch. Take a close look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I'd say that was a punch well landed, whether it be mankind at its finest or mankind at its worst, the deniers persist.
And that is it for our program tonight. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.