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Trump Tries To Appeal To President Erdogan Through A Letter; Syrian Kurds Holding Mass Funerals For Their Dead; Syria Accuses United States For Abandoning Them; All Roads Seem To Lead To Putin, Pelosi Says; Mikhail Kasyanov, Former Russian Prime Minister, Is Interviewed About Vladimir Putin; Gordon Sondland Testifying On Trump's Impeachment; Nina Jankowicz, Disinformation Fellow, Wilson Center, Is Interviewed About Ukraine; Boris Johnson Trying To Bring On Brexit; U..K. And E.U. Agrees On Brexit Deal; Jonathan Powell, Former Chief Of Staff To U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Is Interviewed About The Brexit Deal; Turkey Agrees To Ceasefire In Syria. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 17, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
Trump's top team in Turkey to rein in Erdogan's Syria offensive. One clear winner out of this chaos, Russia. We talk to the former Russian prime
minister, Mikhail Kasyanov.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We have a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Another prime minister, another Brexit deal, but can this one pass Parliament? I talk to Tony Blair's former chief of staff, Jonathan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULALAI ISMAIL, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: People are inciting violence against me. People would give me death threats. Some would give me rape
threats. Some --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A human rights activist since she was 16, Pakistan's Gulalai Ismail talks to Michel Martin about standing up against abuse and being
forced into hiding.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Top U.S. officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence have made a desperate attempt to get President Erdogan to stop his
bloody offensive in Syria after President Trump essentially gave it the green light.
American allies, the ISIS fighting Syrian Kurds are now holding mass funerals for their dead as they accuse the United States of abandoning
them. A humanitarian disaster is under way amid calls for the U.N. to somehow stop this.
It has transpired that after the backlash against his move, President Trump tried appealing to Erdogan himself through a letter that surfaced yesterday
in which he said, "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool." And back in Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed more details about this
contentious meeting with President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I also pointed out to the president that I had concerns that all roads seem to lead to Putin. The Russians had been
trying to get a foothold in the Middle East for a very long time unsuccessfully. And now, the president has given them the opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
This is a mounting concern in the U.S. military and among U.S. allies. Mikhail Kasyanov served as Russia's prime minister during Vladimir Putin's
first term. But now, he's a vocal opponent of the Russian leader and he's joining me now from London.
Welcome back to our program.
MIKHAIL KASYANOV, FORMER RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you to comment on what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, that when it comes to President Trump and various issues, all roads
seem to lead to Putin and that this is exactly what Russia, Putin, has wanted for a long, long time. And after a long absence, Trump has given
them an entree back into the Middle East. Do you agree with that formulation?
KASYANOV: I think to a great extent, yes. Putin just is the main beneficiary of what's going on there. He, for many years, suggests Assad
is legitimate president and we legally support -- military support Assad there.
And despite of the fact that there is an agreement between Iran, Turkey and Putin, right now, we see that the situation develops in a different way.
Erdogan heading just into Syrian territory, creating a buffer zone, and just we see Kurds left on the field in front of Turkish tanks. I don't
understand -- I cannot understand the reason why the U.S. president made such a decision, just to the most important, the most -- the -- I would say
the best allies in the fight against ISIS, now left alone without any support and protection.
AMANPOUR: What do you think President Putin thinks about that? Because obviously, he also was part of -- I mean, he said it from the United
Nations, that's his sort of public stance, anyway, that he, too, is in the fight against ISIS. Do you think he has any sympathy for the Syrian Kurds
or is he kind of OK with this development because now Russian forces have rushed up there?
KASYANOV: Mr. Putin is OK only with one issue, how to keep personal power. And to dismiss to -- by, I would, say protest different dictators like we
had in just -- and before, now including Assad, for them, it's unacceptable at all. That's why he's fighting for his own future, not to have another
example that dictator could be dismissed by people's movement with the support of different other allies.
AMANPOUR: Because he doesn't want that to happen to himself?
KASYANOV: Absolutely. The same in Ukraine. Same in other countries.
AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you again, though, because Russians seem to be - - they're happy that their leadership, that their country is playing a major role, and actually, I don't know whether you agree, but sort of
filling a vacuum that seems to have been left by the United States, progressively, and now, at its (INAUDIBLE) with this issue. I mean, you
have Putin obviously making hay our of what's happening in Syria.
Putin was in Saudi Arabia not so long ago. You know, he is here, there and everywhere. He's got very close ties with the prime minister of Israel.
Despite your differences and your political differences with Putin himself, as a Russian, do you think it's good for Russia to be able to fill this
vacuum in the Middle East?
KASYANOV: In fact, Russian society is split approximately 50/50. 50 percent who, in reality, support Putin. They are ready to be in poor
position and keep patience. And just -- this is post-empire, Soviet empire syndrome, works well.
But other 50 percent, mostly middle class living in the big cities, of course, the contrary, absolutely against these things. They would like to
be a normal European state so that human rights will be protected and their rights toward to be elected and elect would be implemented and practice.
But Putin ignoring this. That's why he needs short victories, quick victories, to raise personal legitimacy outside Russia, because inside
Russia he doesn't have enough of legitimacy.
AMANPOUR: That's interesting.
KASYANOV: That's why short victorious war in Syria, that is sort of propaganda. And now, just these 50 percent applauding Mr. Putin that,
finally, he got what he wanted. He's bringing back together with Erdogan and Iranian authority, bringing back almost the whole territory of Syria
and Assad's control.
