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CONNECT THE WORLD

Pope Francis Canonizes John Paul II, John XXIII in Unprecedented; OSCE Members Detains in Slovyasnk; Interview with Palestinian Lawmaker Henan Ashwari; Afghan Prosthetics Factory Employs Former Patients; Crisis in Ukraine; Middle East Cafe Chat; Parting Shots: Controversial Kiss; Iraq Prepares for Elections; New Energy Players; Cyprus Forging New Ties: Exclusive Interview with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades

Aired April 27, 2014 - 11:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Pro-Russian activists call them prisoners of war. Coming up, we are live in the eastern Ukraine city of Slovyansk with the very latest efforts to free this OSCE delegation.

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a message for the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- tear up your pact with Hamas. His interview with CNN is just ahead.

And the role of young people, especially women, in bringing change to the Middle East. You are invited to pull up a chair for our cafe chat.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from here. It is just after 7:00 in the evening. We begin in volatile eastern Ukraine where international observers say they are being held against their will by pro-Russian separatists. Now the monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were seen here at a news conference earlier in Slovyanask.

U.S. President Barack Obama says the world must present a united front to Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. A new U.S. and EU sanctions against Moscow are now expected.

Let's get right to our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh in Slovyansk for the very latest.

Nick, and as we see pictures of these monitors from the OSCE, what do we know about how long they have been held and why?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a number of days now. And they are being openly paraded in that situation, because a self-declared mayor here in Slovyansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov says they are NATO spies.

Now he doesn't believe -- or this point doesn't want to endorse the idea that they put forward, which seems to be the case, that they're part of an OSCE military observer mission. An older man -- the new one, the OSCE has to try and regulate the crisis here, but they're saying, two of them I spoke to, said they were outside the town of Slovyansk. Part of their job is to look for unusual military buildups. They were trying to do that. And then were detained originally by some of the less organized pro-Russia militants here who were clearly joined by some of the better disciplined and then taken to a cellar initially here and it appears in the last 24 hours their condition has improved significantly, kind of, I think have some better accommodation.

There is a concern about the Swedish member of this group of OSCE observers. He has perhaps issues with diabetes withhold by members of the (inaudible). He's been looked after very well with water and sugar and better accommodation than the rest of them.

They say they have not been threatened, but clearly it was obvious from hearing the German Colonel Axel Schneider speak that they believe they are being held here against their will. And of course asked to make that press conference at the request of the mayor rather than from their own imposition.

Let's hear what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COL. AXEL SCHNEIDER, OSCE: This press conference was a proposal by the mayor of this city. We maintained our position that we are OSCE officers with diplomatic status and that we request the protection for diplomats. He fully understood my position. And he made clear under which situation he acts as a local commander.

And that is when he said I want the officers to show up here for an international press conference. And we accepted that, because we wanted that our families see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: There was a clear emotional element to waht they had to say. Some concerns, of course, for their future here, but also wanting their families and loved ones to be sure they're OK.

I should say during that press conference, which was lengthy and extensive, they appeared to have arrived, a delegation -- a second delegation from the OSCE, one of their marked vehicles, pulled up outside and then Mr. Ponomaryov, the self-declared mayor of Slovyansk, said that negotiations were about to begin potentially for their release.

We're not sure what the outcome of that is at this particular point, but there is substantial pressure. And of course, not only from the west, signals from Moscow that they want to see the situation resolved as quickly as possible. But of course this is a moment you can see from some of the (inaudible) sent through how the new self-declared authorities here consider this to be a great bargaining chip they have. And even Colonel Schneider you saw there went on to say that he expected to be used as a political, I think an element in the discussions between the broader sides in this crisis here, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the ground for you. And later in the show, we'll go to Kiev where Phil Black is standing by.

On the eve of the holocaust remembrance day, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a statement. He called the holocaust the most heinous crime in modern human history. But that doesn't sit well with Israel's prime minister. CNN's Candy Crowley spoke with Benjamin Netanyahu and get his reaction to the Abbas comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I try to reconcile that with the fact that he embraced just a few days ago the Hamas terrorist organization that denies the Holocaust and openly calls for a new extermination of the six million Jews in Israel.

