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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 23, 2017 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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has said that more than 11 million dollars are thought to be missing from the state coffers following the departure of long—time ruler, yahya jammeh. the white house says it's in the initial stages of discussions about moving the us embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. president donald trump and the israeli prime minister, benjamin neta nyahu, discussed by phone on sunday the palestinian peace process and iran. samsung has said faulty batteries and problems in the manufacturing process are behind some of its phones overheating and bursting into flames. the galaxy note 7 phone was permanently dropped in october last year after a number of handsets malfunctioned and in some cases, burst into flames. let's have a quick look at some of the front pages. the financial times leads with more reaction to the trump administration's hard line against what it is calling
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the dishonest media. the i says the prime minister's post—brexit plan is to reboot british industry. the daily express has claims from a leading brexit campaigner that up to a million eu migrants may head to the uk over the next two years. the metro says theresa may is ready to challenge president trump over sexist remarks when she meets him at the white house on friday. the telegraph says a free trade deal with the united states is likely to open the door to us jobs for british workers. the mirror has more on accusations that the prime minister didn't share knowledge of a failed trident test ahead of a vote to renew the weapons system. and the times reports that rural enterprises will be the biggest losers in upcoming business rate rises in england. now it's time for hardtalk. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk from moscow.
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i'm stephen sackur. according to us intelligence chiefs the kremlin ran a covert operation aimed to influence the us presidential election in favour of donald trump. if they did, it worked, but was it really so? what is the truth behind the swirl of allegations? and what now for russia—us relations? well, i'm going to the kremlin to meet vladimir putin's spokesman, dmitry peskov. is he triumphant or cautious? dmitry peskov, welcome to hardtalk.
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do you care that a host of western intelligence agencies have accused your government of sophisticated, covert operations, dirty tricks, meddling in their internal politics, do you care? you mean cyber attacks? cyber attacks, not just that, but cyber attacks have been one very big part of it. let's talk about the united states first of all. yes. we have to be very precise in wording. you're speaking about secret services and special services of the major states. we're speaking about only the united states of america and some retired gentlemen who used to work in mi6 or mi5, i don't know exactly, from great britain. the rest of special services in european countries, they have never accused russia of interfering into somewhere, they have just started to feel uncomfortable, at the same front of allegations... that's not strictly true.
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what you've said isn't strictly true. bruno khal, chief of germany's foreign intelligence agency, said this, "cyber attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty here in germany. the indications show the attacks come from russia. there is evidence that this is at least tolerated or desired by the state. again, accusations that have nothing beneath. we don't have any proof for those blamings. it is interesting that you began by saying it's only the united states. but it's clearly not only the united states. well, the whole story started from the united states. the whole hysteria is being pumped up by the united states public opinion, united states media. it's very emotional hysteria. you know, sometimes it is even,
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it comes quite ridiculous to us to watch this hysteria. james clapper, the director of national intelligence in the us says that the evidence is there with a very high degree of certainty. admittedly we haven't seen the evidence because the key evidence has been redacted. but what he says is this, "i do not think, based on the evidence, that we have ever encountered a more aggressive, a more direct campaign to interfere in our election process. that's at your door, and indeed, you — dmitry peskov — have been accused of being one of the key architects of this campaign. well, it's a great honour for me to be so sophisticated! i'm not that sophisticated in cyber business. this is not the truth. number one. number two, every day we have hundreds and thousands of cyber attacks against our digital systems
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in the russian federation. some of them are coming from the territory of the united states. dozens are am coming from the territory of germany. dozens are coming from great britain. do you think that it means with a high state of certainty that those attacks against our digital systems are being promoted by the governments in washington, in london or in berlin? no. you would probably say no. it's out of the question. i'm more interested in what you think. what do you think? we think that it has nothing to do with the governments. although, we also have some evidence
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that some foreign special services might stand behind some very, very tense attacks against our banks and against our, well, our official websites. are you trying to tell me that the russian actions in the united states, in germany, we believe in britain too, according to our intelligence agencies, are they retaliation? no. there are no actions. neither russian government nor kremlin nor president putin personally, nor military intelligence stand behind those attacks, if they really exist. that is a very clear position you've just taken. now, the united states congress is going to over the next few weeks and months conduct a very serious investigation of all these allegations of russian cyber hacking. they are going to use subpoenas.
