Return to Transcripts main page


Turkey Terror Attack; Russia to Restore Cooperation with Turkey; Candidates for British Prime Minister; Gruesome Discovery in Rio. Aired 10- 11a ET

Aired June 30, 2016 - 10:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, we're following two big stories today, tracking Turkey's bombers; the path

leads to ISIS in Raqqah.

And who will lead the U.K. as it navigates itself out of the E.U.?

One of the main Brexit voices says, not I.


CURNOW: Hi, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK, I'm Robyn Curnow.

And we start with new developments in the terror attack at Istanbul's main international airport. Raids and arrests today and now we're learning the

nationalities of the suicide bombers and their connection to the ISIS leadership in Syria. CNN's Alexandra Field joins me now from outside

Ataturk Airport.

What more can you tell us?

Hi, there, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Robyn. Officials have identified the bombers as coming from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Dagestan.

And they say that these attacks were planned in close cooperation with ISIS. Officials telling CNN that these men had spent time in Raqqah, the

de facto capital of ISIS in Syria but that they had arrived in Istanbul a month ago and that they have rented an apartment here. That's where a

passport was found which may have led officials to identify at least one of the attackers. They have now, of course, identified all three by


This development in the investigation, obviously of great interest to investigators who know a great deal more about these attackers at this

point. But it has also prompted counterterrorism operations that have been going on for the last day.

Authorities tell us that they have taken 22 people in for questioning, some of them from the coastal town in Izmir, the rest from Istanbul. That was a

result, of course, of the attacks here at this airport but no word on why those are people who are of interest to authorities at this point.

Prior to that, authorities had also questioned the taxi cab driver, who dropped off the three bombers at this airport, where they unleashed this

hideous attack, targeting the departure hall, the arrival hall and also bombing a parking lot outside of this building.

The death toll today, Robyn, stands at 43; that's up from 42, which was previously reported, with two more fatalities being added to this, bringing

us to 43 now; as many as 19 foreign nationals killed in those blasts -- Robyn.

CURNOW: And as you were talking, we were showing those images, those security video images of these bombers, unleashing their horror inside that


Alexandra, we have, though, been hearing stories of bravery from the security forces, who did try to take these guys on.

FIELD: That's right, Robyn. What we have heard a lot of is the fact that this is an airport that is highly secured. It was obviously considered by

officials that this airport could be targeted.

So they said that they had security measures in place which exceeded international standards.

But you have to couple that with the fact that they also had security personnel, who really stepped up to the job when the worst happened here.

We know that one of the attackers was confronted by a security officer, who saw him with an AK-47, then shot him.

Then the attacker falls to the ground and detonates his bomb. We are also now learning, according to the news agency, HaberTurk, that an undercover

counterterrorism official approached one of the bombers to ask for an ID. At that point, the official was shot.

So these are people who were intercepting; they tried to stop these attackers and they may have well prevented more casualties from happening -

- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, thanks so much there, for reporting there on the ground at Ataturk Airport.

Now as we heard, a Turkish official says the airport attackers came from Russia and two other former Soviet republics. I want to bring in Matthew

Chance. He's in Moscow.

Hi, there, Matt.


CURNOW: There have been warnings that a significant number of fighters from those areas have traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, Russia, particularly but also the former Soviet states of Central Asia like

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have been among the major suppliers of recruits to Islamic State, to ISIS.

And that's something that's very much on the record in Russia; the Russian FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, said in its most recent report,

there was something in the region of 2,500 Russian citizens that had joined the ranks of ISIS and that were currently fighting in Syria, particularly,

but also in other ISIS areas in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

And, so, yes, it is a major problem; if, indeed, it is confirmed -- and it hasn't been confirmed yet by the Kremlin that there was a Russian citizen

among the three attackers and that the other two were former Soviet republics -- again, it puts a spotlight on that problem, that is a Russian

problem and a Soviet -- former Soviet republic problem that many of these areas, particularly in Southern Russia, Chechnya and Dagestan, where there

have been Islamic insurgencies in the past, they have a real problem with militancy and it's something that the Russians are struggling and other

governments in the region are struggling to tackle.

CURNOW: And militants from those areas, particularly battle-hardened, we know from some of our security analysts, that they are part of the more

dangerous battalions that have joined ISIS, in many ways, because of their experience.