So, President Abbas can't have it both ways. He can't say the Holocaust was terrible, but at the same time embrace those who deny the Holocaust and seek to perpetrate another destruction of the Jewish people.

I think probably what he's trying to do is damage control. I think what President Abbas is trying to do is to placate Western public opinion that understands that he delivered a terrible blow to the peace process by embracing these Hamas terrorists. And I think he's trying to wiggle his way out of it.

CROWLEY: He is also quoted in today's "Jerusalem Post" as talking about this new unity government with Hamas, and saying: "The government reports to me and follows my policies. I recognize Israeli, and so will the government. I renounce violence and terrorism, and I recognize international legitimacy, and so will the government."

So, essentially, he's saying: This is still going to be my government. It still is going to follow what I have observed and what I have said.

What do you make of that, and do you believe him? And, if you do, is it enough to bring you back to the table?

NETANYAHU: Look, I will not, as the prime minister of Israel, negotiate with a government that is backed by the Hamas terror organization committed to our destruction.

Neither would you. You designate Hamas, the U.S., as a terrorist organization. It sends thousands of rockets into Israel. It sends scores of suicide bombers. It praised the murder of a father of five the other week on the way to a Passover dinner, praised it. They praised bin Laden when he was alive as a holy warrior and condemned the United States when you killed bin Laden.

This is one of the most preeminent terrorist organizations of our time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Benjamin Netanyahu speaking on CNN just about an hour or so ago.

Later on the show, we're going to get the Palestinian point of view to all of this with a live interview with Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashwari. We're going to ask her about the Israeli prime minister's demand that Abbas should tear up the deal he made with Hamas. The Palestinian perspective in just a few minutes on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

Well, it's been an historic day for the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis celebrated canonization of two former popes -- John Paul II and John XXIII. It was also first time two living popes were present for the ceremony.

And Benedict XVI wasn't at the altar, but he had a place of honor among the cardinals and bishops. The Vatican estimates 800,000 people crammed into the area around Saint Peter's Square for the ceremony, another half a million watched on television screens throughout Rome.

Well, the Vatican city hasn't seen this kind of crowd, or the level of this sort of excitement since Francis become pope last year.

I want to bring in Reverend Joel Camaya, a priest in Rome who joined me during the installation of Pope Francis just about a year ago or so.

Quite remarkable stuff. Could you have conceived of this when you and I spoke at the installation of the new pope in March last year?

REV. JOEL CAMAYA, CATHOLIC PRIEST: Yeah, actually I was not expecting it since it came rather too soon, because when I came here in Roman in 2011 Pope John Paul II was beatified, but I did not expect this to be so soon. And I'm so fortunate to be here in Rome at this time, yeah.

ANDERSON: Well, just describe the atmosphere for our viewers, if you will, so many of them will have been watching around the world on CNN earlier on.

CAMAYA: Yeah. I was up as early as 3:00 am and then I walked from my home to the vicinity of the Vatican, but there were already a lot of people lining up ready to enter the piazza, which was opened about an hour and a half later.

But once they were in, wow, the atmosphere was so festive, even though there were some problems maybe in answering and people wanting to be there first. But once they were in, everything was festive, yeah.

ANDERSON: And the Popemobile, was out, and Pope Francis doing the rounds. How close did he get to people?

CAMAYA: Pardon?

ANDERSON: I know that the Popemobile was out and Pope Francis actually driving amongst his faithful. Did you get a chance to get close?

CAMAYA: He was -- he went around the streets (inaudible) with the Popemobile around the piazza, but then something surprising afterwards, he went to visit the different places where there were the big screens, so he reached out to those who were not able to enter the piazza. And that's something remarkable, I think.

ANDERSON: Finally, this is a church looking to the future. It has a number of issues, not least the sex abuse scandal, corruption in the church, women priests, gay clerics, what do you expect to see short-term from the Catholic Church going forward?

