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Qatari Prime Minister Response To Saudi Arabia Demands; Former U.N. Climate Chief Looks Ahead To The G20 Summit Expecting To Focus On The Paris Climate Deal; French Lady Simone Veil Death. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired July 7, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:01:05] ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hell, I'm Robyn Kriel. This is CNN News now. Anti-G20 protests rage in Hamburg, Germany for a second
straight evening. And tonight, you're looking at live pictures where there's 11 (INAUDIBLE) at night there.
Demonstrations torched cars, fired flares at helicopters and smashed windows as offices masked on access roads and used water cannon. Local
police had to request reinforcements from other parts of Germany. Again, those are live pictures of police massing at various points across Hamburg
as well as (INAUDIBLE).
Well at the summit, the first face-to-face meeting between the U.S. and Russian president, Friday, put longer than expected. Official say that
President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin just discussed cyber security, terrorism, Ukraine and allegations with Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S.
presidential election. That is your CNN News now. Stay tune. Amanpour is next.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, my interview with Qatar's foreign minister. This week, the deadline caused demands by Saudi Arabia
and its allies, but the minister tells me that live is aggressive and insulting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL THANI, QATAR FOREIGN MINISTER: We are not going to comply with anything against the international law. We are not
going to have something which just signaling out Qatar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, the former U.N. Climate Chief Christiana Figueres tells me why she thinks Donald Trump maybe cutting off his nose to spite
(ph) his face.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Donald Trump has been attending the G20 summit and his second international trip in six weeks. The last one included a visit to Saudi
Arabia and told with almost all the regional leaders. Since then, a huge divide has emerged amongst U.S. allies.
Qatar is being diplomatically isolated by four of its neighbors and they now threaten the stability of the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia, the
UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt say they'll continue to hold Qatar on an economic blacklist saying that Doha gave "a negative response to their 13 point
ultimatum." The quartets of Arab nations accused Qatar of funding terrorism and destabilizing the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was disappointing, but the response from Qatar was totally is void of any substance and it was a denial of taking any steps or
measures that would respond to the region (ph) and its requests of the four countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Yet in new report by the U.K.'s respected conservative think tank, the Henry Jackson Society says Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of
funding extremism here in Britain. I spoke to the Qatari Foreign Minister here in London for the latest on where this standoff will lead.
AMANPOUR: Foreign minister, welcome to the program.
AL THANI: Thank you very much.
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. There are shutting free speech,
shutting the media outlet, expelling people, oppositions, violating the international law by withdrawing citizenship from some of the people and
return them 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 signaling
out Qatar. And if any situation will be provided, it should be provided for the entire.
[00:05:10] 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 U.K. So a very direct question, can you
categorically state that no Qatari money comes here to fund hate-preachers or any kind of terrorist organizations?
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 a 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.
So if there is any violation, it should be reported and the 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 and 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 terrorists 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 designate them -- designating 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
Qatar's support doesn't go to Hamas. Their support goes to the people (INAUDIBLE). And if we are going to provide a platform for any of the
movement, it doesn't mean that 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 peace.
AMANPOUR: And the Muslim Brotherhood, obviously they are not designated to terrorist group by all countries. But some -- Egypt thinks it's a
[00:10:01] 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 in 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 this.
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-Nusra, 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 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 of Qatar and Qatar contribution to countering terrorism.
So the differences 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: Within 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 his agencies.
We take what's coming out from the agencies and whom the agencies we are dealing with.
President Trump has talked to (INAUDIBLE) Emir. And in his calls, he was always insisting that these needs to be solved, this crisis. We agree we
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 it's a sort of driving force for this. Qatar policy, first of all, had
been always independent, different view, yes, but it doesn't -- it never affected the collective security of the Gulf countries. And 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 when we come back, President Trump has already beneath with climate protesters in Warsaw. Next, I talk to the woman who led the Paris
climate deal. Christiana Figueres on only three years that we have left to hope dangerous levels of climate change.
