Return to Transcripts main page


Qatari Foreign Minister Responds to Demands; Former Australian PM: Education Key to Growth; Simone Veil Laid to Rest. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 5, 2017 - 14:00   ET


Byline: Christiane Amanpour>


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, my interview with Qatar's foreign minister as the deadline expires for it to accept a list of demands by

Saudi Arabia and its allies, or else. But the minister tells me that is aggressive and insulting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not going to comply with anything against the international law. We are not going to have something which would just

signal out others.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard on education for all on misogyny and on those Trump tweets.

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

Tonight, the U.S. president is making his second international trip to Europe, only six weeks after his first. And what a difference those six

weeks make.

The world is now facing two severe crises to global security. First, North Korea's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile has shocked world

leaders, including Russia and Beijing.

Meanwhile, Qatar's diplomatic isolation by four of its neighbors continues to threaten stability in the Middle East.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have met in Cairo. And they say that Qatar has given a negative response to their

13-point ultimatum.

The quartet of Arab nations accused Qatar of funding terrorism and destabilizing the region. Yet a report by the UK's respected, conservative

think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, just out today, says that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of funding extremism here in the UK.

Earlier, I spoke to the Qatari foreign minister to get the latest on the boycott of his nation.


AMANPOUR: Foreign minister, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: What is Qatar's response to these demands?

AL THANI: Mainly, if you are looking at the demands, there are accusations that Qatar is supporting terrorism. They are shutting free speech,

shutting the media out, expelling people, oppositions, violating the international law by withdrawing citizenship from some of the people and

back home. So there are a lot of demands which are against the international law.

AMANPOUR: And are you saying you're not going to comply?

AL THANI: We are not going to comply with anything against the international law. We are not going to have something which just signals

out other. And if any situation will be provided, it should be provided for the entire.

AMANPOUR: Is there any of the demands that you see has any room for compromise, for negotiation, for you accepting the demand? Shutting Al


AL THANI: Shutting Al Jazeera. This is something out of the question.

AMANPOUR: Throwing out the Turks -- Turkish base.

AL THANI: You can ask me the demands one by one. But let me tell you that any issue of touching the sovereignty of the country, we are not going to


AMANPOUR: You have called this the siege, a clear aggression and an insult. Is that what you feel about what's happened?

AL THANI: It is an aggression. It is an act of aggression and insult for any independent country, for any sovereign country. When you are imposing

a blockade, a political blockade, economic blockade and the social blockade on an independent country, it is an act of aggression.

They accused Qatar that Qatar has a special relation with Iran, as an example. And they never imposed any of these measures against Iran from

the other hand.

So it is an act of aggression against the country for different reasons, not because of Iran.

AMANPOUR: You were accused by the UAE and others of funding extremism abroad including here in the UK.

So a very direct question. Can you categorically state that no Qatari money comes here to fund hate-preachers or any kind of terrorist


AL THANI: Well, just let me -- I just want to -- about the funds of Qatar, which is going outside Qatar to fund --

AMANPOUR: See, the problem is that that's a yes or no answer. Either Qatari funds are going to terrorist organizations or they're not.

AL THANI: They are not going to terrorist organizations. And if there is any Qatari who is involved in financing any terrorist organization, he will

be held accountable for the wrongdoing he has done. And there are a few individual cases who are already in trial and some of them are convicted


AMANPOUR: And you think they're going to any hate preachers here? You know, we have a lot of problems in Britain, as you have seen.

AL THANI: Our -- if there is any charity, which operates under Qatar government system, they have to comply with the government system of the

beneficiary country when they are operating there.

[14:05:10] So if there is any violation, it should be reported. And Qatar will take an action against them. We are against any hate preacher,

whether it's in Qatar or outside Qatar. We believe that the world is suffering from terrorism, and all of us, we are -- we have to work together

collectively in eradicating this.

AMANPOUR: How do you square the following circle? When I spoke to your Amir at the U.N. a few years ago, he was saying that we don't support

terrorist organizations. But we and some of our allies and some of our neighbors may have different definitions of what different things are.

AL THANI: I know that in America, in some countries, they look at some movements as terrorist movements. But there are differences. There are

differences that some countries and some people that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorist. And we don't accept that.

AMANPOUR: Is that still your position?

AL THANI: It is our position, as long as the terrorist is not defined as terrorist organization within the United Nation's Security Council. Or

there is no proof that this organization is involved in violence.

