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Remember Ukraine?; Humanitarian Crisis on U.S. Border; Imagine a World
Aired July 16, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, remember Ukraine? As fighting still rages in the East, Europe considers another
barrage of sanctions against Russia and I'll speak live to the Ukrainian foreign minister.
Also ahead, meet the bishop watching a refugee and humanitarian crisis unfold right on America's doorstep.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
While the world focuses on the war in Iraq, Gaza and Syria, could full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine be inching closer?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): E.U. leaders met in Brussels today to discuss the worsening situation and whether to impose fresh sanctions on Russia.
According to the "Financial Times," a leaked draft proposes stepping up sanctions but not yet going all the way to punishing whole sectors of the
Despite the election of a new president, Petro Poroshenko, and his offer of a cease-fire and peace talks, pro-Russian separatists have
escalated their violent holdouts in the past five days. A Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down and a deadly airstrike on a town
near the Russian border killed 11.
Ukraine and its Western partners all accuse Moscow of continuing the flow of fighters and weapons that fan these flames of war. So joining me
now to discuss all of this is Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
Thank you for joining me from Kiev, Mr. Foreign Minister.
Can I start by asking you, do you feel at this moment that your nation is inching, as I suggested, closer to outright war, direct confrontation
PAVLO KLIMKIN, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Good evening from Kiev. Firstly, I don't believe in a straightforward war with Russia because at
the end of the day, Russia should be interested in stable Ukraine. But at the moment, we have conscientious (ph) and intentional destabilization of
Donetsk and Lugansk. We have inflow of weapons, of mercenaries, of heavy weaponry, tents, everything. And as you know, you can probably buy
Kalashnikovs in a kind of shop on the black market.
But you can't buy tents or you can't buy anti-air missiles there. So we have to stop this inflow and we have to effectively control the border.
AMANPOUR: So I want to know how you plan to stop this inflow because, for instance, today in Brussels, Chancellor Merkel has suggested and has
been very upset about this. She said, "Unfortunately, not much has happened since Mr. Poroshenko's visit to our last summit to put into
practice our expectations.
She says that, "No hostages have been released; the border controls have not been established. The contact group isn't working. We will speak
about new sanctions because we believe the Russian contribution to peace in Ukraine is not yet sufficient."
So they're still talking about threatening more sanctions.
Is that going to do it as far as you are concerned?
KLIMKIN: For me, it's not just about sanctions both from the European Union and the United States. For me, it's about the European Union talking
in one voice. For me, it's about continuous solidarity from the European Union. And that's exactly what we need now. And it's, of course, about
bold actions, because solidarity is -- that should be showed exactly when you create is in a critical situation with continuous destabilization of
Donetsk and Lugansk.
And we have a clear framework for the peace settlement. We have presidential peace plan. We have clear idea how it should deescalate the
situation, how it should mitigate situation on the ground and how to address political concerns.
And in that sense, we need bilateral cease-fire. We need bilateral cease-fire now. We need a kind of breakthrough, not just progress, but a
real breakthrough on hostages. And at the moment we have more than 200 hostages there. And we have to get effective border control. And this is
sort of precondition for effective going forward.
AMANPOUR: Well, Minister, let me ask you then. You said all these things that you need. You were on the phone yesterday with fellow foreign
ministers from Germany and from France. And also you spoke with the chief Russian strategy, Sergei Ivanov, about all this.
What is it that you asked him for or that he told you? I know you say you want this, the negotiations to resume, the contact group to resume.
What did Ivanov tell you?
KLIMKIN: It's exactly the point. We need for the trilateral contact group to meet with the separatists. We've been working on that practically
for more than a week. And real problem is the lack of readiness from the separatist side to meet and proposed any sort of compromise venue, to meet
and actually six days ago, we came up with a creative, innovative idea of having a video conference with the separatists, both with Donetsk and
And it took us practically six days just to talk about this video conference. And now it's about Russian influence on the separatists to
make progress on this negotiations. From our side we are -- we are the people of peace. We are fully committed to peace settlement. But for that
we need bilateral cease-fire and we need the readiness of the separatists at least to talk and to talk seriously.