[00:16:41] AMANPOUR: Welcome back the program. President Trump decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal puts him at odds with most of the
G20 leaders, including China and India who are resolved to defend it.
And in Warsaw, President Trump this week was greeted by this Greenpeace sign, "Trump, no, Paris, yes". The German Chancellor Angela Merkel made
climate central of the summit. She has been hosting this weekend in Hamburg.
Right after the G7 last months, Trump said the U.S. would pull out, which lead the former U.N. Climate Chief Christiana Figueres to call that a
vacuous political melodrama. She explained why she stills an optimist even if America wants to surrender its global leadership role that's when she
was joining me here in the studio.
AMANPOUR: Christiana Figueres, welcome back to the program.
CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, FORMER UN CLIMATE CHIEF: Thank you very much for the invitation.
AMANPOUR: Here we go. G20, coming up, and the G7 apparently was a disaster for the climates because of President Trump's saying he's going to
pull the U.S. out. How seriously do you take that?
FIGUERES: Well, I don't think it was a disaster for the climate because the G6 did come to an agreement on it with the United States reserving its
rights to not sign on, which is predictable, right? I think that is consequential from the White House announcement.
Now, the question is what is going to happen at the G20 because here we have not just the industrialized countries, but we have the leading
developing countries as well. And that's a big question.
So, you know, one possibility is that there would be movement forward without the United States. Another possibility is that there may be let's
say somewhat more timid statement coming out because of the interest to get this United States on board.
AMANPOUR: You had said after -- right after Donald Trump did this, that it's about politics, it's a vacuous political melodrama. Is the community
not taking it seriously? In other words, do you think it's just words or could it have an effect?
FIGUERES: I think that what we're beginning to see and we may see it also at the G20 is the beginning of let's say a dissonance between the political
discourse on one hand that is being to a certain extent defined by the United States and the real economy.
And so, that dissonance is possible that over the next three years or so, we may see that dissonance or that gap grow. But what is important to
understand about that gap is that just because the political discourse is stuck some place doesn't mean that the real economy is not moving forward.
In fact, I think the most important shift that has occurred in climate is that we are beyond politics and ideology. We are into the real economy.
We are into the technologies. We are into the prices. We are into the market forces. And that is why I think many people are saying, well, we
will, you know, it's OK whatever happens in politics. The fact is where the exponential progress is occurring is in the real economy and that's the
one that really counts.
AMANPOUR: And that's what a lot of business people are betting on, even people like obviously Mayor Bloomberg. I mean, one of the world's most
successful entrepreneurs and many others.
But I just want to know what materially it means if the biggest polluter in the world, the biggest power in the world, United States, actually pulls
out? And none other than, you know, Stephen Hawking was interviewed. He does rare interviews. This is what he said about Trump pulling out of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[00:20:04] STEPHEN HAWKING, THEORETICAL PHYSICIST: We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action
could push the earth over the brink to become like Venus with a temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulphuric acid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, it's pretty alarming. Amazing scientist. It is stark. I mean, raining sulphuric acid. Temperatures as high as Venus. Why are you
not more alarmed?
FIGUERES: Because I think that that statement would be correct if the entire world were to follow the direction that has been suggested by the
White House. But the fact is that that is not the case.
The fact is as I said the real economy and so many of the stakeholders who really are so much closer to the action. So mayors, governors, CEOs,
investors, they are much, much closer to the action and they have come forward before and after the White House announcement to say they're still
in, because they understand that this is good for them.
They're not there. Let's be very clear, Christiane. They are not there pushing on the decarbonization of the global economy because necessarily
they want to save the planet from becoming, you know, a Venus. They're there because they understand it's good for their bottom line and that's
the strength of this. We're not choosing between saving the planet and strengthening the economy. Actually, those two imperatives coincide.
