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CNN'S AMANPOUR

Interview With Hamid Karzai; Defeating the Taliban; NATO's New Man in Charge; Interview with Robert Mugabe

Aired September 27, 2009 - 14:00:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST (voice-over): December, 2001: Afghanistan was on the doorstep of democracy, and I was in Kandahar interviewing the country's future president, Hamid Karzai. Eight years later, that leader remains the same, but the challenges have multiplied.

The war is heating up. The Taliban are back. Charges of fraud are challenging President Karzai's re-election.

We'll have exclusive interviews with President Karzai, with NATO's new leader, and with the U.S. representative, all of them tasked with saving the situation.

And then we turn to Africa and another election just over a year ago which forced the first political opening in Zimbabwe A rare and exclusive interview with the man who ruled that country for 30 years, Robert Mugabe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Hello. I'm Christiane Amanpour. Welcome to our new program.

Our mission is to take all that we've witnessed in the field and try to bring more depth and understanding to the stories that matter.

So, what better place to start than Afghanistan, where the United States is right now debating whether to stay and increase its presence or to pull back?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: President Karzai joins us from his palace in Kabul.

Welcome, Mr. President.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: The Election Commission just gave you above 50 percent, close to 55 percent, in the recent election. Are you ready now to declare victory?

KARZAI: In terms of the percentage of vote declared by the Election Commission, well, I am the first. But in terms of the announcement of the winner, which (ph) has allowed the election commissioners of Afghanistan to make that determination after they've done all their legal procedures.

AMANPOUR: Because they are still investigating the allegations of corruption.

Do you think there's a chance that your percentage will go down, as some suggest, once the investigation is complete?

KARZAI: Well, we have to study the election, the voting system itself. If there is fraud committed by any side in the election, of course that will be a very serious issue and I'd very much want that investigated. But if there's a political desire to take the election to the second round, of course that's not acceptable.

AMANPOUR: And if there's legal reason to take it to a second round, you will accept that?

KARZAI: If it's in the consequence of the vote of the Afghan people. If the vote of the Afghan people has no clear winner, then, of course, that's the will of the Afghan people and the Afghan law says go to the second round.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you something else and whether you'll accept this.

General McChrystal, the U.S. ISAF commander there, has now written a new assessment in which he is saying that more troops are required. Let me read what he's just said.

"A properly-resourced strategy is imperative. Failure to provide adequate resources also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support. Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure."

That's General McChrystal.

Do you support, do you want more U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

KARZAI: I have seen General McChrystal's report. He came and presented it in full form some three weeks ago. I found some very important elements in that report that I fully back.

One of the most important was, rather than concentrating on killing and eliminating terrorists and the Taliban, the report talks of protecting the Afghan people, the communities, the civilians. This part has my full support, and also surely the support of the Afghan people. Where General McChrystal is asking for more resources in all aspects to boost the effort against terrorism, he has our support there, too, fully.

So, the overall report, as far as Afghanistan is concerned, is one that has the right approach, and we back it.

AMANPOUR: So, that's including more troops.

Let me ask you to take a listen to an interview I did with you in Kandahar eight years ago, just before you even became, at that time, interim leader of Afghanistan.

Listen to this for a second.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Mr. Karzai, here we are sitting in Kandahar, surrounded by tribal elders and leaders. In about a week's time, you're going to take the helm of a new government for Afghanistan, an interim government. The future is about to begin.

What is going through your head right now?

KARZAI: It's an exciting time. It's a new beginning for Afghanistan.

After many years of disasters and bloodshed and suffering for our people, I think Afghanistan will be peaceful, will be stable. And it will be peaceful and stable because the people want it. The Afghans want it. And it will be peaceful and stable because the international community is helping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Mr. Karzai, today that just seems so long ago, not just in years, but in what you predicted back then, that it would be peaceful and stable, that this would be an exciting new opportunity.

Do you see how different things have turned out, how different the mood is, not just about Afghanistan, but about yourself?