CHANCE: Yes, some of them have cut their teeth in the anti-Russian wars in Chechnya in the 1990s and the early 2000s, some of them have gone on from

there to continue fighting as part of that broader jihad with the Islamic State in Syria.

And I think it underlines one of the reasons, perhaps not the biggest reason but certainly one of the reasons why the Russians were so ready to

go into Syria and to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State there.

Yes, first and foremost, they want to support their ally. Bashar al-Assad. But they're also genuinely concerned that if Syria falls and ISIS takes

over or similar factions like ISIS take over, that could spread to Russia.

Russia is no stranger to Islamic insurgency. It's tackled it ruthlessly in the past several years. It doesn't want it coming back with these ISIS

recruits traveling back to Russia. That's why it's hitting them in Syria.

CURNOW: The view from Moscow, thanks so much, Matthew Chance there.

Well, staying with the story, Turkey is a NATO member, wanted to be part of the European Union. But its proximity to Syria has sucked Ankara into a

messy regional conflict. And to complicate things even more, Turkey continues to battle Kurdish militants.

Well, let's get some perspective on all of this. We're joined by Marc Grossman, the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

Hi, there, sir. This attack, at the airport, another indication of how Turkey is a target and will continue to be.

MARC GROSSMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY: Well, Robyn, absolutely. I think as both of your correspondents have said, this is a very tough time

for Turkey. And I think before we do anything, condolences, obviously, to the families, to the victims, to those who are wounded. I think the

international response has been strong.

But this shows you exactly, as you said and your correspondents said, Turkey's there; it's in that geography. It's pursued policies which have

made this -- have made it a target. And it's time for, I think, the international community to recognize that and support that country.

CURNOW: You say pursued; what has it pursued?

Its priorities have not been about ISIS.

Is that part of the problem?

GROSSMAN: Well, I think one of the most interesting things, as you highlighted in your news today, is if these bombers really came from

Russia, from Kyrgyzstan, from Uzbekistan, it really tells you three things: first of all, that this is an international question and it needs an

international response.

And secondly, I think very importantly, it's a reminder to Turks that this question of their border is a strategic one for them.

I was really struck yesterday by the White House statement on this, giving condolences, giving support to Turkey but also reminding Turks that it's in

their interest to do as much as they possibly can to make sure that border is secure as it can possibly be.

You know, no one expects 100 percent. But I think there's more that can be done And that's a big conversation between the United States and Turkey.

And third, I think it's also a reminder, if it's right that these three people were from these three countries, that, my goodness, we've still got

some work to do on the recruiting side so that we can counter this ISIS recruitment. And that's a big job for everybody.

CURNOW: This attack comes the same week that Turkey reached out to Israel and to Russia diplomatically.

Does this renewed mending of fences diplomatically as well as this attack change the momentum in Syria particularly?

GROSSMAN: Well, I don't know if it changes the momentum in Syria quite quickly. But what it does, I think, is it reintegrates Turkey into the

larger regional conversation, restarting a --


GROSSMAN: -- relationship with Russia, restarting a relationship with Israel, closer, I think, ties to the United States.

As your correspondent said, U.S. forces and Turkish forces are using the Turkish base as Incirlik; closer ties to NATO.

And I think over time, if you look back a year or so, maybe a year and a half ago, Turks had gotten themselves isolated and sort of taken out of the

region. And they looked around and they said, here we are, next to Syria, 2 million Syrian refugees inside of Turkey and we're out here by ourselves.

And I think one of the things that's happened is that they have tried through this restarting of relations, closer ties with NATO and the United

States, to reset themselves so they can get some support out there, and as you started your conversation, in a tough, tough piece of geography.

CURNOW: Exactly. Thanks so much for your perspective, Ambassador, appreciate it.

GROSSMAN: Thank you for having me.

CURNOW: Up to 250 ISIS militants may have been killed in airstrikes in Iraq. They were in ISIS convoys that were hit by Iraqi air force and

coalition airstrikes as they were driving away from Fallujah.

This comes just days after Iraqi forces reclaimed the city. These new pictures appear to show the aftermath of scorched debris. A coalition

spokesman says about 175 vehicles were destroyed.


