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Months of protests, thousands dead and growing international pressure.
Still, Syria's Foreign Minister reacts defiantly to the decision to
suspend his country from the Arab League. If the Arab League's
decision to suspend Syria's membership is a seriously dangerous
Welcome to GMT, I'm Naga Munchetty. Also in the programme: They are
appointed, not elected, but Italy and Greece hope the new technocrat
leaders will put their economies back on-track.
If in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the man who confessed to
killing 77 people in July, has made his first court appearance.
Hello, it is 12:30pm here in London, 1:30pm in Brussels and it is early
afternoon in Damascus which is where international pressure is
mounting on Syria to end months of repression that began in March and
has left thousands of people dead. European foreign ministers are
meeting in Brussels to tighten sanctions against President Bashar
al-Assad's regime. The Arab League voted to suspend Syria's membership.
Still, Syria remains defiant. The country's Foreign Minister, Walid
Al-Moualem, has condemned the move and said Syria will not be treated
as another live via -- Libya. From the Syrian government, some
grand Theatre. A series of pro- government demonstrations
encouraged and choreographed by the authorities. It is all designed to
stress Syria's anger and defiance at being suspended from the Arab
League. Many of these Syrians genuinely support President Assad.
Many others have been pushed to attend. The government has not lost
its centre of self-righteousness. TRANSLATION: That Arab League
decision has not been issued by a unanimous vote. It is illegal. It
does not rely on the legality of the Charter of the league. We have
said in the past and we would like to stress again, that Syria has
dealt and is dealing with the fires of reforms and dialogue and for
halting blood spilling of the citizens. The the Foreign Minister
did apologise to these attacks at the weekend on the embassies of the
countries which have been toughest on Syria, including Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and Turkey. It seems Syria now regrets a move which just
antagonised its opponents and made any compromise with the Arab League
any less likely. Already, ministers from the European Union are meeting
to discuss further sanctions on Syria, with new pressure also for
action at the UN Security Council. We have taken very strong measures
in the European Union, as I said, we can add to those. I don't see
any other, the most specific proposition that we can react to.
We will discuss things further at the United Nations Security Council.
Sanctions are already biting, although these queues for gas at
the city of Homs, could have been caused by the government trying to
starve out the opposition who are strong there. A ban on the sale of
Syrian oil to Europe is hitting a vital source of currency for
President Assad's government. Opposition supporters have been
celebrating the Arab League decision but already calling for
more. They want a no-fly zone and military intervention but for the
moment, those are not on the agenda. In men, we will talk to our
correspondent Matthew Price in Brussels -- in a moment. First of
all, we can speak to Jonathan Head in Istanbul. I do not think Turkey
could have made its position any more clear? I think now the Turks
are making it absolutely clear that they have given up on President
Assad, a man with whom they have built the strongest relationship
with any government. Turkey says it will now back the justified demands
of the Syrian people by campaigning against the Syrian government. They
are angry about the attacks on its embassies but they also angry at
the failure of President Assad for the promises he made earlier this
year. It does not want to go out on its own taking international action
against Syria, it wants action from the United Nations, China and
Russia. That could change if the Arab League stands by its
suspension. Turkey is talking about imposing more sanctions and as one
of Syria's biggest trading partners, they could have a big impact,
especially if it targets banking or the oil industry. A lot of Turkish
businesses would lose out. It has not yet formally recognised the
Syrian National Council as a representative of the Syrian people.
The big steps from Turkey is yet to come but the language is very
hostile against the Syrian government. Jonathan, thank you.
Matthew, in Brussels, leaders' meeting today, what is expected to
come out of this meeting? I have been led to believe there what will
happen is there will be a tightening, if you like, of the
sanctions -- sanctions. Further sanctions against the individuals
who EU foreign ministers believe are connected with the repression
in Syria. Also trying to cut off even more the financial flows to
Damascus. It is expected the investment bank will cease
disbursing its loans to Syria. That is all part of a strategy from the
European Union to further isolate Damascus. What Jonathan has been
talking about also feeds into that strategy. As Jonathan said, they
need the Arab League countries to be applying pressure. And then that
other thread of this, if you like, the sanctions on one hand out of
Europe, the pressure from the Arab League but the third important
thing coming from the UN, trying to brush countries like Britain,
Germany, France and others, trying to push for a very strongly worded
Security Council resolution condemning what has been going on
in Syria. At the moment it looks like the Chinese are starting to
come more on to that side. The big hold out in the Security Council as
of are the Russians. The foreign policy chief for the European Union,
Catherine Ashton, is going to Moscow on Friday for talks with the
Russian Foreign Minister. One source has told me that although
they do not hold out great hopes that it might yield anything, she
will be trying to put as much pressure as possible on the
Russians to change their approach against Syria. There is not much
hope that at this stage they are likely to do that. Thank you.