AMANPOUR: Which some people are just heartbroken by, because for the last many years, perhaps five to seven years, in fact, that band up there in
Northern Syria was stabilized, there was peace up there and the Kurds were fighting ISIS and all of that, and this has all gone up in smoke now. And
Assad will, as you say, regain the majority of his territory.
KASYANOV: And will start punishing those Kurds who was just playing games with Americans. And now, just everything coming back, unfortunately.
There is disaster.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you think then when you see this picture in your mind? I mean, you've talked now just about, you know, probably another
blood bath, first the Turkish blood bath, then the Assad blood bath, although the Syrian Kurds have made a deal with Assad for the moment. Do
you see ISIS rising again? Many people are very worried about ISIS rising because of all this.
KASYANOV: It could be, because just those Kurds, fighters, they will not undertake any further efforts on that and they already mentioned this
somewhere. There is information somewhere on internet, there's -- just in this case, we will not continue the fighting. It means just reintegration
of ISIS potentially possible.
AMANPOUR: President Putin has either summoned or agreed to have a meeting with President Erdogan in Sochi next week. The presidential spokesman is
saying that they're very, you know, upset at what the Russians are saying, they're upset at what Turkey is doing in Northern Syria.
What do you think is going to happen? And we know Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence are trying to get Erdogan to stop or slow down. I
mean, from what you know about the region, can they have an effect on Erdogan? Can Putin have an effect on Erdogan?
KASYANOV: I think there will be some kind of agreement, some kind of deal. And Erdogan would establish this buffer zone and will push those 3.5
million of refugees seeking territory in Turkey and just provide them with food and the medicine given on the money of European Union, but he pushed
them in territory of Syria. He said, you are Syrians, live there, and let international community provide appropriate support, not Erdogan, but
international community. And the whole (INAUDIBLE) country back under Assad's control.
AMANPOUR: It is actually remarkable. Let me just move to domestic Russian politics and protests. You, as I said, were prime minister under Vladimir
Putin. You then became a vocal opponent and you've tried to run against him. We've seen unprecedented protests this summer in Russia. How do you
analyze them? Are they what we see in the outside? Are they unprecedented? Are they meaningful? Do they have any hope of breaking
KASYANOV: There's a new wave. There's new development in Russia. And I am very happy that it's happening. New generation for the first time
appeared on the streets because of simple reason, they wanted to participate in the regional elections to Moscow Duma, Moscow Parliament, of
city of Moscow. Moscow is 10 percent of population. It is an important part, important region, not just a city, important region of Russia. And
these new guys wanted to eliminate their candidates and wanted to work for them, but they were cut on both.
AMANPOUR: We're seeing pictures of those protests.
KASYANOV: And that's why just the people on the streets just to protect their constitutional rights, their freedom, which they thought it's
It appears to be doesn't exist.
AMANPOUR: But what do you think the unprecedented turnout of these young people is saying or being felt in the Kremlin?
KASYANOV: In Kremlin, people are shocked about that. They were not prepared for that. And that's why they decided to suppress all these
demonstrations and there was awful teachings (ph) how people were beaten without any reason, without -- it is a peaceful demonstration. I will say
since -- when the first anti-Putin demonstrations started in 2006 until now there was no broken window, no broken car in the streets of Moscow.
But these people are beaten by police in a heavy manner, and just some of them in the jail. And now, again, 14, 15 people already under criminal
investigation, some of them already in jail.
AMANPOUR: Alexei Navalny is one of the biggest names of the protest leaders in Russia today, and he has said that, you know, sure, they can put
me into jail. But every time they do, another big protest happens. And this is just like a self -- you know, like a constant vicious circle.
Does Navalny have any hope of challenging Putin any time soon? I mean, is any opposition going to be able to -- the next elections are in 2021?
KASYANOV: I tell you just not bright story, but I will tell you that we, for many years, cannot be united, I mean, democratic opposition. And there
is major reason why people not so enthusiastic. You can say, as soon as you are united, we will support you wider. Navalny is one of the leaders,
but he is the brightest leader on the street, but he is not the leader of whole opposition. There should be a combination of all political groups.
In fact, we have four independent political groups. If we unite ourselves and start preparing now, then September 2021 could be a turning point,
because it is constitutional event, elections to federal Duma. And in this case, if we are united, in the streets, will be 100,000 people, 500,000
people. Mr. Putin will realize that relaxation should start. Otherwise, revolution would be inevitable.
AMANPOUR: Gosh, that's pretty dramatic. Let me now get back to Putin and the United States. Just last week, or over the weekend, he made this
comment about -- again, he talked about trying to make better relations with the U.S. but always, he says, you know, events intervene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We all know what President Trump says about Russian-American relations and how he talks
about them. We know that during his previous campaign, he called for relations to get back to normal, but unfortunately, nothing has been done.
But we do not hold it against anyone because we can all see what is going on in the American domestic political scene these days. The domestic
political agenda prevents the incumbent president --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: OK. What do you think he means by that?
KASYANOV: I think just, Mr. Putin would like President Trump to make a gift to Mr. Putin. The gift means to start treating Russia as a special
case, like in the past Soviet Union or like China now, maybe just not good example with respect to Trump with China. But something that is different,
not like a part of international agreements like OECE agreement when Mr. Putin destroyed the whole architecture of European security, not like human
rights convention, European convention human rights. Mr. Putin violates human rights every day.