CAMAYA: Yeah, this canonization that the pope did today is actually a message that the -- we continue moving on. And in fact with the canonization, for example, of John XXIII when he began the Vatican council, the second, he was mentioning about the breath of fresh air.

But he was quite clear that the doctrine of the church stands, but it's in the manner of expressing this to the people, to -- in maybe in a manner that this -- for those who would not understand or maybe for those (inaudible).

What's remarkable, also, about this canonization is it's opening of doors to the world, like when John XXIII was speaking about the Vatican council the second, it's an opening of the windows. And Pope John Paul II at the beginning of his term is opening wide the doors surprise. So it's opening to the world actually, yeah.

ANDERSON: All right.

Well, Joel, it's an absolute pleasure to have you on once again on Connect the World. Send us your pictures, write us a blog, we'd love to hear more from just what a significant day it was and why from you.

Still to come tonight, how to care for patients who lost a limb in Afghanistan's war sometime it takes -- just takes one to know one.

And later, my cafe chat continues today. Discussion about the role of women and youngsters in Arab society after the Arab Spring. Stay with us. I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World out of the UAE. It is 12 minutes past 7:00.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Now ahead of holocaust remembrance day on Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the holocaust, and I quote, "the most heinous crime in modern human history."

But from the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (inaudible) that Abbas is in league with holocaust deniers after uniting with Hamas.

Well, the president -- the Palestinian president issued a statement calling the persecution of the Jews in World War II the embodiment of racism, but Mr. Netanyahu wasn't impressed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATANYAHU: President Abbas can't have it both ways. He can't say the holocaust was terrible, but at the same time embrace those who deny the holocaust and seek to perpetrate another destruction of the Jewish people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: That serves as yet another blow to the Middle East peace process. Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashwari joins me now from Ramallah. And just a couple of hours ago on CNN, the Israeli prime minister said he was not ready to accept the line on the holocaust from Mr. Abbas, calling it simply damage control. And this was his message to Mr. Abbas. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATANYAHU: They say Israel is going to be destroyed. We'll continue the terror campaign against Israel. This is the partner that President Abbas has now joined. And I call on President Abbas, tear up your pact with Hamas, recognize the Jewish state, come back to a real peace process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Apologies for the problems just at the top of that.

I want to get a sense from you of just exactly where you think we stand at present, Hanan Ashwari. Your reaction to the words of Benjamin Netanyahu today.

HANAN ASHWARI, PALESTINIAN LAWMAKER: It's cynical. It's a manipulation of the situation in order once again to find a pretext to avoid the peace talks and to withdraw and to blame the Palestinians and to bring out the whole label stereotype, the terrorism and so on and to finally destroy the peace talks.

He's been telling from day one, escalation of settlement activities, escalation of violence, annexation of Jerusalem, the siege on Gaza, the escalation in terms of -- the refusal to implement signed agreements, including the release of prisoners.

He did everything possible to undermine the talks. And now he is using the pretext of reunification in order to say you don't qualify whereby the same token we can say we're not going to talk to Netanyahu unless he disbands his government coalition that's made up of settlers, which by definition are war criminals, or unless he gets rid of Lieberman and unless he gets rid of Bennett.

I would much rather negotiate with Uri Avnery, or with Zehava Gal-On. Why should we negotiate with him?

ANDERSON: Let me just stop you there for one moment. I want to push on here. I want to read out some reaction from the office of the President Abbas in response to Mr. Netanyahu's word. He said, "President Abbas stressed that the holocaust is a reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism, which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against."

That's the words certainly from the office of President Abbas.

Now Benjamin Netanyahu went on to say he won't negotiate with the government backed by the Hamas organization. This is one of the most preeminent terror organizations at the time, he said. And he said from the start I would wait until Abbas represents the entire Palestinian people. Now, we are going to take time out, he says.

He's told his lawmakers that's it.

Is this the end of the peace process as we know it?

