October 18th, 2015
04:22 PM ET

#FZGPS: President Poroshenko on MH17 and whether Ukraine is ready to join NATO

On Sunday’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS on CNN/U.S. features an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who spoke about the Dutch investigation this week that concluded last year’s Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot from the sky by a Russian-made missile and whether Ukraine is ready to join NATO.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST:  When Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine 15 months ago, 193 Dutch citizens perished. This week, their nation, the Netherlands, released a damning investigative report on how and why its citizens and 105 others died. The report pointed fingers in two different directions. It said that a Russian-made Bukh missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists is what downed the airliner. But the report also put some lesser blame on Ukraine, saying the nation had sufficient reason to close its air space before the shoot down occurred. Joining me now for an exclusive interview is Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko. Thank you for joining me, Mr. President.

PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Thank you for the invitation.

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that Ukraine should have shut down its air space, given the knowledge you had, the violence that was already afoot?

POROSHENKO: Yeah, of course, Ukraine is strictly follow all the recommendations of the ICAO and at that time we closed the air space at the height, it seems to me, 9,725 meters. We don't have any information which give us the necessity to close the air spot above this echelon and we strictly followed the recommendation of the ICAO.

We cannot imagine that the Russia will transfer these highly sophisticated and very technological weapons to the hands of the terrorists and they don't have any background, any–basis for making this decision.

ZAKARIA: One of the things people are trying to figure out in the West is, is Vladimir Putin searching for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine? Is he searching for a way to deescalate the situation, to stabilize the situation because he faces a shrinking economy, sanctions, a collapse of oil prices, and now, of course, he has this intervention in Syria? Do you believe that Putin is looking for some kind of settlement?

Do you see any signs of that?

POROSHENKO: I wish, but unfortunately, no. Unfortunately, the - until the September, we have an active committed operation and only now, we have a cease-fire. But unfortunately we don't have any continuation of the implementation of the Minsk process. The same as I told you, the first decision which Putin should make is withdraw his troops from Ukrainian territory. And I think that the absolutely irresponsible behavior of Russia in Syria, when he launched this operation, this is simply continued the logic, logic which we said even last year, at first, it was the Crimea, second, it was Donbass, third, it is Syria, fourth maybe, I don't know, Afghanistan.

And nobody knows where the Russian green soldiers can appear in the very next moment.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, you were seen recently in a Ukrainian plane that has been outfitted to NATO standards. And so I wonder do you want Ukraine to become a member of NATO?

POROSHENKO: This is a very important question. Of course, I want peace, security as a president for my country and for my people, especially in this situation, where we are under attack of Russia, when we are the object of aggression. And NATO today is maybe the only most effective mechanism to provide security, because after Russian aggression in my country, they completely destroyed all the post-war security systems based on the statute and charter and principles of the United Nations, because when we have a situation, one of the permanent members of the Security Council is an aggressor, that - and he's using his veto right, that means that the old mechanism which was created is not working.

And now it is my responsibility to provide and implement reform in my country, to transform the country to the NATO. And then we will have this discussion. I think I need for that at least five, six years.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, a pleasure to have you on.

POROSHENKO: Thank you very much indeed.

END

October 18th, 2015
12:38 PM ET

President Kenyatta on gay rights in Kenya

On today’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS (10:00am and 1:00pm in North America) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke about domestic homeland security and the state of rights for homosexuals in Kenya.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST:  The East African nation of Kenya has seen great highs and great lows of late. In April, Al Shabaab militants stormed across the porous border from Somalia and killed almost 150 people at a Kenyan university. That followed the infamous Westgate Mall siege – also by Al Shabaab – that killed 67 people and lasted 4 days. In July, President Obama made his first trip as President to his father's native land. In the weeks leading up the President's arrival, the U.S. conducted drone strikes against Al Shabaab in their sanctuary of Somalia. I recently had the chance to sit down with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss terror, economics, and playing host to President Obama.

ZAKARIA: President Kenyatta, pleasure to have you on.

UHURU KENYATTA, PRESIDENT OF KENYA: Happy to see you.

ZAKARIA: Let's talk first about terrorism. The world has been astonished over the last few years to see the rise of – first it was Al Qaeda type affiliates, now it appears to be ISIS type affiliates in Africa, Why is this happening?