AMANPOUR: Well, President Putin has now recently been publicly calling for a peaceful settlement of all of this.
So are you asking them to put more pressure on the separatists? And what are they saying about their influence with the separatists?
KLIMKIN: Well, they keep saying their influence is limited but of course it's also about continuous inflow of weapons and heavy weaponry from
Russia. It's about a number of extremely tragic cases, like the plane that has been shot down and the shelling of one place in Ukraine.
It's also about cases which go beyond any sort of politics, beyond any moral ground. It's for instance about one Ukrainian hostage who has been
taken, who has been abducted from Lugansk to Russia and now sitting in a Russian prison. And it's exactly a number of cases where we have clear
evidence of Russian influence. And it has to stop in order to be effective on peace settlement.
AMANPOUR: Well, how do you plan to make it stop, then? Because you're coming against a brick wall everywhere you look. You've tried
cease-fire; you've tried peace talks. You've tried a contact group. The E.U. is threatening more sanctions.
How do you think this is going to be resolved? And what do you think is Moscow's aim here?
KLIMKIN: What we have now is, as I said, is a continuous destabilization of Donetsk and Lugansk and this destabilization has to stop
because it's the sort of new warfare for the -- for the Eastern Ukraine. We are pretty confident that we can effectively talk to the separatists if
they are ready to talk. We can talk to them in the format of video conference and of course trilateral contract group can talk to the
separatists also in person.
It's not, of course, about Ukraine talking to separatists. It's not the point here. But we have to elect our contract group, which is fully
able to make contact with the separatists. And this about bilateral cease- fire, it's about releasing hostages. And it's about overseas observers to monitor and verify situation on the ground from the very first moment,
because we need unbiased and transparent monitoring and observation.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Minister, I understand that just before we started this interview, you spoke with President Poroshenko.
What did he tell you, if at all, about this crisis?
And is Ukraine prepared to step up its military attacks against the separatists?
KLIMKIN: Well, we are all in continuous contact. It's not just about one phone call. But from our side, it's not about any sort of military
offensive. For us, it's about saving human lives on the ground. It's about avoiding any sort of human losses. But it's also about restoring law
and order because what the separatists have been doing is just killing and abducting people and if you are a separatist, can you imagine you are
theoretically, you know, want to live on your own land. And what the separatists have been doing, they have been destroying any sort of critical
natural gas pipelines, water pipelines, electricity nets. And you simply can understand that it is sort of intentional, trying to break down the
life in Donetsk and Lugansk and to destabilize both regions.
And it's exactly what has to be stopped.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Foreign Minister Klimkin, thank you very much indeed for joining me from Kiev tonight.
And while the fighting goes on in Ukraine, Russia's client state of Syria is now well into its fourth year of civil war. You'd never know it,
given this surreal stroll down the red carpet by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he prepared to take the oath of office for another seven years.
This after an election that was widely criticized as a sham.
He placed his hand on the Quran and he pledged to continue the fight against what he called terrorists and extremists, a scorched Earth policy
that has killed over 160,000 people and created some 2.5 million refugees, more than half of those are children.
But child refugees aren't just waiting for a new life on the Syrian border. They're also in limbo on another infamous border, the all-American
immigration nightmare when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
All around the world tonight, children will not be sleeping in their own beds. It is a troubling reality of the devastating humanitarian crises
affecting places like Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Congo and so many other places in the world.
And it is also happening somewhere you may not expect: the United States. A surge of unaccompanied children is now sitting -- are now
sitting in detention centers and shelters near the U.S.-Mexico border. The American government has apprehended nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children
crossing the border since October. They're sent on the treacherous journey to America, often alone, for a better life, away from the overwhelming
poverty and violence in their home countries in Central America.
