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Interview with Jeffrey Feltman. Maltese Journalist's Son Seeks Justice. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 23, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Tonight, days before that historic summit between the two Koreas, the UN Political Affairs Chief
Jeffrey Feltman steps down and joins me for his first exclusive interview on all that he's seen including high-level meetings inside North Korea.
Also ahead, a top investigative journalist assassinated in Europe. He talk to her sons vowing to get justice and keep her extraordinary work alive.
Matthew and Paul Caruana Galizia tell me about their fearless mother and the Daphne project.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Preparations are ramping up just days before the leaders of North and South Korea meet on Friday. South Korea has now stopped broadcasting propaganda
via loudspeakers along the border and the North's leader Kim Jong-un says that his country no longer needs nuclear tests and will close an atomic
The historic summit will precede an even more highly anticipated meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump, who over the weekend rejected the
claims that he had made any concessions to Pyongyang, tweeting "We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea. Maybe things will work out and
maybe they won't. Only time will tell. But the work I'm doing now should have been done a long time ago."
Well, joining me now perhaps to manage expectations is Jeffrey Feltman. As UN undersecretary general for political affairs, he became the highest-
level UN official to meet with the leadership in Pyongyang in seven years. That was in December and Jeffrey Feltman joins me now.
Welcome to the program.
JEFFREY FELTMAN, FORMER UN UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Thank you very much, Christiane. I'm happy to be here.
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, I actually sort of said that perhaps you're here to manage expectations. So, what do you think can be the maximum we can
expect, first, from the summit meeting on Friday between the leaders of the two Koreas?
FELTMAN: I think that the meeting on Friday should be seen in two contexts. One is the inter-Korean relationship itself, where President
Moon Jae-in of South Korea - Republic of Korea has made it clear that he wants to reduce the risk of war, he wants to try to improve the
relationship, but I don't think he's going into this naively.
I think he understands that denuclearization is key not only for the United States, but also for his ability to move forward.
The secondary, of course, is it will be seen naturally as a preparatory meeting for the potential of a summit meeting between President Trump and
Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.
AMANPOUR: Also, you were there in December. And we interviewed you when you came back. You were rightly quite sort of - you weren't going to play
your cards and sort of predict what might happen.
And at that time, there was a lot of stress and tension between the United States and between North Korea, between North Korea and South Korea. All
these words and rhetoric that was being flung around.
So, do you in the intervening months think that Kim Jong-un has actually made quite a hard turn to a more manageable rhetoric at least, saying that
he'll suspend nuclear tests and ballistic missiles test. He's not wedded to keeping - getting American forces out of the peninsula. How do you read
FELTMAN: I don't think any of us really know what's going on at the most senior levels and certainly none of us know what's going on in the mind of
What I can say is that where we are now, I think, is an inherently better situation than we were just a few months ago.
If you think back to September when the sixth nuclear test had been launched by the North Koreas and the North Koreans claimed this was the
hydrogen bomb; you had a ballistic missile flying over Japan in September; November 29, the intercontinental ballistic missile launched on the high
trajectory, but made it clear that the technology was there to hit the continental United States, we're in a much better situation now for the
mere fact that the talk about dialogue has led to a suspension of the nuclear and missile testing of the DPRK.
I think most experts would agree that the DPRK, for all of its rhetoric, had not mastered the full cycle, the full reentry cycle.
[14:05:01] And so, I look at the suspension of these tests not as in and of themselves, but as an improvement over the environment that we had in
September, October and November last year.
AMANPOUR: And in December, I mean, you did say that it had been the most important mission of your career. But you also say, when you returned, you
had a - the lack of communications had with it sort of a high risk of some kind of miscalculation.
So, I guess, the question now is, do we think going into these talks, with all this talk about willingness to denuclearize that both sides are
speaking from the same coin, in other words?
Do they both see denuclearization in the same way, both the US and North Korea? Or North and South Korea?
FELTMAN: I don't think we know if the two sides are speaking the same language when they talked about denuclearization.
And I think that this is going to be a very, very difficult subject for them to address. There are international agreements, international
mechanisms for things like monitoring the end of nuclear testing.
There's international agreements on how you would monitor the elimination, the destruction of fissile material or of shutting down plants.
But look at the other things that North Korea has. They have scientists who have knowledge. We know that there's been issues of proliferation.
How do you deal with the fact that you can't just erase the type of knowledge that's there.