The King of Jordan has called on the Syrian President to step down.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Lyse Doucet, King Abdullah
said he feared more violence. would believe that if I was in his
shoes, I would step down. However, if I was in his position, if it was
me, I would step down and make sure that whoever comes behind Make has
the ability to change the status quo of what we are seeing. I don't
think the system allows for that. If President Bashar al-Assad has
the interests of his country, he would step down but he would also
create a new phase of political life. Interesting comments. Lyse
Doucet is with me now. He has not said anything like this before, has
the? No, but we have not seen this action from the Arab League before.
It comes after a very long time of getting promises from President
Bashar al-Assad and those promises not been capped. What the king was
very adamant about was it was not a question of one individual. He was
very careful to say it is a system, it is not just one man. I think the
worry in the region and beyond that if one leader steps down, what
would come next? What instability would there be? The Arab League
have said they will meet some members of the Syrian opposition
later this week that is the Syrian opposition ready to take over? His
comments will represent a turning point in how Arab leaders will deal
with President Assad. Do you think he was aware of this? Is this a
move to intensify the pressure as we are seeing? Eight was very
interesting because he is a cautious King. It took him a long
time to say, if I was in his place. He said it with some regret. Don't
forget, these two leaders took power from their fathers at the
same time, a little over a decade ago. He mentioned how President
Assad had the soul of reform so he was frustrated that he had not been
able to move forward. We can now speak to the director of the Middle
East Centre at the London School of Economics. I'm not sure if you
heard what Lyse Doucet was saying, what do you make of these latest
comments from King Abdullah? If it tells you a great deal that even
the Arab states have come to the conclusion that President Assad's
position is extremely untenable. The Americans have made similar
remarks a few days ago. One of the major officials on the Middle East
said he has heard many Arab leaders saying President Assad's days are
numbered. What you have now is what I call the convergence between
international pressure from the international community,
particularly from the United States and Western Europe, and this is a
point want to make that the United States is waging a war against
Syria by other means, it is an economic war, the media war and a
psychological war. Now Turkey has joined. Now you have the Arab
League. Remember, what the Arab League has said, this is the first
step. On Wednesday, the Arab League will be meeting with the Syrian
opposition. It has threatened to pull out ambassadors from Damascus,
impose economic and political sanctions and even more importantly,
it has threatened to basically recognise the Syrian opposition. If
I was sitting in Damascus today, I would be extremely anxious. Syria's
response in the last few days, first they dismiss the Arab League
as worthless, they said it was an extension of the western American
conspiracy. Then they called for a meeting for the heads of the Arab
states and now you have Walid Al- Moualem, the Syrian Foreign
Minister St this is a very dangerous step. He said I hope our
Chinese and Russian friends would continue to lose the United Nations
council. -- to oppose. He said the Arab League might go to the
Security Council and ask for protection of Syrian civilians. It
seems to made the Libyan scenario all over again. You have the Arab
League taking the step by going to the United Nations Security Council.
This tells you that the game is changing. The crisis in Syria is
reaching a climax. The opposition and Syria does not appreciate the
gravity of the crisis. It is interesting that you say the Libyan
scenario all over again but I asked King Abdullah about the possibility
of military intervention and he says no one is calling for that.