ASHWARI: Probably it's the end of a phase, I don't know, unless people definitely give up on the chances of peace, and unless Netanyahu succeeds in superimposing greater Israel over all of Palestine. This has been his plan all along. And now he's found an excuse.

The issue is that now he's using this idea of the holocaust. He's trying to implicate, even when Mahmoud Abbas is making very positive gestures. He's expressing publicly his sympathies. He's talking about his commitment to peace and to negotiations and so on.

Netanyahu is very busy sending also his own little underlings going all over the place filling the air waves with all sorts of slander. This is not the way to make peace. You either comply with international law, the requirements of peace. You stop settlement activities, you honor your obligations and you move ahead, or you begin clutching at any pretext or excuse to destroy the process, which I think --

ANDERSON: Let me put something else that he said to you today --

ASHWARI: -- particularly in his unilateral --

ANDERSON: I hear your words. I hear your words.

Let's put one other thing that he said today, one thing he also said -- he was certainly at pains to stress that he's not giving up on peace, at least. Have a listen to this. And I'll get your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: I still hope that we'll find a way to peace. You know, if we can't get it through a negotiated agreement because of the composition of the Palestinian government, then we'll seek other ways. I'm not going to accept a stalemate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: He said "if we can't get it through negotiations, we will get it another way." He said he thanked John Kerry for his efforts, but effectively he said they don't always work.

Again, your response. He certainly sees room for negotiation going forward, he just didn't explain how that would be.

ASHWARI: Well, he wants to make peace only with a select few as part of the Palestinian population. He doesn't want to make peace with all the Palestinians, neither with the Palestinians in Gaza, nor with the Palestinian exiles and the refugees. He just wants to pick and choose a few Palestinians to his liking to give them the good housekeeping seal of approval and then he'll proceed.

This lip service is meaningless, we judge by his actions. He has been systematically dismantling the process, systematically destroying its very foundations and systematically destroying the very objective, which is a two-state solution by stealing the land of the Palestinian state very simply.

If he is serious, then he will act in a way that will demonstrate his seriousness.

Now he himself, he has withdrawn from the peace talks, so it's up to him to come back to the talks. If he insists that he wants talks that are structured and set up only to accommodate his own priorities and preconditions and so on, and particularly when they violate international law, then I don't see any chance for peace.

We need a government in Israel that understands the imperatives of peace, the building blocks and that will comply with international law, and with the most basic requirements of justice and moral responsible behavior.

ANDERSON: Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashwari joining me live from Ramallah tonight, responding to words heard here on CNN in an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu just a couple of hours ago. Thank you for that.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, workers who make prosthetics for patients in Afghanistan know first hand what it's like to live without a limb. That, coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: From the terrace outside the bureau here at CNN Abu Dhabi, it is 25 past 7:00, a very warm welcome back.

You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. NATO says five allied service members have been killed in the crash of what is a British helicopter in Afghanistan.

Now this happened on Saturday in the province of Kandahar. Local officials report there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time. They say the crash appears to be the result of a mechanical problem.

Afghanistan's presidential election will go into a second round on June 7 after no one candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote.

Now it's been a long road for the war-torn nation. Life in the country is hard enough, but it's even tougher for those who have lost a limb as a result of the war.

There is a special group of people who are helping disabled patients, though, as Anna Coren reports they know exactly what the disabled are going through.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As light streams into a brightly colored room on the outskirts of Kabul, 13-year-old Sturai (ph) helps her father. She instinctively knows what to do. This has been her routine twice a day for the past seven years after her father's truck hit a land mind, severing his spinal chord.

Propping up against cushions, she pulls off his long socks that protect his frail, withered legs. Straps on his calipers before getting his walking frame.

And then, with all the strength he can muster, Mohammed Amin (ph) slowly shuffles up and down the room.

"When I wear them and walk outside, I don't feel like my legs don't work and that I'm disabled," he tells me. "I just feel like I'm normal."

Where to monitor his condition Raz Mohammed (ph), a home visit therapist from the orthopedic center of the international committee of the Red Cross.

He knows exactly what the 50-year-old father of five is going through. Back in 1997, he was standing in a market when a rocket exploded and he lost his arm.