He wants a special permission, special ticket from Mr. Trump and European Union too, just to behave and to interpret international law in the way Mr.
Putin wants. Syria is one other example. Ukraine is another example.
AMANPOUR: OK. I was going to ask you about Ukraine in the final question. Do you think, as many people have said, that this whole situation with
President Trump and the, you know, conversation with President Zelensky and the supposed quid pro quo and the holding up of aid and all the rest of it
is a gift to Mr. Putin? He's a winner out of all of this?
KASYANOV: For me, the main concern is that Ukraine badly needs support, international support right now. This country just deserves to be
supported, to build up a democratic state. And they now have problems, not only Crimea, annexed by Mr. Putin, but also in east part of Ukraine. And
they're asking the United States for military support.
United States is responsible to provide support for Ukraine and to support territorial integrity and sovereignty territory of Ukraine as a Budapest
protocol of 1994.
And that is a legitimate, I would say, approach to President Trump by President Zelensky, help us. Help us to keep our sovereignty. And in
return, some kind of, I would say, not decision-making process as usually United States just demonstrated. We don't understand and people in Ukraine
don't understand what's going on, why it's faced with such a problem.
AMANPOUR: Well, it is a huge problem and it seems to have backfired for Mr. Zelensky. We'll see how it proceeds. Former Russian Prime Minister,
Mikhail Kasyanov, thank you very much for joining us.
KASYANOV: Thank you. It was a great pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And now, the majority of Republicans in the House joined their Democratic counterparts to condemn the President Trump's Syrian moves last
night. And today, a Trump ally, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. is testifying to the congressional impeachment inquiry about the president's
moves in Ukraine.
Political appointee, Gordon Sondland, says that Trump directed him to work through Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, rather than
government channels. Here's part of his opening statement. He says, "We were also disappointed by the president's direction that we involve Mr.
Giuliani. Our view was that the men and women of the State Department, not the president's personal lawyer, should take responsibility for all aspects
of U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine."
Now, Nina Jankowicz, is a Ukraine expert at the Wilson Center and she's joining me from Washington.
Welcome to the program, Nina Jankowicz.
NINA JANKOWICZ, DISINFORMATION FELLOW, WILSON CENTER: Thank you for having me, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you, perhaps to follow up a little from what the former prime minister, Kasyanov, has just said, that, look, here you have a
new Ukrainian president. He desperately -- obviously, he was, you know, probably as a neophyte to politics in Ukraine as President Trump has been
in the United States, but he wants help, he wants military aid. He's got the Russians still fighting in Eastern Ukraine, still annexing Crimea and
he makes this sort of somehow appeal to President Trump.
Has he just been, I don't know -- is it his naivete that's tripped him up or is there something else going on, do you think?
JANKOWICZ: No, I don't think it's his naivete at all. I think President Zelensky had one choice, he had to go and represent Ukraine and the 70
percent of the Ukrainian population that voted him into office as best he could with President Trump in those phone calls he had in order to get that
military aid and the other democratic support that the United States gives to Ukraine, over $500 million in 2017, and that was Zelensky's one chance,
essentially, to appeal to Mr. Trump and say, help me end this war in Donbass, which was the -- one of the main things that he was elected on.
AMANPOUR: So, when you look at that transcript and the phone call and you hear what President Trump has said since, I mean, he said -- this was a
perfect phone call, on these issues that you're talking about with President Zelensky, how would you interpret that? What's your reaction to
JANKOWICZ: Well, I don't think it was the perfect phone call for Ukraine and I certainly don't think it was a perfect phone call for the United
States either. We need to be supporting Ukraine in its path towards democratic development, in its anti-corruption work, not weaponizing that
corruption that exists in Ukraine and creating disinformation around it in order to meet our own domestic political gains. It's certainly not the
role that the United States has played in the past and one that I hope we don't play in the future.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, and we sort of introduced this concept as we were coming to you, that now the E.U. ambassador, the U.S.-E.U. ambassador,
Gordon Sondland, is testifying, and he's -- you know, we've got a look at his opening statement where he actually says that, you know, we thought it
better to go through government channels, but we were directed to go through Rudy Giuliani. And he went on to say, you know, we all agreed
perhaps that was the best way to go. It wasn't until later that we thought perhaps there was an ulterior motive on Giuliani's part and his henchmen --
and his associates' part.
Tell us what you -- how do you analyze what's going on in -- with all of these ambassadors and Trump appointees, not to mention the fired or
recalled official U.S. ambassador to Ukraine?
JANKOWICZ: Well, I think it's a very murky situation. I was in Ukraine during the presidential election, the Ukrainian presidential election this
spring, covering it, and the -- all the smearing of Ambassador Yovanovitch started just 10 days before the Ukrainian presidential election, first
round. And I thought to myself, this is a terrible time for people who are outside of U.S. politics to be undermining U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine.
We need to be sending a signal of support, not one of confusion and this incongruence between official policy and what the White House and Trump's
associates are saying and doing. And from the very beginning, it was clear that Mr. Giuliani and others surrounding President Trump were attempting to
smear the ambassador, a career ambassador who has served under Republican and Democratic administrations and is always pitch perfect in [13:20:00]
everything she says, her support for Ukraine, her support for democracy writ large. That's the sort of message that the United States needed to be
And now, unfortunately, as we know, Ambassador Yovanovitch was recalled ostensibly because of the work she did in Ukraine and the strong support
that she had in terms of delivering that U.S. stance, which we had taken for many, many years.
