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Canada Negotiates Trade with E.U.; Saving Lives in Besieged Aleppo; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 14, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: "Dear World..Sorry."

That's how one U.K. newspaper is responding to the shock appointment of the insult and gaffe-prone Boris Johnson as the new British foreign

secretary. And reaction pours in fast and furious from Europe to Australia.

Canada's E.U. trade deal is held up as a model for post-Brexit Britain. Their trade minister tells me it will be a long, hard slog but

she's optimistic.


CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN TRADE MINISTER: We really have confidence that, at the end of the day, Britain and Europe are going to work things



AMANPOUR: Also on the program, an exclusive firsthand account of the dire situation in Aleppo, Syria, from a doctor who's just returned from

that city.


DR. SAMER ATTAR, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: When you have that many people who are injured, you have to make decisions on who you are going to save

and who you have to leave behind.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Just as we thought the seismic shock waves upending British politics were subsiding, another bombshell is rocking the country and the world.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Reaction to the appointment of Boris Johnson as British foreign secretary has drawn surprise, shock and scorn.

There was this barely concealed smirk at the U.S. State Department, followed by Johnson's French counterpart, Jean-Marc Araud, calling him "a

liar" and former British Lib Dem party leader, Paddy Ashdown, said his appointment is, quote, "the silliest since Caligula made his horse a


They are just a few of the outraged and incredulous responses to the elevation of Johnson, who was the face and force of the campaign to leave

the E.U.

Infamous for his catalog of errors, gaffes, blunders and insults, the journalist-turned-politician has previously described people from the

commonwealth nations in Africa as, quote, "pickaninnies;" President Obama as part Kenyan and people in Papua New Guinea as being prone to

"cannibalism and chief killing."

He once referred to Hillary Clinton as "a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital." And his comments on Turkey's President Erdogan are, frankly,

too rude to mention.

So how has this diplomatic hand grenade been given one of the top diplomatic jobs in the world?

Chrystia Freeland is Canada's trade minister. She knows all about the delicacy of diplomacy. Indeed, she was way too diplomatic when she joined

me here earlier to pronounce on Johnson's shock appointment.

But she did explain what might be ahead for Britain trying to do the hard work of deals with Brussels and beyond.


AMANPOUR: Chrystia Freeland, welcome to the program.

FREELAND: Christiane, it's so nice to be back with you.

AMANPOUR: The world seems to have been shocked by the appointment of Boris Johnson, a notorious and infamous undiplomatic, gaffe-prone former

mayor of London. And he did spend much of his career rubbishing the E.U. as a journalist, you know, everything from faking the size and shape of

bananas to who was in charge and who wasn't in charge.

How do you think Europe goes ahead and negotiates with somebody who has really shoved it in their face so blatantly, just on sort of a

diplomatic level?

FREELAND: I think that it's really important for all of us, especially those of us who are outside Europe but are close to Britain and

are really friends with Europe -- and we are in Canada. We are just working right now towards the signing and the ratification of our own

excellent, gold standard free trade agreement with Europe.

I think we have to appreciate there is a lot of uncertainty, there are a lot of question marks in Europe and in Britain right now.

But as President Obama wrote in the "Financial Times," we really have confidence that, at the end of the day, Britain and Europe are going to

work things out.

And certainly speaking for Canada, we know we're going to have a great relationship with Britain and a great relationship with Europe for many,

many years to come.

AMANPOUR: You just mentioned the Canada free trade agreement with the E.U., right, with Europe.


AMANPOUR: It's taken multiple years and it's still not ratified.

Give us a sense of how difficult it has been for Canada, because, honestly, here, many people believe it will not be that difficult to

renegotiate a whole set of new trade deals to replace the single market in the E.U. Give us a reality check from your perspective.

FREELAND: We do have a lot of experience negotiating trade agreements. We are a trading nation; 60 percent of our GDP -- our trade

accounts for 60 percent of our GDP. So it's important. It's an area of core competence.

And what I can say is, especially in the 21st century, with economies being so complex, trade agreements do take a lot of time. We're working

really, really hard to get it signed this year; working hard to get it ratified early next year and coming into force.

But it also has a big political significance because this is a time in the world when a lot of things are coming apart. A lot of people are

talking about building walls. Canada believes in building bridges. And this is our contribution to that.

AMANPOUR: So let's get back to one of the things that was crucial in this Brexit debate and that is immigration, refugees, migration, whatever

anybody wants to talk it -- basically foreigners. And it sort of boils down to the Syria war.