"At the start, it's very difficult to accept your disability, but I tell my patients don't become hopeless, work hard, and you will have a good future."

The man responsible for transforming countless lives in Afghanistan is Alberto Cairo (ph), the Italian physiotherapist who came to this war-torn country more than 20 years ago, provides free prosthetics and calipers and only employs former patients in his workshop.

"He doesn't think about the disability of a person, but the ability of a person. He has given us hope and we try to pass that on."

JESSICA BARRY, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: The patients come, and they come thinking their life is over. When they go again and they have worked with peopel who themselves are former patients, they actually see that thee is a future as well.

COREN: The International Committee of the Red Cross has been doing this incredible work here at the orthopedic center in Kabul since 1988, treating more than 120,000 patients, both victims of war and people with disabilities. But this isn't just a short-term fix, it's a commitment for life.

Mohammed Sabir (ph) can't remember what it's like to walk. At the age of 3, a rocket exploded, severing both his legs from his lower torso.

"Since I started this job, I'm happy and proud that I'm helping disabled people," he says.

The 24-year-old Orthopedic technician is also one of the center's star basketball players. The team is off to Italy next month for the national championships before heading to Seoul for the Asian games.

"I want to become a hero and a great basketball player. I want to be the pride of my country."

But what Mohammed Sabir (ph) doesn't realize is that he and his team already are.

Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines are just ahead, as ever here on CNN.

Plus, my chat with some of the big thinkers in the Arab World. We're going to look at the evolving roles of women and youth. Do stay with us for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Just after half past 7:00 here in the UAE. Your headlines this hour.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to break the reconciliation pact with Hamas. He says Israel will never talk peace with a government backed by the organization. Netanyahu added that he will seek other ways to achieve peace.

The Catholic Church has added two new saints. Pope Francis held a special ceremony to canonize former popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Hundreds of thousands packed into St. Peter's Square to watch the historic dual canonization.

And a group of international observers were brought before reporters in eastern Ukraine earlier. They're being detained by pro-Russian separatists. Now, a second OSCE team is apparently in Slaviansk to negotiate their release.

And while this plays out in the east, Moscow bracing for a new round of Western sanctions. CNN's Phil Black joins us, live from the Ukrainian capital. Let's talk about these potential sanctions in a moment. First, what do we know at present of these observers who are being held hostage in Slaviansk? How many of them are there, and what happens next?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it was in Slaviansk, this pro-Russian stronghold in eastern Ukraine. There's seven of these international observers who were really put on display at a press conference called by the self-declared mayor of the town, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov.

And it was during this press conference that he declared them to be prisoners of war. So we know that there are at least seven international figures. We believe another five Ukrainian observers are also being held as well.

During this press conference, they made it very clear that they're being held against their will under armed guard. Other pro-Russian officials have said they're being held because they're being suspected of spying and they would only be released under some sort of prisoner swap arrangement with the Ukrainian government that would also see the release of pro- Russian activists that are being held by the Ukrainian government.

So, no reason to suspect at this stage that this is going to be resolved quickly, Becky.

ANDERSON: What about these sanctions? Any talk at this stage of what they might be? There's certainly talk that they may be brought in by the West, by the EU and the US, as earlier as tomorrow.

BLACK: Yes, early this week. We're talking individuals, possibly institutions again. The US says it's ready to go. European diplomats will meet tomorrow to discuss their options, but they seem very willing to move together, the United States stressing the importance of presenting a united front here so that there is no sense that this is just a US versus Russia squabble over Russia's influence in Ukraine, but putting across the idea of Russia's international isolation.

The US also says it's important to have on the table, ready to go, broader sanctions affecting whole sections of the Russian economy in the event that Russia escalates --

(AUDIO GAP)

BLACK: -- troops across the border. So, that's there, ready to go, at the moment acting as deterrent. But in the event we see further escalation, the US says that would move into place very quickly as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. It's going to be a fascinating next 24 hours. With that, Phil, we thank you. Phil Black in Ukraine.