Now I think there is some concern about whether that is desirable and
whether that is possible. He said he believes that the Syrian
leadership believes it is still in a comfortable place, in other words,
that the end is not in sight. I say the Libyan scenario, I do not
mean about NATO's military intervention in Syria. Both the
United States and European Community have made it clear that
there is no military option a long Libyan lines. Let me give you a
scenario whereby if you have military escalation, if you have
10,000 people killed and the next few weeks, you might have a very
different response by Washington and Europe and also by regional and
Arab states. You might have a no- fly zone, has a fare in Turkey, you
might have an escalation of tensions in Syria -- you might have
a safe haven in Turkey. Or the Arab League said was specifically it
called on the Syrian army to disobey the orders of the Syrian
government and not fire on civilians. What you might have, the
question of legitimacy legitimising the opposition, you might have more
and more security forces and Syrian army troops defecting to the
opposition and you might have the strategic situation change among
the ground in Syria as a result of Arab regional and international
actions on the ground. It is very good to get your opinion and
thoughts today. Thank you for joining me from the London School
of Economics and Lyse Doucet, thank you and to reiterate you have
interviewed the King of Jordan and he has called on the Syrian
President to step down. He said if he was in his shoes he would step
Let's take a look at some of the other stories making headlines
around the world today. Anders Behring Breivik, the man
who's confessed to killing 77 people in July, has been appearing
in court in Oslo. Hundreds of journalists, as well as family and
friends of those who were killed were waiting for him when he
arrived at court this morning. It's Brievik's first open court
appearance since he was taken into custody. He has said he wants to
explain why he carried out the attacks on Norway's government
offices in Oslo, and the nearby island of Utoeya.
With me now via webcam from Norway is Norwegian journalist, Ketil
Stensru. Just described to me the mood, not only outside the court,
it is understandable the family and friends of victims are there, but
what about Norway? This was a country shattered by these events?
Today marked a special and strange occasion when Anders Behring
Breivik was able to meet people for the first time. When the same
applies for the victims' relatives when they were able to meet Anders
Behring Breivik in person and get some sense of what he felt like.
What is expected to be heard? He said he is going to explain why he
did what he did, what answers do people want? They want to get some
justification. How could he resonate himself to carrying out
these attacks and at what sort of ideological grounds can he justify
killing his own people? And I think it is incomprehensible what has
happened, so people have a great need to see him and see what kind
of frame of mind he is in. As he is brought to trial, is there any
expectation of what may be the outcome of this trial. Obviously,
today was another hearing were the state applied for solitary
confinement. The state wanted an extension of 12 weeks. I think they
got that. For him, he again pleaded not guilty to the charges. And for
him, it is another chance to be in the limelight for the first time
and a chance for him to spread his ideology and explain himself.
will keep a close eye on events. Thanks for speaking to me today.
They're the unelected leaders, the technocrats, whose job it now is to
guide their countries through economic crisis. Italy's Prime
Minister designate, Mario Monti, and Greece's Prime Minister, Lucas
Papademos, have been put in place to implement tough austerity
measures needed to balance the countries' books. It's an unusual
position for both democracies to be in - as Humphrey Hawksley reports.
We can speak to our correspondent in Rome. David, it is an
interesting day for Mario Monti to begin this process. Is there much
faith in him being successful? has the goodwill of a lot of
Italians. They feel more com -- comfortable he is qualified to do
with this crisis. He has to choose his cabinet very carefully among
possible candidates, technocrats, in other words civil servants to
have given good service to their country and could be Government
ministers in the months to come. But I don't think we are going to
get a cabinet line-up until tomorrow some time. At which point,
he will be sworn in as Prime Minister, together with members of
his Cabinet. More importantly, later in the week he will have to
go before Parliament and get a confidence vote. This is I think it
a foregone conclusion also. However, it is important to see that Mr
Berlusconi, who has resigned during the weekend as Prime Minister, has
been leading the country for 17 years on and off. He has made it
clear he doesn't intend to retire from politics. He is going to
monitor, he says, the performance of Mario Monti and has made a
veiled threat, as he put it, to pull the plug on Mario Monti, if he
considers his performance is not up to scratch. Mr Berlusconi still has
a majority, a Parliamentary majority in one of the houses of
Parliament. He lost his majority in the Chamber of Deputies, he could
still muster a winning majority in the Senate, the Upper House.
Basically, he makes no secret of the fact he wants to see the Mario
Monti administration, if and when it is formed to have a very limited
shelf-life. Thanks for your thoughts.
Still to come: Digging up the dirt at all reinvestigate mining
corruption in the poorest paradise of Goa.