If there are political organizations with Islamic background, we have no problem. Or we have not designated them as terrorist organizations. But

we have nothing to do to support them as political organizations, as long as they are operating outside Qatar.

AMANPOUR: So what about Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, by the United States, and, you know, leaders like

Khaled Mashal are in Qatar.

AL THANI: Hamas representation and Qatar is a political office. It's not any military presentation there in Qatar. The political leadership of

Hamas now, they are insiders. They are not -- there are some in Qatar, yes, but the ones who are on Qatar, they are involved in the national

constellation which is Qatar working and facilitating.

And it is also endorsed by the international community and also in coordination with the United States. Qatar's support doesn't go to Hamas.

Their support goes to the people. And if we are going to provide a platform for any of the movement, it doesn't mean that we are -- we are

endorsing their ideas.

It's a matter of engagement -- of a platform provided for engagement in order to facilitate for peace talks or to be helpful in contributing to the


AMANPOUR: And the Muslim brotherhood, obviously they are not designated to a terrorist group by all countries. But some -- Egypt thinks it's a

terrorist organization.

AL THANI: Egypt, they are designating them as terrorist organization. They have to treat them -- they are treating them in Egypt as terrorist

organization. But for me and Qatar, they are not designated as terrorist organization.

And Qatar doesn't sponsor the Muslim brotherhood or it doesn't have a presence of the Muslim brotherhood. Muslim brotherhood are a political

movement which operates Bahrain, which is one of the blockading country, and they are designating them as part of their demands.

Now, a terrorist organization, why they are operating in the political -- in the parliament there in Bahrain, which shows you the double standard in


AMANPOUR: And al-Nusra? Remember the very famous case when Qatar fortunately was able to get an American, a journalist out of captivity, and

you dealt with al-Nusra to get them out.

AL THANI: Dealing with al-Nurse, engaging as I told you, engaging with any organization doesn't mean endorsing their ideas. And for us as Qatar, we

have facilitators to facilitate this. We don't have direct interaction with them.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the President Trump and the administration are contributing to this crisis, or can they play a mediating role?

AL THANI: Well, U.S. and Qatar relationship has been very strong, and they are playing a strong role in this. So the U.S. government is highly

involved in this conflict. And there are also several steps being taken by them, which forced the blockading countries to submit their demands. So

there is a role for the U.S. in mediating in this.

AMANPOUR: I wonder what you think of President Trump who tweeted, "During my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated there can no longer be funding

of radical ideology.

Leaders pointed to Qatar, look, did Trump's visit encourage this move by the Saudis?

AL THANI: First off, President Trump's tweet here -- he is being told by leaders, leaders who imposed the blockade against Qatar. He didn't refer

to the agencies of the United States, which we have -- everyone has followed the statements of the Department of Defense, or the State

Department and the appreciation of their relationship with Qatar and Qatar contribution to countering terrorism.

[14:10:00] So the difference of the U.S. government agencies and the institution which has a long lasting relationship with the state of Qatar,

they know very well the activity of Qatar and the way -- how cooperative Qatar is with the United States.

AMANPOUR: So you must have thought it was sort of a knife to the heart when at first Secretary Tillerson appeared to want to play a mediating

role, and very shortly thereafter, President Trump doubled down against Qatar.

AL THANI: The president, when he tweeted, when he referred to --

AMANPOUR: Was in the rose garden.

AL THANI: A foreign leader, or he has -- his speech -- he is delivering his speech, and he's referring to a foreign leader, not to agencies. We

take what's coming out from the agencies and whom agencies we are dealing with.

President Trump has talked to Qatar's Emir. And in his calls, he was always insisting that these needs to be solved, this crisis, we agree,

cannot afford any further escalation. And we believe this is the position of the United States.

AMANPOUR: And just finally, I mean, what do you think is the real reason for all of this?

AL THANI: Well, we believe that Qatar's independence and its policy may be a sort of driving force for this. Qatar policy, first of all, had been

always independent, different view, yes, but never affected the collective security of the countries.

It's never been -- meant to be affecting the collective security of the Gulf countries. And we don't want to compromise any of the Gulf countries'

security, because we have a sequence of Qatar.