Well, last Sunday, we brought you the first part of what was a discussion I conducted in a Dubai cafe with three of the region's biggest thinkers. Among the issues on the table: Egypt and Syria and the complex relations between the Gulf countries and Iran.

In the second part of that chat, we consider the role of women and young people in Arab society, and we begin by examining the post Arab Spring mood in the region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABDULKHALEQ ABDULLA, UAE UNIVERSITY: You had 60 years of political stagnation in this region, 60 years of corruption, dictatorship. We were going from bad to worse, and things were really bad.

And the Arab Spring came with a better spring, with a bit of hope. And people felt it at that time, OK? Maybe we were over-excited, maybe we were over joyful. Now we know the reality. The reality is this: it's going to be a very difficult process to get to a prosperous, stable democracy.

RAGHIDA DERGHAM, BEIRUT INSTITUTE: Change is a healthy thing, and I think the most important thing that happened in this change -- now you know, because you are the partner of this change in Yemen -- it has been -- there has been a place for the youth.

The youth have been an important element of change, and that's new. They are taking their own destiny and saying, yes, I can do something about it.

Before, they used to say, this is none of my business, there's too much corruption, there is too much of this, I can't help it. OK, give me immigration. I want to migrate. I want to emigrate. I want to leave. Now, they are really going to the square. And I don't know if you agree with that.

ABDUL KARIM AL-IRYANI, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF YEMEN: The flowering of the Spring in Yemen was done by youth and women.

DERGHAM: And women.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about that, then. So, if you've got --

(CROSSTALK)

AL-IRYANI: That's very significant.

ANDERSON: -- if you've seen the flowering of the Spring conducted, to all intents and purposes, by the youth and the women, how do they play a part in the short-term going forward? How do we prevent the women of Tunisia, of Egypt, of Libya, of Syria, playing anything but an appendix role, as it were, going forward? Do you think it's realistic?

AL-IRYANI: I speak for Yemen. I -- we conducted the national dialogue that lasted for ten months. The representation of women was 30 percent. And the decision of that national dialogue, that women will be represented by a minimum of 30 percent in all levels of authority in Yemen, including legislation.

And now, the national constitutional committee is drafting a new constitution, and women are there. There are 17, 3 of them are women.

(CROSSTALK)

DERGHAM: Can I say something?

ANDERSON: Is that enough? Is that enough?

AL-IRYANY: Yemen --

ANDERSON: It's a start, but is it enough?

AL-IRYANI: As a beginning, if we compare the role of women before the change that took place in Yemen, it's very significant that they have become self-asserting. I like to say aggressive.

DERGHAM: May I say something on this? And I just want to put something negative about a liberal country where women dress as they want and do as they want, and that is where I come from, Lebanon.

Do you know we have no such thing close to what we're having in Yemen? We don't have a quota, we have no women in parliament, except three, and because they happen to be politically connected. And they are very able women, mind you, but just because it's not easy for the men to allow them to take a space.

And in the ministry, we have one woman. Last ministry we didn't have any. In Yemen, they are much more ahead in terms of women now than us in Lebanon because they had the Arab Spring.

ABDULLA: This brings me going back to your question, the youth part of it, OK? I think what the youth did in Tunisia and in Egypt and even Yemen and here and there is that they played the historical role. They broke the 60 years, and that was their role, OK?

It is not up to them to take it to the second stage. This was -- this is left to the politicians, to intellectuals, to other forces in society. When they took over, they made a mess of it, but the youth played that historical role. Good for them, we're all happy about it.

They are still there. They are watching. If things didn't fix itself, I think they're going to jump back in again.

DERGHAM: But you know, Abdulkhaleq, I have to say something. There is a terrible problem that we're going through in the whole Arab region, but let's just take Libya as an example. Dr. Abdul Karim al-Iryani was with us at Beirut Institute's lunch, and of course in the board meeting when we were listening to our advisory board members telling us about the status of women in Libya.