KARZAI: Well, much of what I predicted for Afghanistan did happen. We evolved from a country without government and straight structures into a country with a straight structure and a government, with the constitution, with the democracy, with the free press, with a much better economy today in 2002.

When you and I were talking, Afghan's income per capita was less than $180, around $150. Today it stands at nearly $460. And all of this was possible because of the help that the international community gave us because of the help that America gave us.

Now, the other side of it, peace in the country, yes, we have not been lucky with that. And for reasons.

The reasons are that our partners in the international community did not concentrate on the sanctuaries for terrorists outside of Afghanistan. We wasted nearly five years to six years not even agreeing upon the existence of sanctuaries beyond our borders.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARZAI: So, Karzai supports bringing in more U.S. troops to stabilize his country, but does the U.S. support him in the aftermath of that disputed election? We'll ask U.S. Special Representative Richard Holbrooke when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: This week is crucial for the future of Afghanistan. President Obama is in the middle of a debate over whether to send more troops for an effective counterinsurgency or pull back.

I had the rare opportunity to ask the president's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, about American strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: From all of the places you've been, whether it be Vietnam, whether it be Bosnia, where we worked very closely in terms of me covering what you were doing there, you called for troops and intervention, and that did settle the situation. You were able to negotiate a peace.

Would more troops in a place like Afghanistan work?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE: I think the president's decision to send 17,000 more troops in February and another 4,000 trainers in March was absolutely indispensable to avoid a catastrophe. And I think that was the right decision to go.

But I think it would be quite improper of me to foreshadow a discussion that is just under way with an outcome that is yet to be determined. It's up to the president to decide that as commander in chief.

AMANPOUR: I understand that.

In that case, let us play this bite, this sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are in the process of working through that strategy. The only thing I've said to my folks is, A, I want an unvarnished assessment. But, B, I don't want to put the resource question before the strategy question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So, this is what I don't understand and other journalists don't understand either. Eight months into the administration, why is it not clear what the strategy is?

HOLBROOKE: On March 27th, the president made a major speech to the nation and the world laying out our strategy. He is going to review every aspect of our situation before he steps up and makes a decision as to whether to send more young American men and women and those of our allies, if they join us, into harm's way. That's perfectly appropriate.

AMANPOUR: Are you concerned about the strength of the insurgency? Did you think we'd be here eight years and eight months later?

HOLBROOKE: Christiane, as you know, when I had my monthly column for "The Washington Post," I wrote flatly that this would be a tougher war than Iraq, it would last longer than Iraq, and it would probably become the longest war in American history if we were going to prevail. So, let me go to the core point.

Why are we in Afghanistan? It is because of 9/11. It is because the people who planned and staged the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, are still out there calling for continued attacks on the U.S., calling for Pakistani nuclear scientists to give nuclear capability. And as the president laid out in March, we cannot turn away from that.

Now, you mentioned Vietnam. A lot of people ask me about Vietnam because I spent three and a half years there and seven years working on it.

So, let me be clear. There is no similarity between the two countries in terms of their national importance.

Structurally, there's some similarities. President Karzai mentioned the most important one to you in your interview with him, and that's the Pakistani sanctuary.

But in terms of consequences, the Vietcong, the North Vietnamese pose no threat to the homeland of the United States. Al Qaeda does. The Taliban is al Qaeda's protective cordon. They work together. They are our enemy. Our nation is at risk.

I have no question about that. And the American public and the world must understand the differences between these other wars including Iraq, and this one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: The sanctuaries that he and President Karzai are talking about are across the border in Pakistan. I put that to Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: General McChrystal, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has written a report, an assessment. He has said that the considerable threat to Afghanistan comes from Pakistan still. That Mullah Omar has his Shura, his group of Taliban right there in Quetta, near the Afghan border. And furthermore, the Hakani (ph) network is right in Waziristan, again, right near the Afghan border, Waziristan and Pakistan.

Why is it that you still can't get a grip on these people?