KENYATTA: I think the best way to put this is that this is really, this is an argument I've been putting, this is not really a Kenyan situation. You've first of all got to recognize the neighborhood that we live in. You know we had a failed state right next to our border, a state where there was no rule of law, there was no government, it was just open vastland. So when Al Qaeda sort of took root and they didn't take root in Kenya, they found in Somalia, a haven where they could do their training, they could do almost anything.

ZAKARIA: You must have studied though this issue of why some Muslims get radicalized because you have a Muslim population in Kenya and some have gotten radicalized. You must look at Boko Haram in Nigeria and think about the same thing.  What is the answer? What is – what seems to be attractive to young men particularly?

KENYATTA: One let's put it that first and foremost let's say that there may be genuine grievances, they may have.

But then on top of it you've got this group of radical preachers who come and give a very warped view of religion you know at Friday – at Friday Mosque. You know start telling them that what you're doing you know you're doing for god, you're doing for you know, it's for your religion and for God, right?

Now this is what we've really got to focus ourselves on. You know how do you make this not so attractive? We got to start creating the Muslim leadership in the world to start saying “no” Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda do not represent the true faith; this is the true faith.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about economics. For a while Africa was seen as this great hope but a lot of investors I talk to and a lot of businessmen say much of the reform that they had hoped would take place in Africa has stalled.

Because at the – you know between corruption and dysfunction and bad government there is still so much of it in Africa that it's blocking progress. Would you agree with that?

KENYATTA: I would look at it differently. I would look at it and say that the African renaissance is still on. I would say that yes indeed we do have challenges and challenges have been there. There is actual true realization that we need to reform our system to match the growth and to sustain the growth trajectory that we've taken.

This is why Kenyans chose for themselves a new constitution in 2010 that sought to reorganize the way we manage our business as a country. That's why they removed certain powers from the President, and gave them to independent institutions to remove that personality driven cult that one man controls the entire system.  And I believe this is working.

ZAKARIA: But people still say you are supremely powerful, you personally.

KENYATTA: Well I don't know about supremely powerful but if you – if you actually look at the situation that we have today in Kenya and compare it to where we were before that is actually you know not the case. I have no power to appoint or fire judges any more. Really my role is more or less an understand of saying that whatever the commission does you know the judiciary has gained its independence.

The same applies to the legislature. Now where the issue of power comes from is where they say oh but you control Parliament. But yes it's true, we have a majority in Parliament, we have that majority because the people chose to give that majority to the party to which I belong to.

ZAKARIA: When people talk about gay rights to you and President Obama did this on his visit there. You say look, we have our culture we have our traditions, don't try to impose your values on us. The problem for many in the west is that it's not really seen as a matter of cultural values it's seen as a matter of innate human rights that these people are – you know that you are in effect depriving people of their rights merely because of something that is God-given. That is – that they were born with, that there is increasing scientific evidence that this is the case. And why would you persecute people for something that they have ultimately no control over?

KENYATTA: Let me make it clear to you and put it this way, right. I think first and foremost we're all saying that whatever society you come from right, the principal aim is that you must give the people you know their right to choose, all right?

Now where we are and at the level of development that we are in, I am not saying that these people don't have their rights, that's not what I'm saying. I am just saying that the majority – the majority in our society yes, do not wish to legalize, yes, this issue of gay rights.

ZAKARIA: Can you persuade them?

KENYATTA: The people in Kenya are not, at this point in time, and that's exactly what I said when we were with President Obama, yes. To them this is not an issue that they are going to put at the center. They have more pressing issues.

However, that said and done I am also, right, and will not allow people to persecute any individuals yes. Or just to beat them, or to you know torture them, you know.

ZAKARIA: But you do allow persecution because they're – because they're criminalized.

KENYATTA: What I'm saying witch hunts - what I am saying is witch hunts. You know we won't allow people to take the law into their own hands and harass and no we won't. All right. Every individual has a right to be protected by the law and that's stated in our constitution, all right.

But what we are saying is that as a society, right, we do not accept some of these values, right. And this is where I am saying we have to get synergies. You’re not going to create the United States or Great Britain or the Netherlands in Kenya, or in Nigeria or Senegal overnight. We have to understand that these are processes and they take time.

ZAKARIA: President Kenyatta, pleasure to have you on.

KENYATTA: Been great.