I want to first ask you -- because Canada has shown itself to be willing to accept, you know, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees; Britain

hasn't; Europe is obviously struggling with how to divide up the refugees' sort of burden, if you like.

How does this all play into the politics in Europe and around the world today?

FREELAND: We recognized our government from day one, when we were still in opposition, that the Syrian refugee crisis was not just some sort

of local European problem. This is a global problem that we are seeing, having devastating global consequences and devastating human consequences.

And we believe in Canada, even though an ocean separates us from this problem, that we have a responsibility to do our share. We said we would

accept 25,000 Syrian refugees. We are now almost at 29,000.

And our minister of immigration has said he thinks we will get to between 35,000 and 50,000 by the end of this year.

And what I think is important for people watching this to understand is this is enjoying tremendous public support in Canada.

As a local constituency MP, the single biggest complaint that I get when I do my surgeries in my constituency is, where are my refugees?


AMANPOUR: That's really extraordinary.

How do you explain that?

What advice would Canada then give to, you know, politicians here?

And, by the way, even our new prime minister, who is a hardliner on immigration but even, you know, south of the border in the United States of

America, where this is all playing out in their presidential election as well, you must be looking at that as well.

FREELAND: I think it's important for people to understand like it's not -- there's not something in the Canadian air, in our beautiful

landscape that makes us immune to these tendencies.

We believe, as a society, as a government, that our multicultural society, our society, which is open and welcoming to immigrants of all

colors, of all religions, very much including Muslims, that that -- it makes Canada a great place. We think it's a competitive advantage.

My city of Toronto is now more than 50 percent foreign born. We think that makes it a great place to live and we think it's going to make us a

really strong economy. We believe our diversity is our strength. And, you know, I'm proud, as a Canadian minister, to stand for those values in the


AMANPOUR: When you look at the world right now with more and more women taking power and you look at Theresa May, becoming the prime minister

here -- maybe, maybe not she'll have 50-50 in her cabinet, we'll see.

How does that strike you, not just as a woman but in terms of GDP, in terms of health of the society?

Where do you see the society going?

FREELAND: You know, I think it's great. This is actually the first gender-balanced team I've ever worked on. It is terrific.

One of my colleagues, who was a cabinet minister in the Chretien and Martin government, we had a cabinet retreat. And he said one of the

differences between this cabinet and the previous ones is we don't have as much fighting and we don't have as much yelling and shouting. And I don't

understand why that is.

And I said, "Because it's 50 percent women."

You know, I travel a lot with the prime minister. I travel a lot myself. Every single country I go to, I have women -- especially sort of

younger members of the delegations of other countries, they come up to me, they give me a hug and they say, because it's 2015.

AMANPOUR: That's a great slogan. I mean it really -- it was a great slogan.

But from your perspective as certainly a financial journalist and now in trade, it's also healthy for communities, right?

Everybody talks about additional percentage points of GDP if you have gender parity.

FREELAND: For sure. There are tons and tons of studies showing that, when you have a significant female --


FREELAND: -- presence, usually the figure cited is you need about 30 percent on board. You have a board which is more effective and it actually

-- it improves corporate performance.

And, of course, women's participation in the labor force is a great economic driver. And you know, right now a big issue is people in the

middle class feeling pinched, feeling the middle class is hollowed out; a lot of that is because our economies are stagnant.

So if we can make it easier for women to participate in the economy, that is a huge boost to GDP.

AMANPOUR: And I cannot let you go without trying to get one more comment from you on Boris Johnson. And the reason I'm going to ask you

this, I'm going to play a little bit of an interview I did with him three years ago and I was asking him about his colorful speeches in public.

And I was saying, you went from a journalist to being a mayor and this is what he told me about his public speeches.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Sometimes I'm making a speech and I've just got to say something unbelievably dull but important.

And I see the audience looking at me, sort of waiting for me to say something amusing.

And at the end, I've said nothing and I feel that I've let them down. But you've got to fight that. You've got to have the wit to be dull.


AMANPOUR: He feels a bit like a performer, that people are expecting that.

FREELAND: Well, I think what -- I guess that was then-Mayor Johnson said -- is that sometimes politicians do have to be boring.