Women get marginalized after the revolution, during that transition. But they also get targeted, security-wise. And so, this is not about inclusion and quota only.

ABDULLA: But so is -- everybody else is targeted, not just the women. I'm sorry about that, but everybody else in Libya is a suspect and a target --

(CROSSTALK)

DERGHAM: In our region --

ABDULLA: -- men, women, and everybody else.

DERGHAM: In our region --

ABDULLA: So it is not just a women's issue.

DERGHAM: In our region, women get targeted differently --

ABDULLA: I know, but this is --

DERGMAN: You know what I'm saying.

ABDULLA: Yes, I understand that, and I know the prejudice, and I know the difficulties. But it's not a specifically a women's issue in Libya.

DERGHAM: I'm sorry, to be blunt about it, a lot of women are targeted and intimidated sexually, by sexual assault.

ABDULLA: That's true, that's true, that's true.

DERGHAM: All right, so this is --

AL-IRYANI: I think what happened in Libya regarding women, I agree with Raghida that the outcome has been so far negative compared to how it was. But again, I think Arab women are not going to be, as Raghida said, an appendix. They will assert themselves from now on, and no one can take away the gains that already were gained and what's coming.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: More cafe chats in the weeks to come. Your Parting Shots tonight. Well, what's in a kiss? Quite a lot, if tonight's Parting Shots is anything to go by. These photographs show former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani greeting the Saudi ambassador to Iran, Abdul Rahman bin Garman al-Shahri in Tehran last week.

As you can see, the two men exchanged kisses, and that's generated a great deal of chatter on social media here in the Middle East. Some Saudi bloggers reckon the greetings was a little too friendly and went against diplomatic protocol.

Others demanded the ambassador be fired, saying the kiss was detrimental to the prestige of Saudi Arabia. As with any fallout, we can only hope that all sides kiss and make up soon.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching us here in Abu Dhabi. We leave you with a timelapse look at what was the dense fog that surprised drivers here this morning and disrupted some flights at Abu Dhabi International. From us as a team, it's a very good evening.

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JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, another milestone in Iraq. The country is gearing up for its first general election since US withdrawal. We take a look at some of the factors at play in a country troubled by political and sectarian tension.

And new discoveries, big potential. We take a look at what could be an energy game-changer for Cyprus and Lebanon, and sit down with the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, in an exclusive interview.

Iraqis head to the polls over the next week to elect a new parliament. It is the first election since the withdrawal of US troops back in 2011. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking a third term, but slow economic progress and a lack of security remain crucial factors, as Arwa Damon explains.

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ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the city that US forces wrested from al Qaeda ten years ago, Fallujah. Now, the black flag that instilled so much terror flies here again. The Islamic State of Iraq in Syria, ISIS, more powerful and menacing than ever, has seized the city.

Fallujah is in Iraq's Sunni heartland. Peaceful protests here against Iraq's predominately Shia government were violently suppressed on the orders of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

KIRK SOWELL, POLITICAL RISK ANALYST: So, there is a very real terrorist threat. The problem is the manner in which Prime Minister Maliki has conducted the war. It has just been unduly polarizing and extremely divisive.

DAMON: Divisions which have fueled the violence. Iraq has seen a surge in car bombing, assassinations, suicide attacks. Violence reaching levels not seen since 2008. As this man said, "We depend on God each time we leave the house, because you don't know what fate holds for you."

And fate continues to fail Iraq. As the nation readies itself for the first parliamentary election since the US occupation ended, Maliki's party still strong. The prime minister is seeking a third term, appealing to his Shia base.

SOWELL: Maliki was taking a more nationalist position in 2010, and at the same time, among those who are either Sunni Arab or secular Shia, there was less polarization, so things are definitely worse in terms of the overall environment. And then, of course, the security environment is substantially worse than it was in 2010.

DAMON: And it's not just security that is in shambles. Iraq's oil output may be at its highest in more than 30 years, but basic services remain a mess, with little of that oil wealth reaching the country's citizens, lost in a web of corruption and politics.