This influx of children presents a major political problem for Barack Obama, whose administration began deporting the first batch of women and
children back to Honduras this week. And the White House spokesman says it should be a signal to potential migrants that they will not be welcomed
with open arms once they reach the United States. With more than 100,000 children expected to make that trek next year, is this an immigration
problem or a refugee crisis?
Bishop Daniel Flores has seen the crisis at the border close up and he joins me now live from McAllen, Texas.
Bishop, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
BISHOP DANIEL FLORES, BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS: My pleasure. Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Tell me what you're seeing yourself. Give me a kind of an inside view of the scope of this, of this horror for these children
FLORES: Well, we've seen for many years a number of unaccompanied minors coming across into the United States, across the Rio Grande River.
But recently, within the last couple of months, as you noted, the numbers have risen substantially.
Unaccompanied minors sometimes with their mothers, sometimes not -- mostly not -- and they are received oftentimes they turn themselves in to
immigration officials and are processed, in a way, seeking asylum or seeking some kind of refugee from the devastating conditions in their
country of origin.
AMANPOUR: What are they telling you precisely about some of these terrors that they're fleeing from?
What stories are you hearing from them?
FLORES: Well, the stories often involve leaving small towns or villages that are afflicted by great violence. Of course, lack of food,
poverty affected them precisely in that manner, where the lack of food, lack of any hope for being able to make their condition any better. A lot
of times I hear that the children will choose to leave. These are 11-, 12- , 13-year olds, choose to leave on their own without necessarily informing their parents.
But I have also heard anecdotally that parents say that the risk is worth it in terms of leaving a situation that is basically hopeless in
terms of what they're facing in their hometowns.
The dangers, of course, I think, it's important to note, of crossing Mexico into the United States is a long and treacherous journey and I think
very often the young people aren't aware -- in fact, I'm quite sure they're aren't aware of the great dangers they face as they cross the interior of
Mexico by bus or on train to finally make it somewhere near to the United States.
AMANPOUR: And so when they get to you, at least, what are you able to deliver? We've already said that many of them are in detention centers;
others are in other kind of military bases and shelters.
What is -- what are you and your community able to provide them?
What do they need most?
FLORES: Well, here in the Rio Grande Valley, from Brownsville up through McAllen, what first happens is that the young people and sometimes,
as I say, accomplished by their mothers, are received by the immigration officials and are processed -- they -- in order for the government to be
able to register who they are, what their particular cases involve.
At that point, government officials make determinations as to what the next step for them is. We then here -- and as far as the local community
is concerned, that would be -- include the church but also city officials, city services, will receive the mothers and the children to be able to
offer them, frankly, the very basics for their next leg of whatever journey is in store for them, whether it's to go see a family member of otherwise.
So we offer them a change of clothing, a shower, some baby clothes if that's needed, some -- very often the -- just a first pair of shoes that
they've seen in a long time. And so we have people on the ground in two major centers here in the Valley that are basically receiving and offering
basically a human contact.
That's after they've been processed by the detention centers and before they go on to perhaps reunite with a family member, awaiting further
later adjudication by the federal government with regard to their individual cases.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's an awful lot for -- you described children of 11 years and that kind of youth to have to tolerate.
We've seen some pictures of some rudimentary tents that you've set up, where they're able to actually get some showers. And it's obviously a very
communal experience for these kids.
But what about some of the trauma? Do you have trained people who can help them through, as you've described, some of the nightmares they've fled
and some of the treacherous experiences they must have had with the coyotes or just getting to the border?
FLORES: Exactly. We are very careful about that, all of our Catholic Charities people who are on the ground, you know, are aware that one must
approach very carefully, asking questions that may suddenly open a wound in terms of what they've seen or what they've experienced.
So we want in certain instances to have trained counselors who are at least aware as to how to approach these issues, especially when you're
dealing with a young person. They don't generally stay with us here in our assistant centers very long because maybe it's a few hours or less than a
day. And then they will move on to -- like I say, to a family member or to someone else elsewhere in the country.