AMANPOUR: So, let me talk to you, because this all basically comes down to the anti-corruption fight that the United States is -- has taken, as you
say, for many years, to Ukraine, and it's trying to, you know, persuade Ukrainians that they need to get serious on this.
As part of her opening statement, and Ambassador Yovanovitch testified in defiance of the ban by the administration, she went up to capitol hill.
And part of what she said was, "I do not know Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts
of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine."
And we know in -- you know, since that several of these associates of Mr. Giuliani have been arrested, and they are under investigation because of
these allegations. Tell us what you know about the extent of that kind of corruption in Ukraine and where Ukraine is vulnerable in terms of
corruption and how their prosecutors are working and what the U.S. effort has been to try to stop that.
JANKOWICZ: Certainly. Well, since the revolution of dignity or the Euromaidan revolution which took place in 2013-2014, Ukraine has made a lot
of efforts to reform its judicial system, to reform its police system, to stop bribe-taking. It's made more progress in the past five years than it
has in the past 30, total.
But that being said, there are still opportunities for individuals with ulterior motives to exploit that system. We saw this with Mr. Manafort.
We see it with other individuals and political consultants who go not only to Ukraine but other countries in the post-Soviet space in order to peddle
these illicit deals. And certainly, that is something that the United States government has worked against, and we have supported Ukraine in its
I find it ironic that the folks who are seeking out these deals, and of course, Mr. Giuliani himself is one of the people who has done this sort of
behavior, you can look up some reporting by Casey Michel that is excellent on this topic. I find it ironic that he's attacking anti-corruption
activists like Daria Kaleniuk from the Anti-Corruption Activism Center in Ukraine who has put her personal safety on the line in order to encourage
the Ukrainian government to prosecute these cases. These are the types of people that the U.S. government should be supporting, not attacking.
AMANPOUR: You are an expert on disinformation. When you look at this, where do you see the main tentacles of disinformation?
JANKOWICZ: Well, I mean, I see five or four different conspiratorial narratives rolled into one here. We have this disinformation about Vice
President Biden and the supposed ask he made of President Poroshenko to protect his son. Of course, this isn't true. He asked for a former
corrupt prosecutor to be fired in order to release a loan guarantee, not to protect his son. Firing that prosecutor actually made his son more
vulnerable to prosecution.
We have this narrative that the DNC servers or Hillary Clinton's e-mail servers are somehow located in Ukraine. We have a narrative that the
Ukrainian government colluded with the Democrats in order to throw the election for Hillary Clinton. None of this is true, and all of this is
being thrown into one disinformation narrative in order to confuse voters.
And ultimately, as you were saying to Prime Minister Kasyanov in the earlier segment, the winner here is Russia because it's undermining
Ukraine's new democratic administration, it's undermining support for democracy in Ukraine, not only from the United States but the international
community, and putting at risk Ukraine's further Euro-Atlantic integration.
And finally, it's saying to people around the world that U.S. democracy and U.S. support for democracy can be bought, and that's exactly what Russia
wants. All of this murkiness just puts a big medal in President Putin's lap and undermines our support for democracy writ large around the world,
and that's what makes most upset about what we've learned over the past couple weeks.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And these are indeed fragile and troubling times. Nina Jankowicz, thank you very much for joining me.
Now, while President Trump fights off impeachment, his friend in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is trying to bring on Brexit.
Today, the U.K. and the E.U. announced a deal. But does that mean that this long, sorry saga is over? Far from it, because it still has to pass
both European and U.K. parliaments, something it's failed to do in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It hasn't always been an easy experience for the U.K. It's been long, it's been painful, it's been
divisive. And now is the moment for us as a country to come together. Now is the moment for our Parliamentarians to come together and get this thing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, the sticking point for Brexit has always been that Britain's exit will mean reintroducing border posts on the frontier between
Northern Ireland, which remains part of the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, which is in the E.U.
Today, the chief E.U. negotiator said peace in Ireland is his priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL BARNIER, E.U. CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR: Let me say very frankly that for me, since day one, since three years, what really matters are the
people, the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland. What really matters is peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended the 30-year sectarian conflict in which more than 3,500 people died, and that complex, painful
period of history is why this is so complex and fragile. Jonathan Powell is Tony Blair's former chief of staff and chief government negotiator for
that Good Friday Agreement, and he's joining me here in the studio.
Welcome back to our program.
JONATHAN POWELL, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO U.K. PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: To try to make some sense of all of this. So, first and foremost, do you think that Boris Johnson has pulled off what Theresa May
POWELL: Well, he sort of rather extraordinary journey of negotiation where he has, in fact, adopted something Theresa May originally accepted, the
original backstop, which meant that Northern Ireland remained in the customs union in a single market. She went there to Brussels, sat with
Jean-Claude Juncker, back to negotiations, was humiliatingly called back by the DUP, he said, no, you're not going to do that, and she had to move off
it. She said, in fact, no British prime minister could sign up for an agreement like that.
AMANPOUR: Can I play that sound bite?