END

October 16th, 2015
12:13 PM ET

Preview: CNN International Programme Information Weeks 45 and 46

CULINARY JOURNEYS

René Redzepi

René Redzepi

Friday 6 November at 1630 GMT / 1730 CET

Saturday 7 November at 2030 GMT / 2130 CET

Sunday 8 November at 0130 GMT / 0230 CET

Tuesday 10 November at 1030 GMT / 1130 CET

Wednesday 11 November at 0430 GMT / 0530 CET

Duration 30 minutes

This month, ‘Culinary Journeys’ features one of the most visionary chefs in the world of international gastronomy: René Redzepi of Noma fame. Inspired by a childhood memory, Redzepi embarks on a gastronomic journey from Denmark to Turkey to explore an iconic dish: the baklava. FULL POST


Topics: CNN
CNN adds to Africa strength with Eleni Giokos appointment
Eleni Giokos
October 16th, 2015
10:39 AM ET

CNN adds to Africa strength with Eleni Giokos appointment

London, 16 October 2015. CNN International has hired Eleni Giokos as a business correspondent, based in the network’s Johannesburg bureau.

Giokos, who joins from Bloomberg TV Africa, will take on a range of responsibilities for the network.  In addition to reporting on news and business stories, she will also work across CNN’s African feature programmes, including Marketplace Africa and African Voices.

Mike McCarthy, Senior Vice President, Programming, at CNN International, said: “Eleni is an enormously talented and versatile broadcaster.  She has interviewed world leaders, covered major breaking news stories, and presented network feature programmes.  Her appointment underlines our commitment to African stories and African audiences.  We’re delighted to have her here at CNN.”

Giokos began her career at CNBC Africa, before moving to 24 hour news channel eNCA, where she was an anchor and correspondent.  She then joined Bloomberg TV Africa as senior anchor and financial journalist, anchoring two programmes for the channel.

She has interviewed the likes of South Africa President Jacob Zuma, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, IMF MD Christine Lagarde, and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

FULL POST


Topics: CNN
October 14th, 2015
12:47 PM ET

CNN HAS HIGHEST DEMOCRATIC DEBATE RATINGS IN HISTORY

cnn-logo-square

15.3 MILLION TUNE-IN FOR CNN DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES' DEBATE ON TELEVISION

Democratic Debate Live Stream Sets New Record

According to Nielsen Fast National ratings data, last night’s CNN Facebook Democratic candidates’ presidential debate moderated by Anderson Cooper averaged 15.3 million total viewers.  In the demo 25-54, the debate averaged 4.8 million - the highest ever for a Democratic debate.

Prior to last night’s debate, the highest rated Democratic presidential primary debate on cable news was CNN’s 2008 Los Angeles Debate (1/31/08), which averaged 8.3 million viewers.  On broadcast, the highest rated was ABC’s 2008 Philadelphia Democratic debate (4/16/08), averaging 10.7 million viewers.

This was the 6th highest non-sports cable telecast on record.

CNN live streamed the debate to CNN.com, its mobile apps and Apple TV, setting an all-time record for peak concurrent streams of a live news event.  At 10:20pm, usage peaked at 980,000 concurrent streams, topping the 921,000 peak concurrent streams CNN saw of its GOP debate at Reagan Library.  For comparison, it’s estimated that NBC pulled in 1.3 million peak concurrent streams of the Super Bowl earlier this year.

In addition, CNN’s Democratic debate day earned 4.3 million total live streams (web, app, and Apple TV) and more than 13 million total video starts.

 


Topics: CNN
HYACINTHE BOOWUROSIGUE SANOU NAMED CNN MULTICHOICE AFRICAN JOURNALIST 2015
Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou named CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015
October 12th, 2015
03:49 AM ET

HYACINTHE BOOWUROSIGUE SANOU NAMED CNN MULTICHOICE AFRICAN JOURNALIST 2015

Burkinabé journalist Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou has been awarded the top prize at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 Awards Ceremony.