So Qatar has been more progressive in different fronts than the other countries. Maybe this is one of the motives. And I believe mainly that

small countries punching over its weight as you have mentioned is something annoying for big countries. And this is not a reflection -- but what Qatar

is doing is not punching over its weight. Qatar is an active player in the international forum, using the international mechanism clearly and visibly

with full transparency in front of everyone. And we are trying to bring people together.

We are trying to make peace in the world, not to create wars in the world. We are trying to solve the problems by diplomacy and providing a platform.

And this is a unique role big countries cannot play. Small countries can do.

AMANPOUR: Foreign minister, thank you very much for joining me.

AL THANI: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And as this crisis is bound to play out in the region, we move from some of those rich countries to some of the worlds poorest.

Australia's first female prime minister Julia Gillard joins me, next, to talk about how her new ally, the pop superstar Rihanna is helping put

pressure for quality education for all on G20 leaders with tweets like these. That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Making globalization work for everyone is one of the key themes of this week's G20 summit in Hamburg. And today, the German chancellor, Angela

Merkel, criticized the Trump administration for in turn criticizing globalization.

My next guest says that investing in quality education for all is essential if G20 leaders are really serious about sustainable growth. And in her

role as chair of the global partnership for education, the former prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, recently joined forces with Rihanna

and traveled to Malawi with the singer to advocate for better education.

Julia Gillard is now in Hamburg and she is joining me now.

Well, she was joining me, but we have technological problems.

And we are going to take a break. And we'll be back once we get this gremlin sorted out.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back. And the technology gremlins have kicked in, and restored our coms with Hamburg, where we find the former Australian Prime

Minister Julia Gillard on the sidelines of the G20 summit in her role as the chair of the global partnership for education.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.

And I do want to start by asking you about your trip to Malawi with Rihanna. She's been very profuse in her tweets.

What are you trying to do?

JULIA GILLARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: What we're trying to do is ensure that every child in the world gets a great quality education.

And as this G20 meets, we know that there are 263 million children of school age who aren't in school.

And if we stay on this course, what we're going to see is a world where prosperity can't be shared and a world of more instability. So Rihanna has

stepped forward to help us highlight that challenge, and we're asking G20 leaders to do the same thing. To step forward and to increase foreign aid

and support for education.

AMANPOUR: So are you basically -- is this sort of an implicit criticism? Because it is not high up on the agenda of the G20 summit. And you --

well, yes, I mean, it's not high up.

GILLARD: I can understand that leaders entries in the modern world are bulging. There are plenty issues to come before the G20. Plenty of

flashpoint problems in our world for leaders to think about. But my message would be unless this G20 summit also thinks about these long-term

problems and aspirations for peace, for prosperity, for growth are really on shaky ground.

And it is distressing to me to see that even in an environment where overseas aid is increasing and in recent years it has increased, we see aid

to education going backwards.

We can change that picture. We can make a difference. And that can start right here at the G20.

AMANPOUR: Well, I want to ask you about who you look to for leadership. Because you have gone straight to Canada, and not to the United States for

help in pushing this agenda and providing the kinds of funds and leadership.

You know, just before we came to you, we were speaking to the Qatari foreign minister, and he told me that when we listen to the U.S.

administration, it's to the agencies. It's to the -- you know, the State Department, not necessarily to the president's tweets.

We've had the vice president of Iraq talk about the United States surrendering its global leadership.

I mean, it just goes on and on.

Do you feel that way, as well? That you need to go around the U.S. to get some of this leadership, for instance, in your area?

GILLARD: We feel that we've got to be asking the whole world to step up. The global partnership for education is the only global organization solely

focused on school education.

The U.S. in recent times has stepped up its contribution to GPE. But we need everybody to make a much greater contribution if we are to fully

replenish our funds.

We're asking the world for $3.1 billion, which when you look at the size of the global economy is not that much. But it would make a profound

difference to the possibilities of children in countries like Malawi getting a great quality education. And GPE is at work in almost 89

countries around the world.

So much to do. We are advocating to all G20 leaders that they help us carry this agenda forward.

AMANPOUR: So what would you say to the U.S. if you were at the table, which -- I mean, Malawi is in Africa. And the U.S. aid is being cut, and

it's very much business as opposed to humanitarian, at least as it's going forward.

What would you say to the president if you met him?

GILLARD: If I had the opportunity to say anything to President Trump, I would be echoing the advice given to him by the national security

community. And they made the point that really it's, you know, America's long-term security interests to see development across Africa and indeed

around the world.