CURNOW: Now to Britain and the surprise announcement from former mayor, London mayor and Brexit campaigner, Boris Johnson, that he will not seek

the Conservative Party's leadership post or be the next prime minister.

Well, our Becky Anderson joins us now from London.

And hi, there, Becky. I mean, this has been tumultuous; there have been friends betrayed, secret deals, treachery.

I mean, "The New York Times" even compared it this week as -- to an episode of "Game of Thrones."


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: You couldn't make it up, could you?

Thank you, Robyn.

Yet another dramatic development following the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union. Johnson made his big announcement here a few hours ago,

just minutes before the deadline for Conservative members of Parliament to declare their intentions to run as prime minister.


BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER MAYOR OF LONDON: Well, I must tell you, my friends, you who have waited faithfully for the punchline of this speech, that,

having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.

My role -- my role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration, to make sure that we properly fulfill the

mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum and to champion the agenda I believe in.


ANDERSON: Boris Johnson describing that as his punchline.

Well, the opposition Labour Party is in turmoil as well. Leader Jeremy Corbyn under fire for new comments, apparently comparing the government of

Israel to ISIS. Our Isa Soares has that.

First, I want to talk about the Conservative Party's leadership options with CNN political contributor, Robin Oakley.

Just when you thought things in the U.K. couldn't be more drama-filled, the Boris bombshell.

What happened?

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: At the end of the day, I think Boris got cold feet. He realized that the support was draining away from


We used to call David Cameron "the essay crisis prime minister," always doing things at the last minute, like a student having his essay to hand


With Boris Johnson, he seems to have wrecked things after being the leading figure in the Leave campaign, winning the referendum but not having any

plan for what to do afterwards because they hadn't that to win.

Boris disappeared from sight, as you and I were discussing on air yesterday, Becky, for several days he disappeared from sight. The only

thing he did was to write an article for the "Daily Telegraph" newspaper. He dashed it off in the way he usually does these things. He writes like

an angel.

But it was so careless and so inappropriate in the circumstances -- you know, he was like, oh, nothing wrong with the pound, you know; everything

will settle down. No bothers really and, oh, as for immigration, well, you know, numbers might still go up, because if we want to get in the single

market, we'll probably have to accept free movement.

And all those Tory MPs who really invested their careers in following and backing Boris and joined him in the Leave campaign, they're -- this guy's

not for real. He's not serious.

ANDERSON: Well, Michael Gove is certainly for real now, another architect of the Leave campaign, current justice minister.

Between 2012, March 2012 and May 2016, Michael Gove unequivocally denied --


ANDERSON: -- wanting to be the British prime minister, going so far as to say out loud and on record, that he wasn't equipped to do the job.

He is now in the running; he's thrown his hat in the ring.

What's changed?

OAKLEY: One thing that's changed is that Boris Johnson is no longer throwing his hat in the ring. Michael Gove, yes, has -- he's told his

friends for ages he could imagine himself being Chancellor of the Exchequer, foreign secretary, maybe, but he wasn't ultimate leadership


He's part of the brains of this cabinet. He was the brain in the organization behind Boris Johnson in the Leave campaign. Something's

happened between the two of them.

And Michael Gove, I think, perhaps had decided that, you know, the Leave campaign won and one or the other of the representatives of that at top

level has got to be in this contest.

ANDERSON: There is another runner, cometh the hour, cometh the man or woman, Theresa May, I'm going to talk to you about her in a moment.

I want to bring you in here, though, because the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, engulfed in what is a fresh row. And this is drama-filled as well.

What is he saying (INAUDIBLE) --


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really putting his foot in it, Becky, and really not helping his cause. We're seeing him losing MPs, left, right and

center. Today he was speaking at the loiter inquiry (ph) into anti- Semitism in the Labour Party. And this is what he had to say, what some people think is very anti-Semitic. Take a listen.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our

Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic State (INAUDIBLE) --




SOARES: So there, in comparing Israel to ISIS, many people in Israel basically saying -- they say they're disgusted by the comments. I've got

some quotes here.

They're saying it's offensive and inflammatory. We contacted the leader, the Yesh Atid Party. He basically said, "I call upon the Labour Party and

Israel to cut all ties with the counterpart here in the U.K."

And just to put into context for you, Becky, the launch of this inquiry started with two Labour MPs, if you remember, also had some anti-Semitic

rhetoric basically. This was why it was launched.