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play it and then we're going talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, THEN-BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The draft legal text the commission have published would, if implemented, undermine the U.K. common
market and threaten constitutional integrity of the U.K. by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no U.K. prime
minister could ever agree to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I wanted to play it because you referred to it, but also, who was there in the background is foreign secretary, one, Boris Johnson,
who was busy nodding --
AMANPOUR: -- that, no British prime minister could agree to it, but now you say he is.
POWELL: He has agreed to it. He is a man of no particular fixed principles and he has no difficulty agreeing to something he's contradicted
before. But it does create his own problems.
The good news is, by going into the single market in the customs union as originally proposed, we will avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland
and the Republic of Ireland. That is good. That will help preserve the peace. The problem is, someone's rights were always going to get trampled
on. There has to be a border somewhere, because we're leaving.
Can either between Ireland, north and south, or between the rest of the U.K. and Northern Ireland? What he's opted, because that's what he could
get from the E.U., is a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K., and that's a big problem for the unionists. The unionist
believe we should be a United Kingdom and they should be a part of it. They can't have a hard border.
AMANPOUR: And you know those people very well because, in fact, you negotiated with them. The unionist -- this particular unionist party, who
formed the alliance with Boris Johnson in Parliament are actually really hardline. They didn't even vote for the peace agreement, did they?
POWELL: They didn't even come to Good Friday negotiations. In fact, the reason they came is to march with drums to protest against it. But they
signed up later to it at St. Andrews. They basically accepted it later, but they weren't there at the time. And they are hardline, but they are
also unionists, and their rights have been trampled on by putting the hard border in.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's read their statement. They say "The government has departed from the principle that these arrangements must be subject to
consent of both unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland. This drives a coach and horses through the professed sanctity of the Belfast
I mean, they're setting themselves up not to vote for this when there's an emergency session, first time since 1982 in the Falklands War --
AMANPOUR: -- that there is an emergency session of the British Parliament on Saturday, on a Saturday, and it's this Saturday.
Given the math, given what you know about all of this, given the DUP statement, given the fact that the Labour Party, the Scottish National
Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and all of the other parties say that they're not going to vote for it, what do you think is going to happen on
POWELL: It looks to me -- but you don't be sure because so many surprising things are happening in British politics at the moment, they will not get
it through. Without the DUP, that's the 10 down, they're going to get very few labour rebels voting with them because of the antagonistic position
that Boris Johnson has taken. They're going have a number of the people he's thrown out of the Tory Party not voting with him.
He does not have the numbers to get that through at the moment on Saturday, and that then forces him towards the 31st of October and that date. So,
he's got a real problem in terms of that. And the DUP, I do understand their position. Not only are they putting a hard border in there, they're
saying that they, the DUP, will not have a say in whether that stays a position for Britain forever.
Because what's really happened here is this was going to backstop because it was an insurance policy because we're going to have a different
relationship once we've negotiated Britain's relationship with the E.U. But that's not going to happen now. This is not a back stop. This is
what's going to happen from now on.
AMANPOUR: It's quite hard to take that -- you know, I mean Amber Rudd, for instance, has said -- she's one of the ones who left because of this
hurtling towards a no deal. She has basically said that what Boris Johnson's done -- and actually what Jacob Rees Mogg also has said which is
now I really trust him. In fact, I'm going to play what he said hurt because he was the hardliner whose party and or whose sort of cabal, if I
could say, torpedoed Theresa May. Look at what he says about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB REES MOGG, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Now I know what is in the deal, my trust has been completely justified. It is a really exciting and
positive deal. It removes the undemocratic backstop.
It is a huge advance for the whole of the United Kingdom. It will ensure that we are one single customs territory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, as you've said, it looks like, actually, it's more of a capitulation, more concession to Europe than Theresa May's did. And
Amber Rudd, former home secretary, has said there is a "whiff of sexism in how the conservatives are backing Boris much more than they backed Theresa
May." Do you agree?
POWELL: I do. Really, yes. I mean, if I was Theresa May, I would be really hopping mad at the moment. These rebels who stopped at getting the
deal through, including Boris Johnson and Rees-Mogg have now adopted a deal that is actually worse from the point of view and they're glorying it while
she was turned over by them.
But she may have her last laugh, because if he can't get it through parliament either, we're going to have this continuing saga going on and
AMANPOUR: So what does that look like, this continuing saga? Because as you just mentioned a couple of minutes ago, there is this deadline of the
What does that mean now? Because they have a deal, will the E.U., even if the U.K. wants a delay, another extension, will the E.U, you know, allow
that if it can't get through parliament?
POWELL: I'm pretty sure the E.U. will allow it. They're trying to make this evening quite tough noises, saying this is your last chance, vote for
it or there will be no deal, because they want to try and help Boris Johnson get this through.
They can't face the prospect of having to negotiate this all over again, so they're pushing pretty hard, but they're stopping short of saying there
will be no extension. And if Boris Johnson is forced by the Benn Act, the legislation that's been passed to go to Brussels and ask for an extension,
they will give an extension.
I think one way he could, of course, get this deal through parliament, would be to adopt this amendment that's been put on the table which would
require confirmatory ballots, a second referendum. If you put that on the table, then you get the Labour Party votes and you might have the numbers
to get through.
Of course, you would then lose many of the hardliners on his own side so even that, it would be dicey but that might be one way forward which at
least give the British people a say on this and draw a line once and for all.
AMANPOUR: That would be another massive concession, wouldn't it? Because the last thing Boris Johnson and his kind of hardline group want is a
POWELL: It is. But on the other hand, he's made so many concessions now, including with the E.U. One more concession may be his only way through.