I am the trade minister. I have to talk about a lot -- I don't find it boring, I find trade fascinating -- but about a lot of very technical

trade issues. And it's different from your role and my former role, where, as a journalist you can be a provocateur. That's not my job as minister of


AMANPOUR: And not the job of mayor or foreign secretary.

Minister, welcome back to the program and thanks very much for being here.

FREELAND: It's great to be with you.


AMANPOUR: And up next, we go to the heart of the Syrian conflict, an exclusive look inside an Aleppo hospital, thanks to the efforts of one

Syrian American doctor. That's after this.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

The fallout from the five-year Syria war, the millions of refugees, has had a direct impact on European politics, as we've just heard.

And for Syrians themselves still trapped there, life is about to get much worse as rebel-held parts of Aleppo have been cut off by regime

forces, backed by Russian airpower.

Secretary of State John Kerry has just arrived in Moscow in yet another attempt to halt the war.

Meantime in Aleppo, food and medical equipment are in desperately short supply.

Tonight we bring you exclusive footage from inside one of Aleppo's bloody hospital wards, horrific scenes filmed by a Syrian American doctor,

who was so moved by the suffering in Syria that he left his hometown in Chicago to help. This report from CNN's Nima Elbagir is difficult to



ATTAR: The road smelled of rotten flesh, burnt metal and there were plumes of smoke from ordnance that had fallen previously.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Castello Road, the main supply route into Aleppo, it's known as the road of death.

ATTAR: And the driver was driving really fast. And at every moment you thought you might get hit by a bomb or a missile or a bullet.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Dr. Samer Attar is an American surgeon. We met with him in the Turkish border town of Hatay after his return from a

mission into Aleppo with the Syrian American Medical Society.

This is what Sam arrived to find. A pregnant woman had two children killed when a barrel bomb directly hit her house. A paralyzed child; he

too passed away soon after this picture was taken.

ATTAR: July 1, the market was hit. Later on, we learned about 25 people were killed but there were a lot more injured. And that's really

when all hell broke loose.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Amid the chaos, Dr. Attar did the best he could to document what he was seeing. Children crammed three to a bed, little

bodies wrapped in white shrouds, awaiting burial and, everywhere, blood.

Each day became a litany of the dead and the dying.

ATTAR: We had to stop doing CPR on a child that was severely injured in order to save someone else, who was bleeding to death, who we knew could

be saved.

ELBAGIR: And the child couldn't?

ATTAR: The child could have if we had had the personnel and the resources. But when you have that many people who are injured, you have to

make decisions on who you're going to save and who you have to leave behind.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): And even when you make the decision, there are no guarantees. This 8-year old arrived with his intestines spilling out of

a gaping wound. After hours of painstaking surgery, he survived only to succumb to shock days later.

And everywhere, Dr. Attar said, there was fear, the hospital itself a target of repeated bombardment.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, rights groups estimate hundreds of health care professionals have been killed in the volleys of

Syrian and Russian bombardment. Many doctors working today believe they were intentionally targeted.

ATTAR: If you destroy a hospital, destroy a school, destroy civilian infrastructure, you're sort of trying to take away hope from people. And

you destroy a hospital, you're not just killing the doctors and the patients in that hospital; you're killing all of the future patients that

could be treated in that hospital.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): But even here, there are moments of respite.

ATTAR: Right now, I'm living my worst nightmare, surrounded by all these screaming kids, who are trying to climb on top of me.

ELBAGIR: Did you have any sense over those days and nights how many patients you were seeing?

ATTAR: There were hundreds. And every day after July 1, every day kind of blurred together. It was just -- in the emergency room, it was

just one person after another, child after child after patient after patient. And you never -- you're so busy, you never really know who makes

it, who's alive, who's dead.

ELBAGIR: How did you feel when you crossed over?

Because you were -- you were the last car out of Aleppo.

How did that feel, looking back down the Castello Road and knowing that that's now closed?

ATTAR: You always leave a piece of yourself behind. You meet a remarkable group of people, you get to take care of a lot of people but you

always feel like you abandon them when you leave. So I feel a bit broken and empty.

ELBAGIR: Would you go back?

ATTAR: I would go back.

ELBAGIR: In spite of everything?

ATTAR: The way I see it, if there are Syrian colleagues of mine, who are doing it, and my life is not more important than theirs.


AMANPOUR: And that was CNN's Nima Elbagir reporting, who's joining me right now from the Turkish-Syrian border.

It's a really powerful story, Nima, and more powerful because we know that that hospital actually has targets. The regime knows its coordinates.