And then at the same event, an MP for Labour was abused, verbally abused by supporter, grassroots supporters from Labour and called her basic -- called

her some names I won't repeat.

She came out. She said in a statement to CNN -- and I'm just going to read what she said -- "No one from the leader's office has contacted me since

the events, which itself is a catastrophic failure of leadership. I call on Jeremy Corbyn to resign immediately make way for someone with a backbone

to confront racism and anti-Semitism in our party and our country."

ANDERSON: There is those calls have been on for days now amongst parliamentary Labour MPs.

He's not going anywhere, is he?

SOARES: Well, he is defiant. We have seen from several other MPs, saying that he's lost all moral authority. This is a sign that he has to go. But

now that, you know, I've contacted Labour as well for a comment -- for comment. And this day you're not commenting on this.

Reports out there perhaps that you were not going to last much longer. But many saying this is a sign that he's not a leader for a party. He did not



ANDERSON: Vacuum of leadership on both sides of the aisle, as it were, Robin, why is this so relevant at this point?

OAKLEY: Well, because Britain has got to define the terms for extricating itself from the European Union. We have seen all the market turmoil; we

have seen total political turmoil across all the parties. We cannot afford to go on with a vacuum in political leadership.

We've had noise from Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP. We have had a sense of direction from Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland. But that is not enough. It

-- what is needed is direction at the heart of British government.

And the one person who's stepped forward and offered some clarity is the other contender for the Conservative leadership, and that's Theresa May;

experienced, home secretary, safe pair of hands.

And she stepped forward today and all those questions in people's minds -- Brexit means Brexit, she said. No way, no second referendum, nothing like

that; no election --


OAKLEY: -- yes, no election until 2020 --


OAKLEY: -- freedom of movement. We're not going to have that.


OAKLEY: Clarity in every way.

ANDERSON: And that is what the British public and many people across Europe and those who are looking to invest in this entire space have been

looking for, not sure that we have enough of it yet, Robyn, but perhaps the dust beginning to settle somewhat. But it has been a tumultuous week in

British and European politics, hasn't it?

CURNOW: Absolutely. And I think the three of you certainly have tried, a lot of clarity coming from all three of you. Thanks so much.

And we'll check in again with you a little bit later on in this hour. Thanks, Becky.

Well, coming up, Thailand and Myanmar get mentions on the annual U.S. report on human trafficking, one is improving. The other has work to do.

Plus: another damaging blow ahead of this year's Olympic Games.


CURNOW: The disturbing find that washed up on a beach in Rio.




CURNOW: Now to new clues about what may have brought down EgyptAir Flight 804. Egyptian officials say the plane's flight data recorder shows there

was smoke inside the aircraft before it crashed in the Mediterranean Sea last month. That smoke appears to have been located in the lavatory and

avionics bay.

Investigators say the front of the plane also shows signs of heat damage; 66 people were killed in that crash.

Well, with just weeks to go before the Olympics, the situation in Rio appears to be going from bad to worse. On Wednesday, someone discovered

human body parts on a beach near the volleyball arena. Arwa Damon joins me now from Rio with more on this extremely disturbing discovery.

Hi, there, Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Robyn, yes, it seems like this country can't really catch a break when it comes to these

Olympic Games.

What was discovered by a beachgoer were two body parts. One was a foot that the authorities believe could have belonged to a woman or a young

adult. The other was an unidentified body part. No indication whatsoever that this was some sort of foul play.

But the visual of these body parts being found on the beach, right in front of where the beach volleyball area is being built up, was really quite

jarring, especially because it comes on the heels of so many other things that have just gone so phenomenally wrong, to name just a few of them.

You have, as you can see behind me, this issue with traffic here. Now, of course, to try to counter that, they are going to be setting up specific

lanes for buses to ferry people around.

But you also have perhaps what is the most looming and most pressing issue at this stage and that is that of security. And I'm not just talking about

concerns related to any sort of potential terrorist activity but just security in the city in general. That has been on a fairly rapid downward

spiral, especially over the last few months.

And now you have the police force themselves saying that their overtime is not being paid; their regular salaries are not arriving to them on time.