And I think standing here in Europe that has seen so much people movement and is obviously concerned about security issues, I would make the same

point. We need to make sure that people across Africa and in developing nations around the world can see a hope for the future, and that hope

starts by them knowing that their children will get an education.

AMANPOUR: And, obviously, the education of girls as well as boys is fundamental to this and fundamental to growth and the success of


So at this point, I need to play a little bit of your immortal -- your immortal statement to the Australian parliament on the issue of misogyny

when you were prime minister.


GILLARD: I was offended when the leader of the opposition went outside in the front of parliament and stood next to a sign that said "Ditch the

witch." I was offended when the leader of the opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a "Man's pitch." I was offended by those things.

Misogyny, sexism, every day from this leader of the opposition. Every day in every way, across the time, the leader of the opposition has sat in that

chair and I've sat in this chair. That is all we have heard from him.


AMANPOUR: I can never get enough of that. And then it went viral, of course, as you remember.

But Hillary Clinton, I spoke to after her defeat, and she said that she felt misogyny played a big role in that, as well as other things.

And, you know, the issue of girls trying to get an equal leg up. I guess I need to ask you about President Trump, and his misogynistic views and

speeches, sometimes in tweets.

Again, what would you say, and how much of an impact do you think that actually has?

GILLARD: I think this issue of gender discrimination is alive and well around the planet. I think it did play a role in the U.S. election, and I

think it continues to play a role in politics in many western democracies. But I'm also conscious as you and I are having this conversation that

whilst we could have an animated discussion about women and leadership and gender discrimination, for so many girls around the world, it actually is a

much more basic struggle and challenge and that is the right to go to school.

We know if we can keep girls in school, that they are much more likely to marry later, to have fewer children. They're much less likely to get

HIV/AIDS. When they do have children, their children are much more likely to go to school, much more likely to survive infanthood. And so the list

goes on about how powerful girls' education is.

And you would expect me to say as someone who has devoted much of their life for fighting women's equal rights and feminism, that it's every girl's

right to get an education and to shape her own destiny.

AMANPOUR: And what about every child's right to be safe and to have control over their own body? I ask, because as you know, the Cardinal Pell


[14:25:00] As PM in Australia, you launched an investigation into child sexual abuse in the church. And now Cardinal Pell has recently been

charged with multiple counts of historic sexual assault offences.

I mean, what does it say about -- can the Catholic Church survive this? And what does it say about trying to protect children?

GILLARD: When I was prime minister, I was certainly heartbroken to hear the stories that were coming forward about child sexual abuse in many

institutions, including in the Catholic Church.

And that's why I launched the royal commission, because I wanted our nation to learn how we could keep children safer. Now it's not proper for me to

comment on any individual legal matter, but I'm very confident when the royal commission delivers its findings at the end of the year that we will

know for the future what we should do to keep children safer.

And because this is a problem shared by so many other countries around the world, I actually think when the Australian Royal Commission speaks, what

it says will have reverberations much more broadly than our own country.

AMANPOUR: Let's hope so.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, thank you so much for joining me from Hamburg.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, a great woman is laid to rest in France. And we imagine her extraordinary life now.

The singulist Simone Veil, a champion for women, a beacon for Europe and a tireless humanist, whose own compassion was born of her plight and that of

her fellow Jews across Europe during World War II.

Veil was just 16 when she was arrested by the Germans and deported with her sister and her mother to Auschwitz. Her mother died in the camps just

weeks before liberation.

In 1975, Simone Veil became France's second-ever female cabinet minister and soon afterwards she entered the European parliament where once again

she rose, becoming the first president of the elected European parliament in 1979.

Towards the end of her life, she worked to honor the victims of the holocaust and all caught up in modern day genocides. And today France's

President Emmanuel Macron spoke at her funeral.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): It is not only the nation that is paying you homage on this day of mourning. It is the whole

of Europe that is here paying tribute to your struggles. And as you leave us, please accept the immense gratitude of the French people to one of its

beloved children, whose example will never leave us.


AMANPOUR: And Simone Veil gets a rare honor in death. She is to be buried in France's historic Pantheon. It's a place reserved for, quote, "The

great men of the nation." A trail blazer even beyond the grave. She is the only -- she's only the fifth woman buried there, alongside French

luminaries like Voltaire and Marie Curry.

That's it for our program tonight.

Remember, you can listen to our podcast anytime and see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.