And he, as I say, is a very flexible man, so maybe that's what he'll go for.
AMANPOUR: And how will this be spun? Because one other thing people think is that there might be an election and that Boris Johnson will be able to
say, look, I did it, I did it by the deadline, I said do or die, I said I wanted a deal, I did get a deal. I got a better deal than Theresa May.
Will he be able to spin this like that and then win some kind of resounding election victory?
POWELL: His dream scenario is that parliament on Saturday votes for his deal, he gets it through, he goes to an election and he can say, I'm the
guy who got Brexit. No one else could get it. I got it.
That would give him a big victory because the votes on the left in this country are divided now half and half between the Liberals on 20 percent
and Labour on 20 percent. He, without a Brexit party to his right, because that would collapse in those circumstances, would have a massive victory in
five years in which to implement all of this. That's what he hopes for.
At the moment, he doesn't have the numbers to do that. He's not going to get it through parliament, and that means it's more likely we would end up
with a referendum first and election second. And that's a problem for him because he said he would die in a ditch if it wasn't done by the 31st.
AMANPOUR: So it's really interesting. You've said several times we might have a second referendum. I mean, this is what all the Remainers have
This is what, you know, members of your own party like Alastair Campbell, who was, you know, with you in Downing Street and key adviser to Prime
Minister Blair, Blair himself, they want a second referendum. It's something that the current Labour leader has never been able to commit to.
POWELL: He hasn't, but I think he's moving in that direction. And particularly, this amendment that's on the table by two Labour MPs, which
will enjoy a great deal of support, I can't be sure that it will get through, but I think it's increasingly going there.
In fact, I remember my old boss Tony Blair saying to me, you know what they'll do is they'll try everything else first and only when everything
else has failed will he end up with a referendum. Well, we're just approaching the point where everything else has failed.
AMANPOUR: Can I make you swerve from Brexit to what we're seeing in, you know, in Syria? I mean, you were a chief adviser on all sorts of aspects
to Prime Minister Blair, and there were lots of Middle East issues and all sorts of other issues during your time. And you were very close allies of
the United States at that time, of course.
How do you read what the U.S. is doing with its allies in Syria, the Kurds, abandoning them, this basically green-lighting the Erdogan invasion or
whatever, intervention into Northern Syria?
POWELL: It's tragic. It's absolutely tragic. Jim Jeffrey -- Ambassador Jim Jeffrey of the U.S., had negotiated a very good deal with the Turks
about what would happen with joint patrols by the U.S. and the Turks.
All of that was ready to play out. It was all killed by one phone call in the middle of the night. It turned the whole thing on its head. And now
you have President Erdogan, his forces going into this area and death and destruction going with it.
And it won't be a short-term thing, because once they're in place, they will be targets for these guerrillas and these guerrillas will be attacking
them. So it's not like this drew a line under it and settled it.
I fear this just means the suffering in Syria goes on and on, and all because of a phone call in the middle of the night. Seems a very strange
way to do foreign policy.
AMANPOUR: And do you believe, like many do, that this has allowed Vladimir Putin, not to mention Iran and Assad, to gain a really sort of entrenched
foothold in that part?
POWELL: It's certainly very good news for President Putin because --
AMANPOUR: Guess what, they're about to talk. Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo after their meetings with Erdogan. Let's take a
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To call on Turkish forces to stand down, to end the violence, to agree to negotiations. And today,
I'm proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and
the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.
The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All
military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the
Our administration has already been in contact with Syrian Defense Forces, and we have already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the
nearly 20-mile-wide safe zone there south of the Turkish border in Syria.
Let me say, this also includes an agreement by turkey to engage in no military action against the community of Kobani. And in addition, the
United States and Turkey have both mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone, working on an international basis
to ensure that peace and security defines this border region of Syria.
In addition to the settlement today with the ceasefire, Turkey and the United States mutually committed to the defeat ISIS activities in Northeast
Syria. This will also include an agreement renewed today to coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in
formerly ISIS-controlled areas.
Also, Turkey and the United States agreed on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly, the protection of
religious and ethnic communities in the region. I spoke to President Trump just a few moments ago, and I know the president is very grateful for
President Erdogan's willingness to step forward, to enact the ceasefire, and to give an opportunity for a peaceful solution of this conflict that
commenced one week ago.
For my part, I'm grateful for the president's leadership. I'm grateful for the more than five hours of negotiations with President Erdogan and his
team that arrived at a solution that we believe will save lives.
And let me also say I'm very grateful for this team. And to be able to have alongside the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, our National Security
Adviser Robert O'Brien. Ambassador Jim Jefferies and Ambassador David Satterfield, it is a great privilege.
And each of the members of this team contributed equally to achieving this outcome, which is a great contribution to security in this region, and it's
a great contribution to the strong and enduring relationship between the United States of America and Turkey.
Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to millions of Americans, who I know were carrying this moment in prayer. We heard from people all over
the country whose hearts were heavy with the loss of life in this conflict over the last week, longed to see it brought to an end. And I believe
their prayers, the strong leadership that President Trump provided to this moment, and the cooperation with President Erdogan and Turkey has made this
So, again, let me say, a week after Turkish Forces crossed into Syria, Turkey and the United States of America have agreed to a ceasefire in
Syria. It will be a pause in military operations for 120 hours, while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of YPG from the affected areas in
the safe zone.