Authorities coming out and warning that if these payments are not made, we do really risk seeing security and emergency health services collapse


They're also trying to scramble to even begin completing some of these venues. And what's been quite interesting, too, Robyn -- and I'm here for

the first time -- in talking to the Brazilians that I have managed to speak to, they're really not all that excited about the games because a lot of

the benefit that they thought the country would be seeing because they were hosting the Olympics Games have not even come close to materializing at

this stage -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much, Arwa Damon, reporting there on some disturbing discoveries there on Copacabana Beach. Thanks, Arwa.

Well, Myanmar has made tremendous strides in democracy in recent years but a U.S. report released last hour, shows Myanmar's progress has not extended

to human trafficking.

In fact, the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Humans Report puts Myanmar among the bottom tier countries. Now here's how the tiers work.

Tier 1 countries have made efforts to fight human trafficking and meet the minimum standards to protect victims. Tier 2 countries are making

significant strides to improve while countries in the third tier are not making those efforts.

Our Elise Labott is at the U.S. State Department in Washington with more details on that report.

Let's start first with Myanmar, why has it dropped down the rankings?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, Myanmar has been on what they call the Tier 2 watch list --


LABOTT: -- for several years, which is essentially a kind of middle tier. That's a last-ditch effort to get countries to adhere to the minimum

standards of the trafficking protection -- victims protection act and also improve the scope of the problem.

Now Myanmar has been on that so-called Tier 2 watch list for several years and was automatically downgraded because it hasn't done enough to combat

the recruitment of child soldiers and also because of the huge problem with Rohingya Muslims.

As you know, essentially the government has made an effort to make these people stateless. And that has really, in the report, says increased the

vulnerability of Rohingya Muslims to be vulnerable to trafficking.

So also at some other countries that were added to that Tier 3 list on the report were Haiti, Sudan and several others that have not made enough


CURNOW: You just dropped your bottle of water there, Elise, but we'll continue.

Why should these countries care about this ranking?

The reason you're there and the reason the State Department makes such a big deal of this, why is it important?

Is it just political or is there other effects?

LABOTT: Well, certainly the effort of trying to shame these countries is - - certainly it's a symbolic gesture. But if countries are on the Tier 3 list for a certain number of years, they could face certain U.S. sanctions.

And certainly a lot of these countries that are on the Tier 3 watch list also have very -- are developing countries. They don't have huge economies

and they really rely on that aid.

So this is a particular effort to try and get these countries to improve.

Let's take a listen to Secretary of State John Kerry, that really talked about the horrible problem that some 20 million victims of trafficking were

facing around the world.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are part of the community of nations, proudly, particularly that lives by and advocates for and believes in a

universal declaration of human rights.

Frankly, it's stunning. It's outrageous that, even today, the magnitude of the human trafficking challenge cannot be overstated.


LABOTT: Now one of the things this year, the theme of the report -- every year it has a theme -- is prevention, efforts to make sure that some of

these vulnerable populations are given resources before they fall prey to being victims of trafficking.

And a few of the things that they did were put out these certain documents for domestic workers. And a lot of countries, people from around the world

that are -- have poor economic conditions in their own home country travel to areas in Asia and the Gulf. And they fall prey to traffickers because

they don't have the protection.

So here the State Department laying out some contracts and some minimum standards for employers to be able to meet in order to hire some of these

domestic workers.

Now of course, you know, here at CNN, we're very committed to the issue of human trafficking. Today, the State Department rolled out a list of what

they call heroes that they celebrate, that are really actively working to improve the conditions for victims of trafficking.

You might remember last year, our own CNN International's head, Tony Maddox, was honored for CNN's commitment to the issue and the Freedom

Project, really dedicated to highlighting this terrible problem -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes, indeed. Thanks so much, Elise Labott there.

You're watching CNN.

Still ahead, funerals are being held for victims of the terror attack in Istanbul, while others who survived are recovering from their injuries.

We're live at one of the hospitals. Do stay with us.





CURNOW: Thanks for joining me. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow.

Funerals are being held today for some of the 43 victims of the terror attack at Istanbul's main international airport. Let's go straight to

Istanbul. Our Matt Rivers is standing by near a hospital, where some of the injured are recovering.

Hi, there.

And you have been speaking to family members?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. We have been outside of this hospital really for the better part of two days now and

what you see is a constant stream of family members going inside, checking on their loved ones, hoping for good news.