AMANPOUR: Actually, polls are showing that a rapidly developing majority of ordinary Republicans, ordinary voters are on board with the climate --
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And that's really, what, including Republicans. That's very, very important.
FIGUERES: Including Republicans.
AMANPOUR: However, not Republican leaders as I was saying, at least not many of them. Scott Pruitt, President Trump's EPA Chief is really trying
to sort of whittle away at this. And in fact he's got some new conference coming up, where he is going to once again try to open the book on climate
FIGUERES: Yes. I mean, obviously you could attempt to deny the science of gravity but it doesn't really diminish the gravitational pull on you or on
me. So, you know, I mean, if that's what you want to do, well, bless you. But the fact is I think that our use of time is much better in trying to
figure out what is the insurance policy that we have, right?
We don't get on a plane. We don't get on any situation that is in the least bit risky without having an insurance. What we're talking about is
this is the insurance policy that the planet needs and in the long-term. And in the short-term it brings jobs, it gives us better energy
independence, it gives us better food security. I mean, it is honestly absolutely the best thing.
The best evidence is India, OK, because everybody thought, OK, India is going to lag behind. No. India has come forward and they have said, you
know what, under Paris, we put in a pledge that we would be at 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Now, because solar is cheaper in India than coal, now India has upped up its predictions and they are saying, we're going to be not at 40 percent,
but at 60 percent renewable. And by the way, not by 2030, but three years earlier, 2027.
AMANPOUR: And China?
FIGUERES: And China, closing coal plants, putting on, you know, more electric zero emission electric vehicles than anyone else, 5 million over
the next three years, investing in a huge charging station infrastructure in China and really moving forward.
In fact, even intellectually and from clinical (ph) point of view really contributing to the developing practice of green finance, because they
understand that this is their competitive edge.
AMANPOUR: Just, you know, sort of an atmospheric sort of situation. What's it say to you, I mean, to all of us, when the biggest, most
developed, most technologically proficient country in the history of the world, the United States, is a flat earth society?
FIGUERES: Yes. And I think it's sad. Honestly, I think it's very sad and it's of concern for the U.S. economy because it is really cutting off their
nose despite their face. It is closing the door to the creation of many jobs. It is closing the door to developing the technologies so that they
can export the technologies of this century.
Nobody wants to buy the technologies of last century, right? It is the technologies of this century. And so it really is a hamper on economic
growth in the United States. And I think that that's very sad.
AMANPOUR: It won't make America great again.
FIGUERES: It is definitely not going to make the United States great again. Definitely not, no. America is a continent and America is great.
AMANPOUR: Well, thank you for reminding me, Ms. Figueres of Costa Rica. Thanks so much.
FIGUERES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And next, imagining the grace, strength and indelible legacy that a great French lady, Simone Veil, left on her nation and on her
[00:26:41] AMANPOUR: And finally, a great woman was laid to rest in France this week and we imagine her extraordinary life. The Senegalese Simone
Veil, a champion for women, a beacon for Europe, and a tireless humanist whose own compassion was born from her applied (ph) and that of her fellow
Jews across Europe in World War II.
Veil was just 16 when she was arrested by the Gestapo and deported with her sister and her mother to Auschwitz. Her mother died in the camps just
weeks before liberation. In 1975, Veil become France's second ever female cabinet member and soon after she entered the European Parliament were once
again she rose up to become the first president of the elected European Parliament, that was in 1979.
And near the end of her life, she worked to honor the victims of the Holocaust and all of those caught up in 21st-century genocides. France's
President Emmanuel Macron spoke at her funeral on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translation): It is not only the nation that is paying you honor (ph) 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 the French people, one of his
beloved children whose example will never leave us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Simone Veil received the rare honor in death. She is to be buried in France's historic Pantheon, a place reserved for the great men of
the nation, a trailblazer even beyond the grave. She is only the fifth woman buried there, alongside French luminaries like Voltaire and Marie
That is it for a program tonight. And remember, you can listen to our podcast anytime. You can see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.