And once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire. And the United States of America will work with Turkey, will work with
nations around the world to ensure that peace and stability is the order of the day in this safe zone on the border between Syria and Turkey.
With that, let me recognize Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your great work.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Thanks. I think the Vice President said it well. I just wanted to add this
There obviously remains a great deal of work to do in the region. There's lots of challenges that remain. But this effort tonight sets the
conditions for the successful resolution of this particular piece, which created a real risk of instability.
And President Erdogan's decision tonight to work alongside President Trump to achieve this ends will be one that I think will benefit Turkey a great
deal. Thanks. I know you want to take some questions.
PENCE: Great. Go right ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. What do you -- how -- how do you overcome -- how will you overcome the damage that's been caused over
the past week? There has been a lot of animosity between U.S. and Turkey, a lot of things have been said and a lot of threats of economic sanctions
have been made. How are you going to repair the relationship going forward? Thank you.
PENCE: Well, first, as you'll see from the agreement, part of our understanding is that with the implementation of the ceasefire, the United
States will not impose any further sanctions on Turkey. And once a permanent ceasefire is in effect, the president has agreed to withdraw the
economic sanctions that were imposed this last Monday.
But make no mistake about it, president Trump was very clear with our ally, Turkey, about American opposition to Turkish Military Forces entering
Syria. The president made that clear in his discussions, in his correspondence with President Erdogan.
And I believe that the candor and frankness that President Trump applied to this and the strength of his relationship with President Erdogan both
contributed to the ability for this agreement to come about. Now we will work together to implement this agreement.
As I said, our team is already working with YPG personnel in the safe zone for an orderly withdrawal outside the 20-mile mark. And we're going to go
forward together to bring peace and security to this region. I'm very confident of that. OK. OK, (inaudible). Please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. There are reports by some international organizations on how YPG is treating ethnic and religious minorities in
Northern Syria, and Christian leaders in Turkey are making calls to the country to ensure peace and security in the region. I'm wondering your
thoughts on this.
PENCE: Well, let me let the secretary also address that, but I can tell you that President Erdogan and I spoke at great length about the importance
of protecting religious minorities in the region. President Erdogan also shared with me the perspective of many leaders in religious communities
here in Turkey who had great concerns about violence and persecution taking place along the border.
And so, part of our agreement is to continue to work very closely to ensure that religious minorities can thrive and that religious pluralism is one of
the characteristics of this safe zone for some time to come. Mr. Secretary?
POMPEO: I'd add only this. We've certainly heard from -- the vice president heard from Christian leaders around the world who expressed much
of the same concern that you just described.
We think this reduction in violence, this ceasefire, reduces the risk of that. So we think this greatly contributes to protecting religious
minorities throughout Syria and throughout the broader Middle East as well.
This obviously happens in the context of lots of religious challenges, lots of challenges to religious persecution in Iraq and other places as well.
We think this is an important contribution in that regard.
The other thing is that we talked about at some length, is that to the extent that there are abuses that are identified, we'll ask each leader --
certainly President Erdogan and his team and others -- to investigate any allegations of abuse that have taken place.
PENCE: Maybe add an addendum to that. One of the things I know the president and the American people are most proud of is the investment of
hundreds of millions of dollars to help rebuild a Christian, Yazidi, and other religious minority communities in the aftermath of the horrifying
violence during the ISIS period, both in Syria and in Northern Iraq.
We'll continue to flow those resources to support those communities. But as you'll see from this agreement, it is a specific undertaking by Turkey
and by the United States to ensure to protect religious minorities in the affected region.
Shawn Tandem (ph).
SHAWN TANDEM: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. You mentioned that there's an organized withdrawal of the YPG fighters. Can you explain a little bit
more? You said there's been an agreement with them -- where are they going to withdraw to? Where do you see the future of them?
And while there are obviously concerns in Turkey about the YPG and the links to PKK, many in Washington say for example that they led the fight
against the Islamic state group, against ISIS, what do you see for the future of Northern Syria? Do you see any future for the Syrian Kurds
PENCE: Well, our commitment with Turkey is that we will work with YPG members and we also know as Syrian Defense Forces to facilitate an orderly
withdrawal over the next 120 hours. Let me say, that's literally already begun.
And where they will be withdrawing from is the demarcation line, roughly 20 miles south of the border. Turkey's willingness to pause and to embrace
ceasefire military operations to enable us to see to that orderly withdrawal of YPG will, we believe, make it possible for that to occur.
And I know it's already underway as we speak.
Look, Turkey's had a great concern about their border. And while the United States of America did not approve of their military crossing into
Syria, we have always endorsed a safe zone.
And it was a matter of discussion and negotiations, and we believe that the Kurdish population in Syria, with which we have a strong relationship, will
continue to endure. The United States will always be grateful for our partnership with SDF in defeating ISIS, but we recognize the importance and
the value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and the Turkish border, and we're going to be working
So, we think the agreement today first ends the violence, which is what President Trump sent us here to do. I said it again and again to President
Erdogan, Mr. President Trump sent us here to end the violence and to achieve an immediate ceasefire.
And thanks to the agreement that we negotiated today and the strong stand that President Trump took in the preceding days, we've achieved that.
We've also achieved an opportunity by working with YPG to move out of the area to create more peace and security and stability in that buffer zone.