Boowurosigue Sanou was awarded the overall ‘CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year’ Award for his work ‘Nuit du 29 octobre à Azalaï : Nous étions à la chambre 143’, which appeared in Burkinabé daily print newspaper L'Observateur Paalga and was chosen from entries spanning 39 nations across the African continent. FULL POST


Topics: CNN
October 11th, 2015
01:17 PM ET

#FZGPS: America's TPP deal negotiator responds to 2016ers' criticism – "We're convinced it's a very high standard deal"

Sunday’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS on CNN/U.S. features an exclusive interview with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman who led the American negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal between the U.S. and 11 Asian and North American nations of the Pacific Rim – an estimated 40 percent of the global economy. They discussed the logistics, the politics, and the next steps for ‘the TPP,’ and what the deal means for American jobs and the global economy.  This interview aired in its entirety on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 10am &1pm ET on CNN/U.S.:

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST:  Some say it is a cornerstone foreign policy accomplishment for the Obama administration. But the president's former Secretary of State came out against it this week. I'm not talking about the Iran nuclear deal, but about something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is a massive trade deal negotiated by the United States with 11 different nations comprising 40 percent of the global economy.

So why is Mrs. Clinton now against something that, according to CNN's count, she has pushed 45 times in the past publicly? And if it's such a great deal, why is the administration being secretive about the details?

We will get to all of that with my next guest, the man who oversaw the deal, the United States Trade Representative, Michael Froman.

Mike, nice to have you on.

MICHAEL FROMAN, U.S.  TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Good to be here.

ZAKARIA: First, 11 nations, this took six years - it's quite an accomplishment. And I've got to ask you, what is the key to getting a deal of this magnitude? What did you learn about negotiating?

FROMAN: Well, I think it took a lot of persistence by all 12 countries working together to reach an agreement that's going to create jobs and increase wages and promote growth across the whole region.

ZAKARIA: It was six years in the making. During a good bit of that time, the Secretary of State you were dealing with was Hillary Clinton. Publicly she supported it, as we point out, 45 times. Was she very supportive privately, as well?

FROMAN: I won't comment on presidential politics, just to say that we're all focused on making sure that through this agreement we can level the playing field and open markets for our exports.

ZAKARIA: But you must have been surprised by her opposition.

FROMAN: Well, again, I think the key thing is to focus on having the deal on the table, having people have a chance to read it, to get into the details, so that they can make a judgment about it.

We're convinced it's a very high-standard deal. It opens markets around the world. It eliminates 18,000 taxes on U.S. exports. It raises labor and environmental standards around the world. It establishes new disciplines on new challenges in the global economy, all of which reflect American interests and American values.

So I'm convinced as the people sit down and take the time to go through it in detail, that they'll come to a positive judgment.

ZAKARIA: So if this is such a good deal, why is it all secret?

FROMAN: Well, you know, it's not all secret. We've put out a lot of information about it along the way, and we're looking forward to getting the text released as soon as possible. The lawyers are working right now to finalize the text and to prepare it for release. We hope to get it out within the next 30 days.

But throughout, it's an international negotiation, and you've got to have some ability to negotiate discreetly with other parties to get to the best possible outcome for American interests. And that's what we've done.

ZAKARIA: And what do you say to people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who say the result of these kind of agreements is Americans - American jobs get shipped overseas?

FROMAN: Well, we've got 95 percent of all the world's consumers living outside the United States. And some of these are the fastest growing and largest economies in the world.

Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, will have three billion middle class consumers in the next 15 years, and for us to be successful, for us to keep businesses here, to manufacture, to grow things here and ship them abroad, we need access to those markets. That's how we're going to grow good paying jobs here in the United States.

We know that export-related jobs pay up to 18 percent more, on average, than non-export-related jobs. So if we can tear down these barriers, level the playing field, increase our exports, we're going to lead to more good paying jobs here in the United States.

ZAKARIA: And the overarching strategic idea, as you say, is this pivot to Asia, to focus on Asia, to make sure that China does not, as the President has said, write the new rules of international trade and commerce.  So there's a very strong foreign policy component to this.  And the pivot to Asia was, of course, something strongly supported by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Do you hope that a President Clinton would follow through on a policy that she was very much part of creating?

FROMAN: Well, I think this is a key part of the rebalancing towards Asia strategy.  It's one of the most concrete manifestations of that policy. And it underscores that the United States is a Pacific power, that we’re going to be involved in the region, and that our partners in the region very much want us to be embedded with them, economically and strategically.

And I think the logic of that will continue to hold going forward.

ZAKARIA: Could China see this as a kind of containment strategy? The United States is ganging up with all its allies and trying to, in some way, shut China out?