How does Dr. Samer keep up the courage?

ELBAGIR: Well, not just Dr. Samer -- as you saw, he was at real pains to constantly take it back to the Syrian doctors and nurses, who have

stayed on, who could have come out with him, who could have come out at any lull during that fighting but didn't.

We actually -- the day that we met Dr. Attar, we met a colleague of his, who had been at that hospital, a Syrian colleague, who was trying to

go back in, even though the Castello Road is closed to cars.

Christiane, he was attempting to walk back across the Turkish border to get into Aleppo, because they know, that without them, those 300,000-

400,000 people that have remained, that are trapped in Aleppo, they will essentially be without any help.

And as impossible as it is to imagine that situation that we saw depicted in those pictures and videos --


ELBAGIR: -- it has actually already gotten worse because the siege of Aleppo is beginning to bite and people are already beginning to search for

food, worry about fuel and worry about how long they can hold out -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Honestly, it's hard to imagine how it can get worse but it just does all the time.

I wonder what you made of President Assad's interview with NBC, in which he basically said that they're going to go for it and try to get

everything back and presumably tightening the siege on Aleppo is part of it. Obviously, they can't do it without Russian help.

ELBAGIR: And he made absolutely clear that Russia was a pillar. And when you think of where President Bashar al-Assad was last year at this

time and where he is now, he has never really been able to put together a comprehensive assault on Aleppo before.

And yet here we are, Aleppo besieged. So you really see how crucial the Russians are.

And it's only when you hear that testimony, those stories told via Dr. Samer Attar that you realize that, when Russia stands by Bashar al-Assad,

its culpability, because those hospitals that are being targeted, those medical health care that are being targeted, the medical health care

professionals are being targeted, that is a potential war crime.

And even Dr. Attar, in the little time that he was there, he witnessed missiles dropping just meters from the front door of a hospital that has

already been completely driven underground into a basement facility.

And then when you put in place a siege that cuts off crucial supplies, including fuel, fuel that runs the generator in that basement hospital,

then you continue to further endanger people's lives.

It is beyond indiscriminate and it is very difficult when you hear President Bashar al-Assad saying we couldn't do this without Russia. And

then you see these witness (INAUDIBLE) to doubt that the Russians are entirely unaware of what they are supporting here -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And again, just to go back to the hospital, you talk about the shortages; even medicine is short, obviously.

And what about the professionals there, who are kind of learning on the job the situation that's been forced on them?

ELBAGIR: Many of them actually weren't even doctors. Some of them were in medical school. But Dr. Attar had this one story, where he was

talking about what he would have been working with in his hospital, his beautiful hospital in Chicago, and then having to use home improvement

tools, having to use the kind of power drills that you use to hang up a picture or to fix a chair, using that on human bodies to try and piece them

back together and try to save them.

And beside him, instead of an anesthesiologist, who will have gone to university for four or five years, he's dealing with kids in their 20s. He

said even the janitor has learned how to pick up bodies and move them off the ground or move them to a safer space. And all the while, they don't

even know if the people that they're saving are actually -- have actually survived.

And Dr. Attar said often you're moving from patient to patient. You do what needs to be done. And all you know is I did what I could, I did

what I could but you don't know if that was enough in that moment.

AMANPOUR: Certainly he's done everything he possibly can and it is more than enough for those he's been able to treat. Thank you, Nima, for

bringing us the human story and reminding us that there is still so much humanity, despite the horror of what's going on there.

And next we turn, thankfully, to something completely different.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): Everybody knows the pop icon David Bowie had a voice but who knew that he had great eyes as well?

That would be a great eye for art.

We'll explain after this.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, seven months since the death of David Bowie, imagine a world once again enthralled by Ziggy Stardust. As it

turns out, the Thin White Duke put his haunting eyes to good use offstage.

Today, Sotheby's revealed his dazzling art collection to the world in the run-up to selling them at auction in November.

Now these works have never been seen publicly but the 400 or so pieces are expected to rake in more than $13 million. The collection covers

surrealist works, contemporary African art, outsider art, with hundreds of works by towering figures from the British art scene as well, like Henry

Moore, Damien Hearst and Stanley Spencer.

And in keeping with the man himself, Sotheby's says the art possesses an unparalleled eclecticism. The finer parts of the collection will go on

a world tour, passing through Los Angeles, Hong Kong and New York before returning here to be sold in London.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.