And we're going to be working very earnestly to accomplish that. We believe that can be accomplished during the 120-hour period and after which
there will be a permanent ceasefire, and then we'll continue to engage. Again, not militarily. The president made it clear that we're not going to
have military personnel on the ground, but the United States will continue to engage diplomatically, politically, and of course, in humanitarian aid
and support to affect all of the people affected in this region.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned that the United States opposed Turkey's incursion into Northern Syria, but that Erdogan has always wanted a sort of
safe zone here.
What concessions did you actually get out of President Erdogan, number one? Number two, have you gotten specific assurances from the YPG that they will
comply with the terms of the agreement? Because this is something that they have said that they would not do.
And finally, with the Kurds moving south and now with the U.S. sanction in terms of them moving south, how would you address critics who would call
this essentially a second abandonment of the Kurds?
PENCE: Well, I think you'll be able to see from the agreement itself what concessions were made. President Trump in his telephone call with
President Erdogan earlier this week and in the directive that he gave us to deliver was very clear, that he wanted a ceasefire, he wanted to stop the
Turkey's engaged in an active military operation. I can tell you that as our discussions began over the course of the five-hour period of time, we
reached a place of agreement about how a ceasefire could benefit Turkey, achieve President Trump's objectives, and also contribute to a peaceful
resolution of the safe zone. And I believe that we've accomplished that.
With regard to the YPG, Syrian Defense Forces, we have been in contact today and we have received repeated assurances from them that they'll be
borne out, that they greatly welcome the opportunity for a ceasefire, to make a safe and orderly withdrawal from those areas in the safe zone where
they still have a presence.
And we're very confident that that's already taking place and we're going to be using all the leverage that we have of having fought alongside Syrian
Defense Forces in the battle against ISIS to facilitate their safe withdrawal. But we think this is an outcome that will greatly serve the
interests of the Kurdish population in Syria and will greatly serve the interests of Turkey, and it will create the kind of long-term buffer zone
that will ensure peace and stability in the region.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President --
PENCE: Go right ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just want to follow up on that question. What specific concessions did Turkey receive? Specifically, I want to ask you if they
brought up the issue of the bank, hall bank, or bank --
PENCE: Not in the context of these negotiations. I think when we had concluded the negotiations, the topic was raised, and we informed them that
that was a matter for the Southern District of New York and the Justice Department.
But let me say, the concessions that the United States made have to do with the fact that the president had made it clear that if there had not been a
ceasefire today, there would have been a new round of massive sanctions against Turkey.
And you'll see in the agreement that on the basis of the pause of 120 hours, a ceasefire over the next five days, that we will not be
implementing additional sanctions during that period of time. Once we have a permanent ceasefire, following the orderly withdrawal of all YPG forces,
the United States also agreed to withdraw the sanctions that were imposed on several cabinet officials and several agencies earlier this week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just do a follow up. To clear though, just know it's done. So it was simply the sanctions that would be removed. Nothing else
was offered -- yes, go ahead. Please go ahead.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. While you're here negotiating with the Turks who several hours
voted you -- can I finish real quick?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait -- using the sanctions as a blackmail to major allies for the secretary of PKK/YPG-- (inaudible).
PENCE: The United States of America did not support Turkey's military action in Syria. President Trump made that very clear to his friend,
The United States imposed sanctions earlier this week. And the president made it clear yesterday and we made it clear again today that there would
be additional sanctions coming. We would like to bring an end to the violence, to the loss of innocent lives in this border conflict.
That being said, let me say, I really believe today -- today's ceasefire is a credit to President Trump and to President Erdogan. It's a credit to the
strong relationship between the United States and Turkey. It's also a credit to the strong relationship between our two leaders.
Where there are differences between friends, it's important that the friends let their feelings be known. President Trump did that in this
case. But it facilitated us being able to reach an agreement that has now resulted in a ceasefire
And we believe will set the stage for creating a peaceful and stable, a safe zone, and the United States is committed to achieving that for all the
people of this region.
COLLINS: Mr. Vice president, can I finish my question that I started, please?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Vice President Mike Pence there along with the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in Ankara, Turkey,
announcing that the U.S. and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire, 120 hours for Kurdish forces to leave this area in Northern Syria.
Just to be clear what's happening here -- this is being spun by the administration, by the vice president, as a U.S. saves the day situation,
but this is a cleanup mission. And by all accounts, from critics of the president's, from people who are normally his allies, this is actually a
huge deadly mess, arguably strategically misguided that was caused by the U.S.
You heard Vice President Pence there say the U.S. did not support the Turkish invasion. Well, the U.S. made, by all accounts, this Turkish
invasion of Northern Syria possible, taking on the Kurds, former allies of the U.S. who fought alongside U.S. Troops, really taking the brunt --
11,000 casualties in the fight against ISIS -- and this ceasefire, just to be clear what's happening here, this is where the Kurds live. This is
So I want to bring in Nick Paton Walsh. He is nearby in Erbil, Iraq. This is 120 -- and Barbara Starr who is with us from the Pentagon. Nick, this
is 120 hours for the Kurdish Forces to leave. This is their home.
So, this is a situation where the U.S. Has brokered, certainly ratcheting down the violence so that they can withdraw, but this is not as it would
have been made to appear there in this press conference.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of stuff we simply don't know from hearing Vice President Pence talk. He hasn't stashed what
he means by "the safe zone."