So, I suspect these are going to be very, very difficult talks. I think that what one can hope is that coming out of the these dual summits is a
sort of an agreement on principles and a fairly short timetable that would allow people to judge whether or not verifiable steps toward
denuclearization and verifiable steps toward the regional peace and security issues that Kim Jong-un says are his interests are, in fact,
achievable are being met.
AMANPOUR: And President Trump, among the other things he tweeted was that I'm doing things that should've been done many, many years ago.
But, again, to be fair, many presidents did try to approach North Korea and did try to defuse the tensions. And, in fact, even President Obama
suggested that he would meet with Kim Jong-un, like he said about the Iranian president before there was the nuclear deal.
So, what has President Trump done, do you think, different than his predecessors and is his approach working?
FELTMAN: Well, I think that President Trump goes into this summit from a position of strength. It's not his own creation. It's the creation of
successive administrations, but has come to a head with the Trump administration.
You have multiple Security Council resolutions that have increased the pressure on North Korea. That the Trump administration has been able to
show that whatever the international community thinks about some of the Trump administration policies, they agree that nuclear non-proliferation is
an important goal.
So, he goes in with this sense, a resolve that's reflected by those security council resolutions and the growing implementation of the
When I was there in December, one of the strongest talking points that I had as a UN official was talking about the fact that this was - the problem
with North Korea was not simply a Washington-Pyongyang problem or a Tokyo or a Seoul problem, but the problem with North Korea's nuclear program, its
missile program was something international.
And the sanctions resolutions were the reinforcement of that point. And so, what is different is President Trump has been able to show that the
sanctions can be implemented by all, including China.
AMANPOUR: Well, sanctions were implemented - if we roll back the clock in Iran and that was a big, big, I suppose, impetus for that set of
negotiations to happen.
President Macron of France has just arrived in the United States and he's being treated to the first state visit by President Trump. That's a full
year in office. President Macron will be the first. We can see him and his wife getting off their plane.
But particularly in view of the Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump doesn't like nor do his top officials, what do you think President Macron
should tell the president and what are the chances of him persuading the president to stay in that deal, especially ahead of his North Korea talks?
FELTMAN: I think President Macron will be talking with President Trump at three levels. One is as the bilateral partner, France-United States have a
long historical relationship. We all know that.
But the second is as a leading member of the of the European Union. The Trump administration doesn't seem to have spent a whole lot of time
thinking about or cultivating the relationship with the EU as a whole.
[14:15:07] France - if I were President Macron, I would make it clear that France is a key to keeping the European Union onboard for sanctions,
onboard for enforcement of international agreements, onboard for whatever the verification mechanisms that are needed for Iran or North Korea and to
keep the EU onboard for the policy on Syria.
The third area that France, of course, is key is the Security Council. And I don't think, again, that we would see the type of diplomacy proposed on
North Korea if there hadn't been such strong Security Council unity.
So, France bilaterally, as a European partner and as a Security Council permanent member is extremely important to the Trump administration's
ability to achieve its goals.
AMANPOUR: So, we have 1 minute left and I want to ask you about the Security Council and Syria. You called the Syria debacle perhaps the most
tragic example of the failure of the international community. Member states have simply failed.
What again in the fact - in the aftermath of launching those strikes on the chemical weapons facilities do you think should be the logical next step
that Macron and Trump can talk about for Syria?
FELTMAN: How you use reconstruction as some sort of leverage. The Russians and the Iranians are not going to want to reconstruct Syria. They
do not have the financial resources. The Europeans perhaps, the Americans have the financial resources.
What are the conditions by which reconstruction funds would be released, what are the political conditions, what are the conditions in terms of the
Iranian and Russian role?
I mean, look at the catastrophe that Syria is, first and foremost, for the Syrian people themselves, but also when you have Iran more deeply
entrenched, when you have Turkey, Iran and Russia in alliance, which I wouldn't think would be in the US interest.
So, can you come up with some sort of understanding with France over what is the conditionality for reconstruction that would give some leverage over
influencing the outcome of the Syria conflict.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating because if Donald Trump knows a lot about something, it's leverage and how to use it. We'll see whether Macron can leverage on
Former Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman, thanks for joining us.
AMANPOUR: And now, we turn to a personal quest for justice that is being joined the world over.
Six months ago, an unthinkable crime was committed in Europe. The Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown up by a car bomb. Yes, in
A fearless reporter, she had been routing out corruption and she had struck deep into the heart of the Maltese government and their cronies.