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we may well find a lot more very specific information. if it turns out that they have convincing evidence that russia, the kremlin was involved in authorising those attacks, you are going to be very badly exposed, aren't you? of course. i'm carrying responsibility for saying that. i'm not an irresponsible person and working as a press secretary of president putin, i work in kremlin and am responsible for my words. so, should there be any evidence, should there be any proof, then it will be my responsibility. it should be either proved or it should be dismissed. how disturbed were you when donald trump appeared to say, just a few days ago, that he now believes russia is responsible for the hacking of the dnc e—mails? president—elect was briefed by his special services.
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we do not know what exactly was presented to him during those briefings. what we had access to was the public part of the report. you would probably have read that. i've read the public part. as i said, we don't know what redacted parts include. yes, public part was quite vague. you would probably agree with me. it was based on assumptions, not on evidence. so let's wait and see. on the hacking, john mccain, and a bunch of republican, democratic senators... great admirer of my country. perhaps not the greatest admirer right now. he has said and they have said that they're going to push forward what they're calling countering russian hostilities act 2017. they are going to push for an expansion of sanctions against russia, specifically
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targeting those they believe responsible for the hacking. how will you respond if that legislation, if that expansion of sanctions goes through? so, this is quite an unprecedented act. what is being done by the going president obama, by renewing the sanctions against russia, without waiting until the period of the existing one expires, and with the new law, with the new law coming. so they are trying to limit the capacity, to limit the presidency of trump. they're trying to push him into the way of bad relationship with moscow. they say, you don't have a possibility to move. you don't have a possibility to choose your own position. you will follow our way. which brings me to the most important question today, around the world, but particularly concerning your relationship with the united states.
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do you believe president donald trump will bring with him a fundamental change, a fundamental shift in the relationship between washington and moscow? unfortunately, we cannot believe. what we can do is we can express our hope. we want to have a good relationship with america. we believe that we cannot solve lots of problems in this world and in our region, that are endangering our country without cooperation with the americans. that's why we desperately need a good relationship with washington. but it takes two to tango. what will be the approach by president trump, this is the question. we speak on the eve of the inauguration. will you and your boss, president putin, be popping the champagne corks when you watch the inauguration of president trump? well, you know, we are
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preoccupied these days. we have our christian holiday called baptising, so we are preoccupied with swimming in the ice cold water. that's why our agenda is a little bit different. let's allow ourselves to think what it means in greater detail. donald trump has talked about his admiration for vladimir putin, calls him a smart guy. but getting away from the positives, looking at perhaps a more realistic agenda, some of his key nominees for the top posts — that of secretary of state, secretary of defence — they have said clearly they still regard russia as the most important threat. the defence secretary nominee says he still believes that russia poses a severe threat to europe's security and to nato. listen, you cannot leave and you cannot develop yourself as a personality in one environment and all of a sudden come to a different conclusion.
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you are a child of your environment. environment in the united states currently is very hostile towards russia. so we understand those statements. we do not expect president trump and his administration to agree with us, even to agree with us even on the majority of problems. but we want to believe that they will be ready to talk to us. so, we want to be able to convey our message to washington. we want to, we want washington to will, to convey their message to us by explaining why, what exactly, how, when and with whom. if we don't know that, we feel ourself endangered. donald trump prides
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himself as a deal maker. he's begun to indicate there might be deals to be done. he suggested to the times newspaper the other day that perhaps he would consider easing sanctions on russia if russia was prepared to talk seriously about reducing its nuclear arsenal as part of a new round of talks. are you interested in that sort of approach? it's a little bit different dimensions. sanctions is one thing. russia will not ever initiate discussing of the issue. on ukraine, which is the reason why the sanctions sit there, your position on ukraine appears unchanging. what the west wants to see, we don't know whether donald trump wants to see it, what the west generally wants to see is you, finally, make every effort to implement that minsk peace agreement and stop your support for the separatists in eastern ukraine.