FROMAN: TPP is not directed against any country, including China. It is directed at establishing high standards for the region, rules of the road that reflect our interests and our values. And it's meant to encourage other countries to raise their game as well. You know, we already have countries who’ve contacted us, who want to be considered for the next tranche of TPP partners. And we expect that more countries will join over time if they are able and willing to meet the high standards of the agreement.

ZAKARIA: Michael Froman, the man who negotiated the TPP. Thank you.

FROMAN: Thanks for having me.

 

END

October 6th, 2015
12:55 PM ET

Preview: CNN International Programme Information Weeks 43 & 44

OPEN COURT

Andy Murray, Davis Cup Semi Final. Credit: Mark Runnacles / Stringer

Andy Murray, Davis Cup Semi Final. Credit: Mark Runnacles / Stringer

Thursday 22 October at 1030 BST / 1130 CET and 1730 BST / 1830 CET

Saturday 24 October at 0730 BST / 0830 CET and 2230 BST / 2330 CET

Sunday 25 October at 1630 GMT / 1730 CET

Saturday 31 October at 1630 GMT / 1730 CET

Sunday 1 November at 0730 GMT / 0830 CET and 2230 GMT / 2330 CET

Duration: 30 minutes

This month ‘Open Court’ reports around the Davis Cup final, which in late November will see two unlikely suitors competing, Great Britain verses Belgium. The last time Great Britain won the Davis Cup was 1936 and Belgium have never won the tournament. FULL POST


Topics: CNN
Dangote Industries strengthens relationship with CNN International
October 5th, 2015
05:07 AM ET

Dangote Industries strengthens relationship with CNN International

·Dangote renews sponsorship of Facetime within ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ and sponsors new segment ‘Africa Now’

Dangote Industries Limited, one of Africa’s largest business conglomerates is deepening its relationship with CNN International by renewing on-air and digital sponsorship of the prestigious ‘Facetime’ segment within ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’.

‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ is a weekly show on CNN International, which offers a unique window into African business. The new edition of the show is hosted by British-Nigerian CNN anchor Zain Asher, who breaks down the economic trends affecting Africa, interviewing business leaders making and shaping the continent. FULL POST


Topics: CNN
October 4th, 2015
03:09 PM ET

Fareed Zakaria GPS: Benjamin Netanyahu on Russia, Iran, U.S.

On today's FAREED ZAKARIA GPS Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in New York for the opening of United Nations General Assembly debate, discussed Israel’s relationships with the United States and Russia, Ukraine, the civil war inside Syria, and Israel’s opposition to the P5 + 1 nuclear deal with Iran – including his reaction to former President Clinton’s assessment of his Congressional speech as ‘unprecedented.’

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu on Russia's actions inside Syria

Netanyahu on Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas’ statements rejecting the Oslo Accords – and his son’s calls for citizenship rights

Netanyahu’s reaction to former President Clinton’s assessment of his ‘unprecedented’ Congressional speech

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Fareed Zakaria, host, Fareed Zakaria GPS:  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in New York this week to deliver a fiery speech on Thursday to the UN General Assembly.

On Friday, I sat down with him to talk about many topics, all hot buttons at the UN this week: Syria, ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, and the future of Middle East peace.

Prime Minister, pleasure to have you on.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER of ISRAEL:  Good to be back with you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA:   You have painted often a situation that Israel faces that is pretty tough, but I'm now looking at what's going on in Syria and I see Iran all in to try to defend the Assad regime; I see Hezbollah strained, stressed - there are reports that they've lost hundreds, maybe thousands of fighters. Iranian militias are mired there, fighting against ISIS.

Aren't your enemies drained and bleeding right now? Doesn't that give you some space in security terms?

NETANYAHU: Well, that's not exactly what we see. What I see is Iran pushing into Lebanon, into Hezbollah as they’re fighting for Assad; they’re putting inside Lebanon the most devastating weapons on Earth. They’re trying to turn Iran’s rockets that they supplied Hezbollah into precision-guided missiles that can hit any spot in Israel. Hezbollah is putting in SA-22 anti-aircraft missiles that can shoot down our planes, Yakhont anti-ship missiles that can shoot down our gas rigs. That's what we're seeing. And we see Iran trying to establish a second front with Iranian generals in the Golan Heights against Israel.