SHAH MAHMOOD QURESHI, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: If you look at the performance of the democratically elected government that has been in office slightly over a year, I think by any standards, our performance has outmatched the last seven and a half, eight years.

AMANPOUR: You mean in Swat and those areas?

QURESHI: No. All over.

Why? See, to get support from the people of Pakistan on this effort, you have to convert the public opinion. The public opinion under Musharraf was not behind the fight. Today, we have successfully turned the tide.

We have engaged politically with people. And today, people are convinced that this is our fight.

It's not an alien war that we've been sucked into. It's our fight. They are challenging our value system.

Our country, our economy has been affected and our people are dying. So, we have given it ownership, A.

B, if you look at the operation that has taken on over the last one year, it's far more focused, far more targeted, and far more result-oriented. Right?

AMANPOUR: It is much more successful than many people gave you credit for. But the question is this -- does that mean that you will then launch into Mullah Omar and the Quetta, Shura, into the Waziristan area, or not?

QURESHI: No, no. We certainly will. We are not picking and choosing.

What we have done is we've gone into Swat with a design strategy. When our government came into office, we looked at the strategy of the past and we devised our own strategy. We call it the 3-D strategy.

It talks of dialogue. It talks of development. And it talks of deterrents.

AMANPOUR: But let me ask you this. You're very obviously clear about your strategy, but recently, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan said that Pakistan has "different priorities from the United States. Pakistan is certainly reluctant to take action against the leadership of the Afghan insurgency." Those which are based in your country.

Are you reluctant?

QURESHI: No, we are not. We are not picking and choosing. We feel that terrorists are terrorists. And there are no good and they are no bad terrorists.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you one more question again about Afghanistan with the connection to Pakistan.

Do you think it's going to be possible to defeat the Taliban and the insurgency in Afghanistan?

QURESHI: Well, we are certainly doing our best. We feel an international effort is required.

AMANPOUR: So, more troops as General McChrystal says is required?

QURESHI: No. What we're saying is this menace was not created by Pakistan.

AMANPOUR: But some say it was, of course. That your government supported and encouraged the growth of the Taliban.

QURESHI: No. You have to go back three decades if you want to go into history.

AMANPOUR: Right. Well, to the '90s.

QURESHI: Pakistan was an ally of the United States and the free world when the Soviets moved in. We supported you and we played a critical role in ensuring that they left Afghanistan.

Then you left. You left. And, you know, without a proper exit strategy.

And we had to deal with this menace. And we still are dealing with this menace.

Now, you became conscious of this dragon once you were hit in New York, 9/11. That shook you, you know, and you realized how dangerous these people are.

Now, we were facing them. We are facing them. We are victims on a daily basis.

So, we have a very clear strategy in how to deal with them. We are asking you and other friends of democratic Pakistan to assist and help us defeat them.

We feel in the last one year we have demonstrated determination and resolve. And we have in place a strategy to defeat them.

We've also converted public opinion. And today, the people of Fatah, Waziristan, the area that you're concerned about, are with us. When the army moves in, they are supporting -- the people for the first time are supporting our troops and are going along with them, searching them out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY0GENERAL: I think, honestly speaking, in retrospect, that we have underestimated the challenge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: When we return, we get the view from NATO's new man in charge, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT: The land reform is the best thing that could ever happen.

AMANPOUR: The best thing?

MUGABE: Yes, that could ever have happened to an African country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe joins me for a CNN exclusive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARZAI: The Afghans have learned a bitter lesson. So have the international community. So has the United States.

I must be very blunt. If the world does not pay attention to Afghanistan, if it leaves it weak and basically a country in which one can interfere, all these bad people will come again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Eight years later, Karzai's comments seem prophetic. After routing the Taliban and al Qaeda back in 2001, the world took its eye off of Afghanistan and now the Taliban are back.

How to turn the tide? That's the challenge for the U.S. commander, Stanley McChrystal, and for NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: You were the prime minister of Denmark. You know what it means to be a politician trying to make tough decisions. You said one of your first decisions as prime minister was to send troops to Afghanistan.