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the problem is that we are not the country who is going to, who should implement minsk agreement. we are the country that should guarantee the implementation, together with the french and with the germans. minsk agreement should be implemented by kiev and the guys from donbass. and minsk agreement is not something vague. the guys from donbass just take your instructions, so why don't you go along and instruct them on what you want? we enjoy some influence, but we cannot ask them to die. there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of a very early summit meeting between mr putin and soon—to—be president trump. is it going to happen?
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well, we hope that president putin is going to call president trump after the inauguration, as soon as he's available, and congratulate him. it's a protocol so this congratulation should be delivered. we hope it will be delivered through a telephone call. then we'll expect their exchange of views on a possibility of the meeting. what kind of time frame are we talking about? currently we don't have any hints for the dates, unfortunately. are we talking weeks, months, do you think? we hope...no, i don't think weeks. of course, i mean, he's the president of the united states and first of all, he's preoccupied with american business. it's like all presidents. you ask me, what are we going to do tomorrow, during the inauguration, we are going to be preoccupied with russian affairs. because they are the issue of priority for president putin.
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it's not coming weeks. but let's hope for the best that this meeting could take place coming month. coming months? and to be clear about it, president putin would like the earliest possible meeting with mrtrump? i have no doubt mr putin will be ready for that, yes. one interesting point, just yesterday, it was announced here in russia that edward snowden was given a couple more years of residency here. some people say that one way to warm up relations quickly would be for mr putin to, in essence, give edward snowden to the incoming trump administration as some sort of show of goodwill. in america they want to put him on trial. donald trump has made it plain that he personally believes that edward snowden should be punished for the release of secret information. edward snowden is a human being that can face a death penalty in the united states, because it's one of the few countries that still exercises death penalty.
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you'll never extradite him, is that what you're saying? this is a decision that can be taken by our immigration authorities or president putin. i don't know. but he's not a toy to be presented. he's a human being. let's talk about nato, as we go round the themes that are going to be presented to trump and putin as they consider their relationship. donald trump has said nato is obsolete. he's also said nato is very important to him. his generals tell him that russia poses a direct threat, the way that you've massed both weaponry, material, and man power on nato‘s eastern flank. are you prepared to show, again, good faith by, for example, pulling your missiles out? it is very complicated issue. you cannot just withdraw with those missiles from there without knowing
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that plans for creating entire russian, entire missile system will be abolished on the european continent. just one final point on diplomacy, again about dialogue, it's about syria. it is very notable that in your initiative with the turks to get some sort of dialogue going between the government and the rebels, which led to the ceasefire, the americans weren't involved at all. now there are more peace talks scheduled for kazakhstan next week. do you definitely want the americans, under the new trump administration, to be involved, to be big players alongside you and the turks? well, definitely we would welcome that. we would welcome that. situation is very complicated. you know that the, also there is iran, like a very important player in syrian issue.
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the iranians say the americans won't be there. the iranians are not welcoming the americans. it's a very complicated issue for a very careful play. you and i in previous conversations have gone into great detail about accusations that russia has committed human rights violations, some say war crimes in its military activities in syria. one simple question on this — since we last spoke, the un general assembly has voted to establish an investigative body to collect, consolidate and preserve, they say, evidence and prepare cases on war crimes and human rights abuses. will you cooperate with that un investigation? i have no doubt, yes. should it be started and what will be the composition of that. your people at the un were gravely sceptical it should be started in the first place. you're saying, we've decided we are going to fully cooperate. no, we haven't decided.