There are large numbers that don't necessarily pass through our assistant centers, the detention facility will act to processing them, then
send them to other centers that are more equipped to handle such large numbers. And those would be in places like San Antonio, Texas, or El Paso
or elsewhere in the country.
But you're absolutely right. We must be very careful. I have had children tell me of some of the things they've seen. And it's -- I think
it's impossible for most people in the United States to imagine both the conditions that they're coming from in their country in terms of just the
fear of a violent death or the conditions that they experienced as they passed through the interior of Mexico, where there's a great deal of
preying upon these youth that come across the interior of Mexico for various reasons, either gangs or cartels or other organized crime activity
that basically takes advantage of and preys upon them as they're making -- because they're very vulnerable. And that's -- as a vulnerable ultimately
until and when they get here. And part of our response and the part of the church is to -- is to address the need that we're facing right in front of
us. There are policy issues that have to be addressed, but the immediate need is to address what the children need and how to help them, because the
church's first response has to be to the human person.
AMANPOUR: You've described incredibly the human cost and the human toll. But you also mention a policy issue. And you can imagine people
watching this broadcast are used to seeing these kinds of terrible refugee crises really all over the world.
I just want to read you something that the pope spoke about recently this week on this issue.
He says, "Despite the large influx of migrants present in all continents and in almost all countries, migration is still seen as an
emergency, or as a circumstantial and sporadic fact, while instead it has now become a hallmark of our society and a challenge."
He's obviously throwing down there a challenge just by saying that. And obviously a challenge to global politics as well and the politics you
find in the U.S. as well.
FLORES: Absolutely. The Holy Father has sent that message to the conference that was being held in Mexico City exactly on the issue of
development in the poor countries of the world, but also how immigration is impacting it.
It is a global phenomenon and it's kind of a hallmark of the moment we're living in. I think the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has spoken very
forcefully about the need for the industrialized countries, the economically developed countries, to be attentive to and not turn a blind
eye through a kind of indifference to the suffering that's affecting such huge swaths of the population across the world.
And it certain is a reality here in the Western Hemisphere. One of the policy realities that we all have to face here in the United States is
that it's beyond being an immigration issue. It is a -- it is a refugee situation that requires a hemispheric response that we must, in a certain
way, in our foreign policy address the instability and the violence and the conditions in these countries of origin.
And in some way all of the countries involved must have a voice in cooperatively trying to find a way to stabilize situations because it's
quite the case that very often, in most cases, people do not really want to leave their country of origin. They love their countries. But desperate
circumstances often call forth desperate responses.
AMANPOUR: Bishop Daniel Flores, thank you so much for telling us these stories and we really appreciate you joining us from Texas this
And after a break, we'll turn from a humanitarian crisis on America's borders to one of humanity's darkest moments, the massacre of thousands of
Muslim men and boys 19 years ago this month in Bosnia. Justice for some means heartache for others, when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, there is no statute of limitations on man's inhumanity to man, be it blood feuds in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Israel,
Gaza or the fate of refugee children at the gateway to America. Now imagine a world where a verdict has been reached in the case of Europe's
worst massacre since World War II. A Dutch court ruled today that the Netherlands is liable for the killings of more than 300 Bosnia Muslim men
and boys back in July of 1995.
It happened, as we know, in the village of Srebrenica where in all more than 7,000 were killed in a genocidal spasm by Bosnian Serb forces.
The case was brought by the victims' relatives, a group called The Mothers of Srebrenica. Ironically, it was the Dutch peacekeeping force that sent -
- that was sent to protect them that was found negligent, handing over those 300 civilians to the Bosnian Serb army, accepting their assurances
that they would be safe.
For their families, there was vindication and the promise of reparations. But for most of the survivors, there would be no chance for
closure or compensation. The court refused to hold the Netherlands responsible for the majority of those slain in Srebrenica 19 years ago this
month. They remain in mass graves, mourned by those who remember and who can never forget.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website, amanpour.com, and follow me on Twitter and
Facebook. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.