RASMUSSEN: Yes. My very first foreign policy and security policy decision was to send Special Operation Forces to Afghanistan because we consider it a crucial element in our own security, that we secure Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: You're going to be meeting with President Obama next week, the official U.S. part of your visit. You're obviously going to be talking about Afghanistan, about General McChrystal's assessment that's also being reviewed by the White House.

Will you recommend to him, will you say what you said just now, that it takes more troops to finish this job?

RASMUSSEN: It takes more trainers and more funds to develop the capacity of the Afghan security forces. And it's my strong conconviction, and this is the way forward. Transition to Afghan leads (ph). So we have to do more now so that we can be able to do less in the future.

AMANPOUR: I want to know why European leaders with troops there, U.S. leaders with troops there, have not really been, for want of a better word, selling the severity and the necessity of trying to finish the job properly. There seems to be a vacuum in the public debate led by the leaders. Leaders don't seem to be leading that public debate.

Do you think more should be done?

RASMUSSEN: Yes. And I think, honestly speaking, in retrospect, that we have underestimated the challenge. And we should improve communication and really tell that, despite all problems in Afghanistan, we see progress on the ground.

We see progress in delivery of better health services to the Afghans, a better educational system. Infrastructure is constructed. We have succeed in decreasing cultivation of opium. And it's also important to note that, according to opinion polls, the Afghan people want international presence in their country to help them develop a stable democracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Coming up next, an exclusive interview with one of the most powerful men in Africa today, Robert Mugabe, in his first in-depth talk to western media since 2004.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We'll return to Christiane Amanpour after a check of these top stories.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates weighed in on Iran today after it test-fired short-range missiles during military drills. This just two days after Iran revealed an underground nuclear enrichment facility that it was secretly building. Gates calls it illegal and likely intended for military purposes.

The Afghan energy minister survived a Taliban suicide bomb attack today. Four civilians were killed, 20 wounded. It happened as he was driving to an airport in the western part of the country.

And these dramatic pictures from i-Reporter Ryan Barron (ph) of massive flooding in the Philippines. At least 75 people are dead after a tropical storm unleashed the heaviest rainfall in the capital of Manila in 40 years. Authorities say 80 percent of the capital is under water. Take a look at the images -- 300,000 people had to evacuate to escape the rising flood waters.

Acclaimed filmmaker Roman Polanski is behind bars in Switzerland on a decades old U.S. warrant. Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13- year-old girl back in 1977 but fled the United States before he could be sentenced. The Academy-Award winning director was on his way to the Zurich Film Festival where he was to be honored.

And now back to Christiane Amanpour.

AMANPOUR: Welcome back. It was once the bread basket of southern Africa. Now though Zimbabwe's economy is in tatters. Food production has plummeted. Farm seizures have divided the country. And foreign investment has all but dried up. President Robert Mugabe is now sharing power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. But many say that opposition lawmakers are being arrested and Mugabe controls the key ministries, the military, police and mining. Despite all of this, Mugabe tells me that it's time for international sanctions against his top supporters to be lifted. He says that power-sharing is working.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: For the last year, you've been in so-called "power sharing" agreement with the leader of the opposition Morgan Tsvangirai. What does power-sharing to you mean? Many people say that it's in name only right now.

ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT, ZIMBABWE: No. It's really power sharing. And that power sharing is encapsulated in an agreement we call the global political agreement. And this was arrived at through the facilitation that we got from South Africa. And specifically, through the facilitation by former president Thabo Mbeki.

AMANPOUR: The problem though is Mr. President, that many people are saying that you're still, and your party is trying to sort of reduce the MVC, majority or their officials in parliament. There are MPs who are being arrested. They are being charged with alleged crimes to prevent them from being able to take office. Why is this still happening?

MUGABE: First, may I make this quite clear. That the global political agreement was arrived at after a series of meetings which involved not just by myself, and negotiators, but also, between Zanopiev (ph) and the MDC as represented by Tsvangirai and Professor Chambara (ph) and then negotiators. And these provisions in the global agreement were reached after very strenuous discussions had taken place and then so they were not forced upon us.