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theoretically, i say, theoretically, we would welcome those investigations. a final thought, i want to take it away from the international arena to the domestic arena. i just spoke to perhaps the leading voice in opposition to president putin in this country today, a man who has declared he wants to run in the presidential elections in 2018 against putin. he said to me, you know why putin fights these wars, why he is projecting russia's power in different arenas around the world, he is trying to distract the russian people from what is going on inside their own country, the millions and millions condemned to live in poverty, the systemic corruption, which is seeing a tiny elite at the top, enriching themselves on the back of the majority of russians who see no growth, no prosperity. that's what he's going to campaign on. that is going to cause you and your boss a great deal of trouble. well, you know, unfortunately,
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we have a very weak opposition in our country. i wonder why that is. could it be because they're not allowed access to state television for example? no, it's not about state television. you have modern media and viewership of television is diminishing day by day. in russia today, if you switch on the tv and you want to find an opposition voice it is almost impossible. the american president is winning elections using twitter. in order to be a successful opposition, you have to be sustainable. you have to have a programme of development of the country. you also have to be allowed a semblance of freedom. you have to be a person not at risk of being assassinated as boris nyemtsov was. unlike alexei novalny,
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whose brother is in prison and he is on trumped—up charges, you need the freedom to build a political movement. you know as well as i do, in russia today, that's impossible. why don't you think that they're not fair charges? because the european court of human rights has declared that they are political and it said that they were illegitimate. we don't agree with that. you don't agree with the european court of human rights when they analysed the evidence? i would rather trust our own court. we do have much more confidence in our own court system. do you read alexei novalny‘s anticorru ption foundation website. once in a while, yes. you'd have seen your own name. yes, most frequently. he wants to know how come a guy like you, a public servant on a not bad, but modest salary, how come you live in a villa, which he's pleased to show me,
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which is worth, he says, $15 million and the very famous watch of yours worth £400,000. try to double check that with a different real estate agent. try to double check that. do you want to tell me how much your villa is worth? i'm happy to take your estimate. if we're here to discuss the cost of my villa, i hope it's quite expensive. we're almost out of time. we have to wrap this up. putin up for re—election in 2018, can you guarantee to me that alexei novany will at least be allowed to run and challenge putin? i'm not head of central election committee. i can't guarantee that or not guarantee that. so that's why i'm not entitled to make these kind of statements. do you believe it would be best for russia if an opposition leader like him were allowed to run against putin? i think it would be best for russia
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if we have a serious opposition with a serious approach, with experienced professionals and politicians trying to compete with acting power in the face of president putin, who is being supported by 90% of this population. i'm taking from that last answer that there's no question president putin will run for another term in 2018? you know, we...it was our first interview and i told you — it was 2004, i think, or whenever... i'm not quite that old on hardtalk. as a citizen of the russian federation, i hope he will take a decision to run. we have to end there. dmitry peskov, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you, it was my pleasure. some pretty stark contrasts
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in weather conditions for part two some places got some glorious sunshine, albeit cold, with a frost. some areas hold on to the cloud, the mist and some areas hold on to the cloud, the mistand murk some areas hold on to the cloud, the mist and murk as well. through the course of the night it will turn dry in central areas, with light rain, sleet and snow. then we have a fairly widespread frost developing. when you hold on to the cloud temperature staying above freezing,
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and fog will become a problem. becoming expensive across england and wales. it will be freezing for many, certainly across central and south—eastern parts. likely to cause problems for the monday morning commute. travel disruption as well. keep tuned to local radio and head online before you head off. take it easy on the roads. it could be quite dense in places. freezing fog as well. there will be some spot where the four point the effect them. sunshine through the morning as well. patchy fog further north and generally for scotland and northern ireland it is looking dry, with clear spells and sunshine. through the day that fog will tend to clear, at it maybe —— may be stubborn to lift. for much of the country it is
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pretty good through monday. a lot of dry weather, light winds and sunshine. 4—6, but colder than that with the fog. on tuesday at the repeat performance. freezing fog patches to stop the morning. some of it could be slow to clear. a bit of sunshine developing. further north and west of it for change. the winds picking up from the south—west, maybe the odd spot of light rain. temperatures just reaching double figures, so a bit milder, it still cold across south—eastern areas. through the course of the week the fog will clear as the winds pick up will stop it will be cold at first. by will stop it will be cold at first. by the weekend it should turn milder foremost. hello, you're watching bbc world news. i'm adnan nawaz. our top story this hour: after six years of civil war, what next for syria? with large parts of the country
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in ruins and millions displaced, talks aimed at resolving the conflict are due to begin shortly. welcome to the programme. our other main stories this hour: claims in the gambia that $11 million of state money is missing after the departure of long time leader yahya jammeh. we have a special report. this is what democracy in africa can look like. a dictatorial leader peacefully leaving the country after a general election. the white house begins talks to move the us embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. i'm sally bundock. in business: nothing wrong with the phones!
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