So we see a different picture. And I've made it very clear what our policy in Syria is. I haven’t intervened in the Syrian internal conflict. But I've said that if anybody wants to use Syrian territory to attack us, we'll take action. If anybody is trying to build a second front against Israel from the Golan, we'll take action. And if anybody wants to use Syrian territory to transfer nuclear weapons to Hezbollah, we'll take action. And we continue to do that.

ZAKARIA: Donald Trump says between Assad and ISIS, he thinks Assad is better. Is Assad better for Israel?

NETANYAHU: Look, I don't know who's better. You know what you have there in Syria, you've got - you've got Assad, you've got Iran, you've got Hezbollah, you've got Daesh, ISIS. You've got these rebels and those rebels. And now you've got Russia. Do you know what's better? I don't know. I know what I have to do to protect the security of Israel.

And the thing that I do is I draw red lines and any time we have the intel, we just keep them. We do not let those actions of aggression against Israel go unpunished.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that Russia's involvement is potentially stabilizing or destabilizing?

NETANYAHU: I don't know. I think time will tell. But I did go to Moscow and spoke very candidly to President Putin and just told him exactly what I just told you. I said these are our policies. We don't want to go back to the days when, you know, Russia and Israel were in an adversarial position. I think we've changed the relationship. And it's, on the whole, good. It's not like the one we have with the United States. Nothing will ever equal that.

But we certainly don't want an adversarial relationship. So we agreed that in a few days’ time, our deputy chiefs of staff will meet to arrange deconfliction - to make sure that we don't bump into Iran. We have different goals. In Syria, I've defined my goals. They're to protect the security of my people and my country. Russia has different goals. But they shouldn't clash.

ZAKARIA: You are a man who has often spoken out against aggression, against, you know - particularly against small countries. One place you have been studiously quiet is Russia's - what many people call aggression against Crimea. And when you were asked about it, you said, well, I've got a lot on my plate. But you are an international statesman. What is your view of what Russia, what Vladimir Putin did in annexing Crimea?

NETANYAHU: We went along with the provisions that the American government put forward. I mean it's very clear we don't approve of this Russian action. But I think we're also cognizant of the fact that we have a - we're bordering Russia right now.

And we are - Israel is a strong country. It's a small strong country. But we also know that we have to make sure that we don't get into unnecessary conflicts. And we have - believe me, we have a lot on our plate. I went to Moscow to make it clear that we should avoid a clash between Russian forces and Israeli forces. That's about as responsible, I think, and statesmanly as I think we should act at this point.

ZAKARIA: What's your view of Putin?

NETANYAHU: Look, there's mutual respect, but that doesn't mean that we have mutual coherence of interests. It's not - it's not the relationship that we have with the United States of America. It never can be. But I think it's important that we make every effort right now to avoid a concussion.

///

ZAKARIA: When we come back, I will ask Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Iran nuclear deal’s biggest opponent, what if any options he has left.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

ZAKARIA: Back now to more of my interview with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in New York this week for the UN General Assembly. ///

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, let me show you a chart. You presented a graphic when you came to the UN, and you detailed exactly what was dangerous about Iran's quest to enrich uranium. And you said this was the key - how much enriched uranium they had. And you drew a line. So I'm going to show you this - this was the - the line you put. This is a chart put out by the White House. And they say, you are right, that Iran was at this point, the red line that you described. But, they say, with this deal, before the sanctions are lifted, Iran has to destroy 98 percent of its enriched uranium; of course, the plutonium pathway, which is the most common way, is blocked, and that the line would have to be drawn way down here.

So I'm asking you, are they right?

NETANYAHU: Look, I'm not going to rehash the deal. I summarized yesterday our main opposition. I didn’t go into the question of centrifuges or R&D or inspections…
ZAKARIA: But are they right? This seems to me - I mean, I asked experts, and they said, yes, if Iran does in the first year before the sanctions are lifted, what it is required to do, it goes - it goes way down.

NETANYAHU: Well, there are a lot of questions that will remain open on this question. But there's one that isn't, and that is that after year 10 and after year 15, all these limitations are lifted. And therefore, Iran will be free to get to the point where it's at the threshold level of producing the fissile material, the nuclear - the indispensable nuclear material, through enrichment, to make an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

ZAKARIA: But they're there right now, as per Bibi Netanyahu's speech two years ago.