AMANPOUR: No, but the question really is --

MUGABE: We came to them deliberately. We arrived there deliberately.

AMANPOUR: So if you say you arrived at them deliberately, why then are there MPs and officials still being harassed?

MUGABE: Because the issue of those that have been arrested is a different matter altogether. Some of them had committed crimes before the global agreement, crimes such as rape and kidnapping. You couldn't let people who had committed such crimes get away with it merely because there's a global agreement.

AMANPOUR: Has Roy Bennett committed a crime? Why is he not being sworn in?

MUGABE: Roy Bennett had been charged and on the face of it, the charges are very serious but I'm told and I'm told this by the leader of the MDC, that the prosecution is producing no evidence. There are no witnesses. And I have said if there are no witnesses, the prosecution will arrive at a time when they will say so.

AMANPOUR: He's charged with what?

MUGABE: Let's not read that for them. Let them read that conclusion on their own.

AMANPOUR: Do you think he'll be appointed?

MUGABE: Yes, yes, if he's acquitted.

AMANPOUR: Charged with what?

MUGABE: Charged with having, you know, tried to put, I think -- he was found responsible for -- that's the allegation -- the allegation is that he's responsible for organizing arms of war against Zimbabwe, you know?

AMANPOUR: Mr. Mugabe, that's certainly the first I'm hearing of it and we will obviously put that to them. But can I say this? There are a lot of people -- and you heard in that report -- who considered you an African hero back in 1980. That you came and some of my own friends, Rhodesians, some of the people I worked with who were in the Rhodesian Army, then became journalists in Rhodesia were stunned by the conciliatory nature and the addresses that you gave back in 1980.

And describe how for 10 years, your policies led to prosperity, led to successes in mining and agriculture and all sorts of things. And then over the last 10 years, things have really gone south in a big and bad way. Why is it that that's happened? Since land reform and remember that the presidents of Tanzania, when you took the country to liberation, said to you, you have the jewel of Africa in your hands. Now look after it. Did you look after it?

MUGABE: Yes, in a very great way. Over the last 10 years, we had sanctions imposed on us by the United States. Plus, sanctions imposed upon us by the European Union over the last 10 years.

AMANPOUR: But they were specifically targeted sanctions against individuals, not against the trade development.

MUGABE: No, no, no. The United States sanctions on us are real sanctions, economic sanctions. Have you looked at them? Look at them and you will satisfy yourself that they prevent companies from having any dealings with us.

AMANPOUR: But they are very, very specially targeted.

MUGABE: They prevent any financial institutions --

AMANPOUR: But how do you account for these incredible statistics? Where since you took over, life expectancy has dropped. Manufacturing has fallen. One in 14 people are malnourished.

MUGABE: I'm giving you the reasons. It's because of sanctions, mainly.

AMANPOUR: But everybody says it's not because of sanctions. It's because of mismanagement.

MUGABE: Not everybody says so.

AMANPOUR: So do you consider white Zimbabweans to be Zimbabweans?

MUGABE: Those that are naturalized and have citizenship, yes.

AMANPOUR: Those who have been living there for years and years and years?

MUGABE: But historically --

AMANPOUR: Right --

MUGABE: Historically, they have a debt.

AMANPOUR: The people who are contributing to farming -- historically, they have a debt to pay?

MUGABE: They occupy the land illegally. They seized the land from our people and therefore, the process of reform, land reform, involved their having to hand over the land. We agreed upon this with the British, by the way.

AMANPOUR: Some 80 percent of that land was acquired after you took office. Some of the farmland, and with the very certificates that mean government approval, why are these people being hounded out of the country?

MUGABE: They are not being...

AMANPOUR: Hounded off their land? They are. We've just done reports on it.

MUGABE: Those were in industry manufacturing and mining and they are not --

AMANPOUR: The farmers I'm talking about. Why is that wonderful farmland and why are they being --

MUGABE: What are you talking about? We're getting land from them. And that's all. They are not being hounded out of the country, not at all.