Since her assassination, her widower and three sons have been working tirelessly to get justice. And the Daphne Project is an effort by 18 news
organizations in 15 countries to preserve her legacy and finish her investigations.
Two of her sons, Matthew and Paul joined me earlier here in the studio to talk about who their mother was and to tell me that despite the arrest of
the triggermen, they won't rest until they find out who masterminded her murder.
Paul and Matthew, welcome to the program. You are launching the Daphne Project. It's designed to finish these stories and the investigations your
mother was working on.
But beyond that, how are you holding up six months after her murder, Paul?
PAUL CARUANA GALIZIA, SON OF DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA: I the past six months have been just a complete whirlwind. The really intense first few weeks
where we weren't even sure what was going on and what's happening, who we could trust.
But, gradually, over the past few weeks, we came into contact with more and more journalists, more NGOs, more lawyers were willing to help us.
So, it's quite impressive. I think we can look back over the past six months and I think we've played some role in assembling people who are
really dedicated to their scores, to fighting for justice for our mother.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's incredible that you are continuing that fight. Matthew, even today it's hard to read your eyewitness to a car bomb in
Europe that killed a journalist, your mother. It's just staggering to even imagine that happened.
But you're her son. You were at home that day. Walk us through those last moments.
MATTHEW CARUANA GALIZIA, SON OF DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA: I remember it being a very quiet day. I was very focused on my work. An my mother was
very focused on her work.
The way we normally worked is we shared the dining room table. I think we just had something small for lunch and my mother said - she took a phone
call from the bank and she said, OK, now I have to go, I have to go to a meeting of the bank.
[14:15:06] She walked out of the house with her bag. And a few seconds later, walking back towards the house. She has forgotten her checkbook.
She said, OK, now I'm really going, bye and then closed the heavy door - our very heavy front door. She closed it behind her and all the keys on
the back kind of jangled.
And, really, it must have been a minute later, less than a minute probably, just hearing the explosion and the windows shaking. And I thought
immediately - I knew what happened. I just jumped out of my chair and got to the door. I remember the dogs were barking.
And in that moment, I felt because I knew what had happened. I felt completely weak, like I was - I didn't - I was going to collapse right
there and then in the doorway with the sunlight shining down.
It was just really overwhelming, but that maybe lasted a fraction of a second. And I just sprinted ahead out of the house. I remember seeing the
neighbors coming out. I continued running down the road and that's when I saw the smoke.
It was like a tower of thick black tumbling smoke. I've never seen anything like it.
The road itself was on fire. Trees on the side of the road were on fire. But I couldn't see the car. It was just bits of plastic and bits of flesh
all over the ground. It was like being in a warzone really.
And at the point, I couldn't figure out where the car was. So, I followed the smoke and that's when I saw this big ball of fire. That was the car
completely engulfed in flames. You couldn't even see the body.
I ran to it. And I just couldn't see and there was nothing in the car. There was nothing in the car. It was just fire. After running around the
car, figuring out - trying to figure out a way to get in and get my - stick my hand in - I don't know what I was trying to do. I realized that was
AMANPOUR: It's just such a horrifying and horrendous story and we see this beautiful picture of your mother as you're speaking.
And she dedicated her whole life to this fight against corruption, against dirty politics, dirty money and to uphold human rights. You must believe
it's progress that investigators have actually arrested people who actually pulled the trigger, so to speak. Is that right, Paul?
P. GALIZIA: Yes. So, of course, it's a big step in the investigation. But the fact is our mother, over her 30-year-career, investigated political
corruption. She investigated crime and corruption at the highest levels of the Maltese government and state.
So, I mean, these arrests, it's obvious to us and everyone who has observed the story, is these are just three common criminals and they are completely
unknown to our mother.
They never featured in any of her 20,000 plus blog posts, any of her columns. Literally, the people who placed the bomb. Of course, we're very
interested in other people who had motive to kill her. The people who our mother investigated.
AMANPOUR: Can I play for you a soundbite from an interview I did with Prime Minister Muscat in the aftermath of your mother's murder and he
pledged that the very people you want to find would be found? Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH MUSCAT, PRIME MINISTER OF MALTA: There will be absolutely no impunity for anyone. This is a country where rule of law reigns supreme
and I will make sure that justice is done and there will be absolutely no impunity for anyone, be it from any part of the political spectrum, if
there is politics involved in this or from any other sector.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, that was an unequivocal public pledge. Are you satisfied with the way the government is pursuing this investigation?