Now time to get the business news. Is it paradise for Italy yet? 7.48
% and that it was the bonds yield? It has come down a little?
focus is the market reaction. The whole reason the Italians pushed
through the placement of Mario Monti, so everything would be in
place when the markets open this morning, Monday morning there would
be credibility. Some cautious optimism, they were higher, but if
you blinked you missed it because the markets have returned to having
a sour taste in their mouth. The market's love the fact there is a
technocrat, a respectable, highly credible technocrat in charge of
Italy but they want to see what Mario Monti is going to do about
the two trillion worth of debt it elicits on. What we do about the
poor business interests that has crippled Italy's growth. Let's have
a listen to the boss of the German exporters Association, what he has
to say about Italy and Mario Monti. We are fighting very hard for the
Euro but not at any price. The problem is here in Italy and the
Italians have to understand it is up to them to prevent us going into
a recession and going into a worldwide depression. Italy
borrowed 3 billion euros from the markets today. They got all they
wanted but they have to say 6.3% interest, very expensive. Not cheap.
Europe has been S -- asking China for help with limited success?
this whole crisis rumbles on, the pressure has been on the bigger
emerging economies. We know what the Europeans want from Beijing.
The focus over the weekend was on India. The World economic Forum was
taking place in Mumbai. Encouraging wells from India. I will quote the
commerce minister in India, he says India will be part of the
stabilisation process when it comes to what is happening in Europe.
Strong words. It doesn't mean India is going to put its hand in its
pocket and contribute to any form a bail-out. This isn't necessarily
about the money, it is about making sure a country like India and
emerging economy being looked at by the world is their bodies be parts
of the world that are struggling and keeping the trade routes
opening and keeping a sense of nurturing and fostering relations.
Many Indian companies have relied on areas like the eurozone to grow
and succeed over the past decade. So India is looking at this as, we
are here to help and open for business. Open for business but no
money at the moment. For more on Italy's new Prime
Minister designate, head to our website. There is a profile of
Mario Monti and plenty more information and analysis.
The headlines: The Syrian foreign minister has spoken defiantly
following international condemnation of the country's
suppression of anti-government protests.
The new unelected leaders of Italy and Greece begin putting together
of the Government and policies they hope will put their economies back
on track. Another huge corruption scandal is
looming in India, this time over its mining industry. Exports of
iron ore have been stopped in the state of Karnataka amid allegations
corrupt officials allow widespread, illegal mining. Government inquiry
is looking into more serious violations by iron ore producers in
Goa. This is the view of Goa tourists
never see. A landscape scarred by a new kind of gold rush. For iron ore,
and almost all of it is going to China. That, says critics has led
to over mining, corruption and environmental disrupt --
destruction and they are calling for the industry to be closed down.
More and more going to China, a superpower. It is making its strong
at the cost of the destruction of Goa. The constant flow of trucks
carrying iron ore from the minds leave a constant cloud of dust.
There is no escape from it for this spot primary school. The uniform is
paid for by the mining industry. The dust causes them breathing
problems and teachers say it is something the industry disputes.
Next stop on the Road to China, the iron ore is loaded on to barges.
But mining companies are worried that a Government inquiry into
illegal mining and corruption will smother them all. Everyone in Goa
has benefited from the iron ore bonanza they say, making it one of
India's richer states. There have been violations the Chief Mining
spokesman admits, but don't risk everything to read them out.
have free health care, free education and we have negligible
poverty. You cannot fight in legality, you have to address it.
The hardest part is to say, how do we address it without destroying an
economy. The next stage for Goa's iron ore? The slow boat to China.
Globalisation in action and some in India are reaping the benefits, but
with such huge needs for steel itself, they may be short-lived.
All this iron ore heading to China have made some people rich. India
is obsessed with the question of whether it was taken out of the
ground illegally. Very few people asking whether it should be taken
out of India at all. The simple answer is that India doesn't have
the technology to use this kind of iron ore. But China does, allowing
it to keep sailing ahead. We are coming to the end of the
programme, but let me remind you of the main story?
The BBC has interviewed King Abdullah of Jordan. He said if he
were in the shoes of the Syrian President, he would consider
International news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story with Naga Munchetty.
Featuring exclusive reports from BBC World News correspondents based around the world, plus up-to-the-minute global business news.