AMANPOUR: They've been handed off their land.

MUGABE: It's not their land.

AMANPOUR: It's not theirs?

MUGABE: It's our land.

AMANPOUR: Even though they bought it with the certificates for approval from the government?

MUGABE: But haven't you heard of the Lancaster discussions and the agreement with the British government? Because they are British settlers. Originally, they have been British settlers and we agreed at Lancaster House that there would be land reform.

AMANPOUR: But they are citizens, aren't they? Isn't this farming disaster contributed to your --

MUGABE: Citizens by colonization, seizing land from the original people, indigenous people of the country.

AMANPOUR: But how did that all go so wrong? How did that all go so wrong? When you came in, you -- it was about reconciliation.

MUGABE: They knew about it. They knew we had this program of land acquisition and land reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUGABE: I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine. I am a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe for Zimbabewans. Zimbabwe never for the British. Britain for the British.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1980 and Zimbabwe is in a state of euphoria. The former British colony gains independence.

MUGABE: I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zimbabwe's first black ruler, Robert Mugabe, is an African hero, a revered liberation fighter jailed for 10 years for battling white minority rule. A dialing of the West, preaching reconciliation with whites. Mugabe quickly invested in education and health care making real improvements in the lives of black Zimbabweans.

And he showed intolerance to opposition. A rights group estimates his regime was responsible for the deaths of at least 20,000 people in the 1980s as it crashed a rebellion in the southwest region. And after losing our constitutional referendum in 2000, that would have given the government power to take farms owned by whites. Mugabe cracked down, encouraging the seizure of white-owned farms anyway, saying he was addressing colonial imbalances.

MUGABE: The land is ours. It's not European. It's our land and we've taken it. We've given it to the rightful people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His so-called "land reform" program is blamed for destroying Zimbabwe's once prosperous cultural sector, creating chronic food shortages. The movement for Democratic change was formed in 1999, led by Mugabe's most vocal critic, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The response? Tsvangirai was targeted by police, arrested and beaten. Presidential elections in 2002 turned violent and international observers rejected the results amid vote-rigging allegations. Western nations imposed sanctions on Mugabe and senior government members, but not trade sanctions. Still, Mugabe blamed the sanctions for the collapsing economy, growing unemployment and food shortages.

MUGABE: They want to come to us and dictate to us what we must do. That shall never be. Not in Zimbabwe. Never, never. Whatever the cost -- whatever the cost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After another disputed election in 2008, African leaders pressured Mugabe into signing a power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai, a temporary measure to stop violence and prepare the country for free elections and a renewed constitution.

MUGABE: It's a difficult proposition because always the opposition will want much more than what it deserves.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Our own Echiperla Mbuse (ph) with a look at Robert Mugabe's rise to power. His presidency spans decades and now, after 30 years in power, I asked him what the future holds for Zimbabwe and if he will ever consider stepping down.

I would like to play one sound bite by a neighbor of yours, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said the following.

DESMOND TUTU, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: He destroyed a wonderful country. A country that used to be a bread basket. It is now become a basket case itself. But I think now that the world must say, look. You've been responsible with your cohorts. You've been responsible for gross violations. And you're going to face indictment unless you step down.

AMANPOUR: How do you respond to that? First that you've taken the bread basket of Africa into a basket case?

MUGABE: No. It's not a basket case at all. Last year we managed to grow enough food for ourselves. We're not a basket case anymore.

AMANPOUR: One in 14 people are called malnourished. Your country is practically dependent on humanitarian aide.

MUGABE: We're not talking of the present.

AMANPOUR: I know things have gotten slightly better --

MUGABE: They have gotten much better in terms of food. People have grown enough food for themselves. We've had years, continuous, successive years of drought. Don't forget that. And in addition, sanctions as well. And combine the effects of drought with the effects of sanctions and what do you get?