When we spoke yesterday, there was, I think, about 130 people in area hospitals still being treated as a result of their injuries from these

attacks. Today that number has dropped to a little bit over 90 people at this point.

But a significant number of those people are in critical condition still. So a long way to go.

But in addition to what's happening here at the hospitals, for those people who lost loved ones, this has been a trying couple of days and there have

been funerals going on across the city.

A little bit earlier today, we went to one of those funerals for four different women, well, some of them were women; there was one 24-year old;

it was her 16-year-old sister as well as her 13-year-old sister. There were three sisters at that funeral as well as their 8-year-old niece. So

four people from the same family all killed outside of the terminal when one of those blasts exploded.

A very, very sad funeral to attend. We spoke to the father of that 8-year- old girl and just asked him how he was doing. Here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before she go, she hugged me and she told me, "Father, come with us."

I told her that I will come (INAUDIBLE).

RIVERS: If you wanted someone, if you wanted people to know something about your daughter, what would you want people to know about her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was very lovely.

RIVERS: She was very lovely.



RIVERS: And if you notice there, the entire time he was talking to me, he had his hand on his daughter's casket. He was just stroking it gently

That is a father who is still very much in shock. But the reality is that not only are his three sisters now gone but his daughter is gone as well.

CURNOW: Yes, I think that was what was so powerful about that interview, he just sort of was stroking her as if he was patting -- stroking her

coffin as if he was patting her head, very difficult to watch. As you said, the grief very much etched on his face. And there are 43 families

who are going through this.

RIVERS: That's exactly right. It's just something that was thrust upon them. So many of these families had people going to the airport; that

family that we went to the funeral earlier today, they had all come here to visit family here in Turkey. It was supposed to be a very joyous trip for

them. And it turned out to be just anything but.

And that's the kind of story you hear, when you talk to these people, they were at the airport, meeting up with loved ones, going to see other loved

ones. And yet, instead, they're dealing with this incredible tragedy both here at the hospital for those who are still alive but also throughout the

city, at funeral after funeral after funeral.

CURNOW: Matt Rivers in Istanbul, thank you.

Well, coming up, Boris Johnson led the Brexit campaign but he won't lead a Brexit government. He does his own sort of Brexit. Stay with us.





CURNOW: Back to one of our big stories this hour: Former London mayor and Brexit campaigner, Boris Johnson, says he will not lead the

Conservative Party or the country.

Our Becky Anderson joins us now from London with more on this Boris bombshell.

Hi, there, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right, Robyn, thank you.

In fact, Boris Johnson sais he cannot be the one to lead but will play a supporting role. His announcement came after consulting party colleagues,

we're told, and just minutes before the deadline for Conservative MPs here in the country to get into the leadership race.

Well, a lot of Conservatives are saying they feel misled.

With me now is Kwasi Kwarteng, a conservative member of Parliament and Brexit supporter.

In fact, I know you were a self-declared Boris supporter.

So do you feel let down and misled?

KWASI KWARTENG, CONSERVATIVE MP: I don't think I was misled. I think Boris would have been a great candidate. I think he was a great candidate.

I think he'd have been a good prime minister, inspiring people --


ANDERSON: So what happened?

KWARTENG: -- bringing people in.

I think what happened was simply that certain events happened, people reacted to him, people --

ANDERSON: Like who?

KWARTENG: -- who were -- well, Michael Gove has now announced that he's now going to be the leader. We were led to believe that they were going to

come together to form a dream ticket. That didn't happen.

I think Boris was very surprised when it didn't happen. And I think he probably feels now that he probably isn't the best person to bring the

party together.

ANDERSON: Are you embarrassed by your party at present and its behavior?

KWARTENG: I think some of this behavior is surprising. It reminds me of a kind of student union-style politics, the kinds of things that

undergraduates get up to.

But I think we'll get through this process. I think we'll unite behind a strong leader, who can then take the Brexit agenda forward.

ANDERSON: Kwasi, who should that be?

KWARTENG: Well, I'm looking at a number of people. I think Theresa May is strong, capable; she's well respected in the country. She has a proven

track record and I think she's a strong candidate. But I haven't made a final decision.