NETANYAHU: But they were - but they were held back because of biting sanctions that are now going to be removed.

So I don't want to rehash this. And I was very clear about that. I didn't go into the details. I said, OK, now that it's done, let's look forward. Let's keep Iran's feet to the fire. Let's make sure that they keep all their obligations under the nuclear deal. That's the first thing.

Second thing - let's block Iran's other aggression in the region, because they're doing everything. They're trying to encircle Israel with a noose of death. They're sending weapons to the Houthis. They're in Iraq. They're in Afghanistan. They're all over the place. In Yemen, of course. Let's bolster those forces to stand up to Iran's aggression in the region, and none is stronger, none is more reliable than Israel. So I look forward to discussing President Obama's offer to bolster Israel's security when I visit the United States in November.

And the third thing I said - and I drew attention to something that is not well known - let's tear down Iran's global terror network. They're in over 30 countries. They're establishing terror cells in the Western Hemisphere alongside the Eastern Hemisphere. These are things that we agree on.

Yes, we had a disagreement in the family, as President Obama and I both said. But we have no disagreement about blocking Iran's aggression and working against its terrorism. And I think that's what we should focus on now.

ZAKARIA: Last week, Bill Clinton, on this program, said that he thought your speech to the United States Congress at the invitation of John Boehner was unprecedented. And I asked him then, was it unwise? He said, you'll have to ask Prime Minister Netanyahu that.

Was it unwise?

NETANYAHU: I'll ask you a question. If the President of the United States thought that a deal was being forged that would endanger the security and even the very survival of the United States, wouldn't you expect him to speak up at every place, at every forum?

And the answer is, of course you would. That was my obligation. Again, I don't think that we should rehash this. But I think we should focus on what we do agree must be done right now.

President Obama was - called me up at the time that the deal was being debated. And he said, I'd like to talk to you about bolstering Israel's security, about maintaining its qualitative military edge, about preventing things from going into Iran's proxies. Would you like to do that now, or would you like to do it later? And I said I'd like to do it later, the day after.

Well, today in my conversation with John Kerry, this is the day after. And we began that conversation. Our secretary - our minister of defense will be coming to Washington to meet Secretary Carter in a few weeks. And after that, I'll meet President Obama.

I look forward to discussing this with the President. I think it's a very important stage to help us face the challenges that we face.

ZAKARIA: If two years from now, Iran has, in fact, destroyed 98 percent of its en - highly enriched uranium, if the Fordow and Arak facilities have been rendered inoperable, will you call President Obama and say, you know what, maybe this worked a little better than I thought it did?

NETANYAHU: I'll be the happiest person in the world if my concerns prove to be wrong. I - you know, the opposite could also happen, you know.

But I think the issue right now is - it's a practical question right now. It's not an ideological question. It's not a political question. It's a practical question - do they keep the agreement?

And second, what happens 15 years from now, or 10 years from now, when they're basically absolved of any restrictions, which is the main point I've been making. Because, see, they get all these restrictions lifted regardless of their policy. If they continue their aggression...

ZAKARIA: But you get 15 years with no nuclear - with a non-nuclear Iran.

NETANYAHU: Well, assuming they don't cheat.

ZAKARIA: Right.

NETANYAHU: And second, you're also assuming that they would have gone on and continued in the face of very strong sanctions and a military threat. We can - we can argue that. But that's not my purpose now.

My purpose is to focus on what we do agree on. And we absolutely agree on the need to block Iran's aggression in the region. That was never part of the deal - that you let them have a free reign. And the second thing is how to bolster Israel's security, and, by the way, other allies that are facing this same Iranian threat.

And I'd also draw attention to their global terror network. That - these are things that we can concentrate on, and we agree on, and we should cooperate on, and we will cooperate on.  ///

ZAKARIA: When we come back, did any lingering hopes for Middle East peace just blow up at the UN this week? I’ll ask the Prime Minister when we come back.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, you know that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said that he is essentially not going to follow the Oslo process - they will not abide by it any more. You mentioned it in your speech. I want to ask you, since it does feel like the peace process is dead, you know, if it ever had much life in it, about his son. There have been reports…

NETANYAHU: His son?