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you a question and we'll move on from this and ask you a question about -- you heard what Archbishop Desmond Tutu says --

MUGABE: That's nonsense. That's just devilish talk.

AMAPOUR: Devilish talk?

MUGABE: Yes. He doesn't know what he's talking about the little man.

AMANPOUR: The little man? He's a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

MUGABE: Oh, come on.

AMANPOUR: He's a liberation fighter too.

MUGABE: What liberation? Of course you don't know what he states in the -- what that amounts to.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a question about Nelson Mandela?

MUGABE: He's a great man, that one, yes.

AMANPOUR: Nelson Mandela has so much of the attention for being the great liberator of Africa. You did it earlier. Do you sometimes wish you had gotten as much attention?

MUGABE: Christiane, President Mandela is President Mandela. And Robert Mugabe is Robert Mugabe. Look at him in his own circumstances. If you damn him, well and good, but I know my people have great praise for me. I know African people think very highly of me and that satisfies me?

AMANPOUR: It does?

MUGABE: Yes.

AMANPOUR: Even though you lost these elections.

MUGABE: Which elections?

AMANPOUR: The last ones.

MUGABE: No, we didn't lose the elections at all.

AMANPOUR: But that's why you're going into a power-sharing. Look, we can argue about this but my question is this. Why is it so difficult to leave power in a reasonable way when you're up instead of waiting until it gets to this stage?

MUGABE: We don't leave power when imperialists dictate that you leave.

AMANPOUR: No imperialist. You were the president.

MUGABE: There's regime change. Haven't you heard of regime change program by Britain and the United States, which is aimed at getting not just Robert Mugabe out of power but Robert Mugabe and his party out of power? And that, naturally, means we dig in. Remain in our trenches.

AMANPOUR: Are you going to stand for election again?

MUGABE: That will depend on what I decide to do in the future.

AMANPOUR: Can you tell us?

MUGABE: No, not now.

AMANPOUR: Can you imagine running for another election?

MUGABE: I won't tell you that now, I say.

AMANPOUR: Are you afraid, as some have suggested, that one day you might be indicted by the international criminal court?

MUGABE: I don't care about that, the international whatever it is, what they decide is entirely their own affair. I'm concerned about Zimbabwe. And I'm concerned about the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. And don't forget it was my party which brought democracy into the country. And not the British. We had to fight the British for democracy for one man, one person, one vote.

AMANPOUR: And that's why people are so disappointed in what happened because you do get the kudos for having brought that but now people are --

MUGABE: That's still the environment.

AMANPOUR: and yet, this election was so heavily disputed that you have to go into a power-sharing deal.

MUGABE: Well elections are like that.

AMANPOUR: I guess I want to know why hang on for so long?

MUGABE: Elections don't go all that smoothly all the time. In many countries that's the situation. Look at what happens elsewhere. They didn't go smoothly here during the first term of -- before the first term of office of President Bush. You know what happened in Florida, 400,000 votes where did they go? They were stolen by Mr. Bush and if you people said nothing about it.

AMANPOUR: It was very heavily covered and there's a dispute about the word "stolen." But here's the thing. The power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe, do you think that that's actually going to be a real power- sharing agreement? And you do control all the ministries, defense, police, mining. Is there going to be real power sharinG? Is it going to get better?

MUGABE: The inclusive government is a real power-sharing arrangement. Don't denigrate it.

AMANPOUR: All right.

MUGABE: We have 14 countries which are responsible for assisting us in bringing that about. And for assisting us, also, in making it run. And read what they say. Listen to what they say.

AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. Mugabe. Thank you for coming in. thank you for talking to us.

A final thought on our first week when we return in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And that's it for this week's program. But the conversation continues. We'll move beyond the headlines and move the story forward on our Web site, CNN.com/Amanpour. And we'll continue the dialogue on the program's Facebook page. It's been a big week in New York because of the U.N. general assembly. And we've had some important guests. But we'll also be talking in the future to people who are affected by these leader's decisions and their actions. So for now, for all of us here and our staff around the world, good bye. We hope to see you next week.

END

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