ANDERSON: One Tory blog that's well respected I think here is they're trying to say in this country has you down as a supporter of Theresa May.

KWARTENG: Well, there are lots of mistakes on that blog, if it's the one I think you're referring to. But I'm just considering my position.

But I'm strongly inclined to look favorably on her --

ANDERSON: And let's talk about why she might be a good candidate, as opposed to, for example, a Michael Gove, who declared himself a candidate

earlier on, a man who is on record, time and time again over the past four years, as denying that he would ever want to be prime minister, going so

far as to say he's not equipped to do the job.

If that is the case, what on Earth is he doing even throwing himself into the mix in what is such a difficult and chaotic period for British


KWARTENG: Yes, you ask the right question and the person to ask is Michael and I don't know why, if he's someone who's repeatedly, not just on one

occasion, ruled himself out. He thinks he's not temperamentally equipped to be prime minister. He's also said that he's not somebody who --


KWARTENG: -- ever really wanted the job. And at a time like this when we absolutely need crucial leadership, it seems bizarre that at this late hour

-- I mean, forget the nominations that close today -- and he only really announced today -- that he was seeking this role.

ANDERSON: Is he serious about it, do you think?

Because he's not the front-runner at this point.

KWARTENG: I'm not sure that he is serious. I think he's a very capable, intelligent man. But I think he's done himself a great disservice with the

way he's behaved.

ANDERSON: The front-runner at present is Theresa May. We've been talking about this, comfy, our come to man or woman, a lot of people saying that

she is plausible, that she is calm, she delivered a statement this morning announcing her candidacy, which made sense.

You are not suggesting that you are a supporter of hers at this point.

But does she make sense?

KWARTENG: I think she does. I think she's someone who has a very proven track record. She's been six years in the same office, in the home office,

senior office of state.

I think, certainly amongst my members, we were very inclined as an association to favor Boris Johnson, which was the only other name in the

frame. And when people considered the leadership, and you can see that in polling; you can see that across the country, amongst conservative members,

it was only really a contest between Johnson and May. These were the two front-runners, the two credible candidates.

ANDERSON: How well would she steward the negotiations that will now have to start September 2 or beyond?

KWARTENG: I think she's a strong negotiator. She faced down the police. She made some tough decisions with, you know, police reform and she's

improved her mettle in that office.

ANDERSON: You were a Boris supporter through this campaign. You have said, to a certain extent, you feel let down, possibly slightly misled.

Are you embarrassed by what a lot of people are now saying was irresponsible behavior by Boris Johnson?

He wasn't in it from the beginning; it was a bit of a joke, people say. And now he's being flushed out for what he is, a joker. That's what many

people are saying.

KWARTENG: I don't think -- I don't think that's fair --


KWARTENG: -- fair on -- to him. I mean, I was a member of his team, a very junior member; he was very approachable, very friendly/ I think he

had a vision. I liked the speech that he gave. It was about the international --

ANDERSON: Is he a leader?

KWARTENG: I think he is a leader, I mean, he led London for years. He led London during the Olympics. He was a hugely popular figure. He was a very

popular figure in the country. He's just won or helped win the Vote Leave campaign.


ANDERSON: -- politics because some people are saying that this -- he just saw as a poison challenge, the possibility of being a prime minister as we

-- as Britain stewards itself through this incredibly difficult time and that 2020, the next potential general election, if there wasn't one before

-- there won't be one before that, will be his next chance?

KWARTENG: I don't think, at this moment, that he's planning ahead. I think he's very wounded, he's very hurt by what's happened, he's been --

he'll be upset. And he'll be considering, you know, what the immediate steps will be. I don't think he's thinking about 2020 or future date --

ANDERSON: Can you see it beyond September 2nd at this point as a British politician?

KWARTENG: Yes, I think we can. I think things will get back to normal fairly quickly. We'll have a new government. The government will be

projecting confidence, trying to restore confidence in the market, i the economy and we'll get back to business as usual.

ANDERSON: Not quite back to business as usual. But perhaps to a degree getting there.

Robyn, back to you.

CURNOW: Thanks so much, Becky, there at Westminster.

Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining all of our teams. I'm Robyn Curnow. I will be back in just over

an hour with more on those two top stories we're following here at CNN.

In the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to Alex Thomas and "WORLD SPORT."