ZAKARIA: His son has - there are a couple of reports which talked about - a New York Times report, where he gave an interview, and he said, I'm not for my father's plan. I think the peace process is dead. I don't want a two-state solution. I want a one-state solution. I just want rights. I just want political rights. If you're not going to give me a state, give me political rights.

You know that there are other Palestinians who feel this way. In fact, there's Khalil Shikaki, a pollster, who say about a third of Palestinians now, and it is more for younger Palestinians, want just political rights. Will they get them?

NETANYAHU: Well, I think that the right solution is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. They want a Palestinian state; we have a Jewish state. We should have mutual recognition of these two nation states and provisions on the ground by which Israel can defend itself by itself. And I think that's eminently preferable to the idea of a unitary state, which I don't want.

I think the reason the peace process doesn't get - doesn't move forward is because the Palestinians have basically two provisions there. I mean, one is you've got to renounce terrorism and act against it. And unfortunately, that's not what they're doing. We just had, you know, a young mother and a young father brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists - four little orphans in the back of the car. And President Abbas has yet to denounce this.

I mean, on the rare occasions that we have - and we do have, on certain occasions, acts of terrorism by Jews, we always go there like gangbusters. We condemn it. We do everything we can to find them and to fight them.

I expect President Abbas to do the same. So one is, you have to stop this incitement against Israel, because incitement leads to acts of terrorism. But the second thing is you've got to stay in the process. You've got to come and sit on the table.

ZAKARIA: Why not use this opportunity to make a bold counter offer, not just a process one, but an actual proposal for a Palestinian state?

NETANYAHU: Well, I've made several offers, but, you know, the only way - his offers and my offers obviously don't cohere - and I said, look, the only way you're going to do this is let's sit around the table. Here's the litmus test for you…

ZAKARIA: But he says the problem is you're building settlements, even in…

NETANYAHU: Well, I, you know…

ZAKARIA: - even in Area C…

NETANYAHU: - I think the problem is he's inciting terrorism. I think the problem is he's spreading lies about the Temple Mount and what we're doing there. We're the guardians of the Temple Mount - for God's sake, without Israel, you know, what’ll happen on those sacred sites would be what happened in Palmyra in Syria.

ZAKARIA: You…

NETANYAHU: But he - so I have complaints; he has complaints. There's only one way to get a peace process going, peace negotiations going - you've got to sit down and negotiate.

Yet in the seven years that I've been now in - sitting in the prime minister's office in Israel, we haven't had seven hours that he was willing to talk. And it's not because of me. The fact is, I'm willing to have this conversation. He's not.

ZAKARIA: Well he says you're creating facts on the ground...

NETANYAHU: Well so is he…

ZAKARIA: - by building settlements.

NETANYAHU: So is he. He's creating a lot of facts on the ground, and bad facts.

ZAKARIA: - OK, a last question.

You talked about terrorism against Palestinians, terrorism by Israelis. President - the president of Israel says - wonders - he posed this question, why is this culture of extremism flourishing in Israel right now? Do you think that there is an atmosphere that has - that has incited or allowed this kind of extremism to flourish?

NETANYAHU: No, I think the test is not whether societies have extremists; the question is what do the - what does the mainstream do about it. In our case, we go wild against them. Every part of our society unites against any example of terrorism in our midst.

But what I say in Ramallah is that President Abbas calls public squares in honor of mass murderers. And that's unfortunate - that's not - it's a tragedy, I think - for us and the Palestinians, too. The culture of peace, the culture of acceptance, a culture of diversity, you know, for women, for Christians, for gays and so on, is very much ingrained in our culture. And that's why we don't educate our people that we have to destroy the Palestinian. We want peace with the Palestinians. But for that, we have to sit down. And I think that's one order of the day.

And the other order of the day is what I said before. I think we have to protect ourselves against the rising tide of militant Islam - religious fanaticism that is threatening all of us. And Israel is there. It's standing in the breach. And I appreciate the fact that despite our disagreement on the Iran nuclear deal, both the supporters of the deal and the opponents of the deal, those who supported it, those who oppose it, they all agree now we have to strengthen Israel.

And I think that's the best guarantor of peace.

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister Netanyahu, thank you so much.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.  Thank you, Fareed.

### END ###


Topics: CNN • CNN International • Fareed Zakaria • Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iran • Israel • Russia • Syria • Ukraine
tmpl
« older posts
newer posts »