M. GALIZIA: No. And even in that clip, it's really disturbing because, to me, it looks as though he can't hide his delight. You see his face
turning into a kind of half smile almost. It's just really disturbing.
[14:20:10] AMANPOUR: Do you really believe that the prime minister or his people wanted your mother dead?
P. GALIZIA: I have no problem believing that. I mean, these people spend the last five years harassing our mother relentlessly. They sued with her
for libel, criminal defamation. They harassed her financially. They froze her bank accounts. They targeted us, her family. I mean, they did
literally every single thing they could until we got to this point.
And another thing about the prime minister is he said that Malta is a country where we have the rule of law. Obviously not, you know? There is
a tendency to think that what happened to our mother was some kind of an aberration because it's was so spectacularly ugly that it came out of
nowhere and this is something not can't and doesn't typically happen in a European Union member state in 2017.
But there were 30 years of that kind of harassment. Thirty years of the authorities that were meant to protect our mother actually mobilized to
target her, to harass her. The courts, the police force, government, state everything, until we got to this point.
AMANPOUR: The question is, do you feel safe in Malta being very public, coming on global and US television, to put your concerns about the
investigation, about high-level officials. Do you feel safe?
M. GALIZIA: I don't feel.
AMANPOUR: You're a journalist too, let's not forget.
M. GALIZIA: I'm a journalist too, but the way we were all raised by our mother was to be fearless in what we did because that's how she was. So,
it's only when people tell me, it's only when people remind me really, don't forget that you're at risk. Listen, don't forget that you shouldn't
Experienced journalists, security advisers, people working for the magistrate's team, they all tell us the same thing.
AMANPOUR: And I understand that the investigators want your mother's last tablet or laptop what she was writing on and you've said that even if you
had it, you wouldn't turn it.
M. GALIZIA: Of course not. It would be extremely irresponsible to put more lives at risk. It's the last thing that our mother would have wanted.
AMANPOUR: Because in that tablet would have been all the sources and people that she was working with?
M. GALIZIA: Anything that she used.
AMANPOUR: Where do you think it could be? How has it disappeared? Or was it blown up in the car? Did she carry out with her?
M. GALIZIA: I didn't see what my mother was carrying when she left the house because I had my back turned towards the door. And I don't know
where the laptop is. But even if I did, I would have never handed it over because, I mean, if the police were to have come to me and I had the laptop
in my possession, I would have destroyed it.
I would have done my best to destroy it because I think that the lives of my mother's sources are more important than the government's thirst for
vengeance against them.
AMANPOUR: So, very, very tragically your mother's assassination fits a very ugly and terrifying pattern for many journalists around the world.
And I just wanted to ask you, what to you at this point would justice look like? What do you want the authorities to deliver? What can they do to at
least provide some closure and some justice?
P. GALIZIA: So, we want complete justice for our mother. We want to know who ordered her killing. We don't just want the three men who've been
arraigned or any of their lower level criminal associates. We want the masterminds.
We also want to know the reasons as to why our mother was killed. We want to know who ordered it, who commissioned it, why, everything, their links
to the government, to the prime minister, a completely open and transparent public inquiry.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you're making an accusation here. Their links to -
P. GALIZIA: If they have links to the government. Again, our mother investigated political corruption. It's hard to see this coming from
anywhere outside Malta's political system.
AMANPOUR: So, it's so sad. It's so tragic. What do you want Daphne's project to achieve? What do you want her legacy to be?
[14:25:06] M. GALIZIA: I think the - even though the entire project hasn't, stories are still coming out of it.
I think what the first batch of stories has done is really humanized her to an audience that was only used to seeing propaganda about her and this has
left them bewildered. They don't know how to deal with it.
They have an image of her as a witch, someone who was subhuman or non- human. They were made to hate her. So, now that they're seeing a human being, they just don't know what to do.
I think that the Daphne Project has succeeded in that objective at least. And also, because the journalists themselves are taking up her
investigations, that feels like a taste of justice that we're getting there.
AMANPOUR: That she will not be silenced.
M. GALIZIA: She will not.
P. GALIZIA: Exactly.
AMANPOUR: Matthew and Paul, thank you so much for sharing this.
M. GALIZIA: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Very painful.
AMANPOUR: Remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia. We got reaction from the Office of Malta's Prime Minister, which told us in a statement, "No prime
minister would want a journalist to be murdered under any circumstances."
Spokesman said that Daphne Caruana Galizia launched politically motivated attacks against the prime minister, but that he only resorted to legal
means in extreme circumstances."
And that is it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.