The optimism that followed Saddam Hussein's overthrow now a distant memory. With little hope that elections will change things for the better, Iraqis continue to endure another dark chapter in their history.

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DEFTERIOS: Arwa Damon reporting on the political uncertainty in Iraq, which remains one of the most promising countries when it comes to proven energy reserves. There is, however, a new target for the oil majors, and that is the eastern Mediterranean. Recent discoveries could change the fortunes of two of the smaller countries there: Cyprus and Lebanon.

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DEFTERIOS (voice-over): It may be early days in the quest for energy underneath the first platform in the crystal-blue waters of the Mediterranean, but the bounty may be sizable for a small country like Cyprus.

The minister overseeing this portfolio for the island nation says the natural gas would make his country energy independent for a generation.

YIORGOS LAKKOTRYPIS, CYPRIOT ENERGY MINISTER: Cyprus requires about 0.5 cubic feet for 25 years for electricity production in Cyprus. Now, we have a discover which ranges between 3.6 to 6. So most of that will go for exports.

DEFTERIOS: The eastern Mediterranean is considered a new energy frontier. Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt have also marked their territories and are busy evaluating their potential.

Texas-based Nobel Energy did its first energy drilling work last summer in Cyprus, indicating there is potentially 3 billion barrels of oil in the field with a shared boundary between Cyprus and Israel. France's Total and Eni of Italy will start work later this year.

DEFTERIOS (on camera): So far, there's just been one field in one bloc explored. There are 13 blocs in total between this port of Limassol, and the port of another city, Larnaca, there's going to be a $10 billion facility built to manage liquified natural gas.

DEFTERIOS (voice-over): That investment may need to be revisited with another partner if Israel chooses in the end not to use it for gas exports. The finance minister of Cyprus tells me they are already drafting proposals to set up a sovereign fund that he says will follow the Norwegian model of financial prudence.

HARRIS GEORGIADES, CYPRIOT FINANCE MINISTER: We have good examples internationally, and we have bad examples. And we want to follow the best examples of how these revenues, when they come, are utilized. But in any case, this is a medium-term prospect and not something which will happen tomorrow.

DEFTERIOS: Georgiades says the one bloc that has been surveyed, when brought to market, would represent more than 100 percent of the country's GDP of $23 billion. This would be a massive turnaround for Cyprus, which needed a bank bailout a year ago.

Across the waters in Lebanon, the calculations are much grander. Freddie Baz of Bank Audi says the government's share of energy revenues could total $700 billion.

FREDDIE BAZ, GROUP CFO, BANK AUDI: Even if we assume a 20, 30 percent haircut on this figure for whatever geological or commercial risk, we are still talking about a figure which represents 12 to 15 times the the current size of the economy.

DEFTERIOS: Managing that risk with the unrest in neighboring Syria will be tricky, but the Cypriot energy minister says oil and gas may provide the best incentives to push for peace.

LAKKOTRYPIS: We have seen that there is quite a shift of mindset of people understanding that we have to stabilize the geographical area, which is called eastern Mediterranean.

DEFTERIOS: Instability has been pervasive for decades and remains the biggest risk to this new energy frontier.

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DEFTERIOS: A game-changer taking place in the eastern Mediterranean. When we come back, we take a closer look at Cyprus, recovery from the banking crisis, and managing future wealth. I'll talk to the president of the country, Nicos Anastasiades, in an exclusive interview, when MARTKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST continues.

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DEFTERIOS: A year ago, the tiny Mediterranean island state of Cyprus was faced with a banking crisis. As a member of the European Union, most of its funding for the bailout came from European states and from Russia. Now, Cyprus wants to broaden its business and economic ties.

President Nicos Anastasiades was here in the United Arab Emirates last week meeting with senior officials, including the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. I sat down with the president for an exclusive interview and asked him about the country's newfound energy wealth and managing it for the next generation.

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NICOS ANASTASIADES, PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS: The very first findings are talking about 5.5 billion TF (ph). And then of course, Nobel, who has character, really, the brains, they're going to continue the exploration while in August, we should have the DNI new drillings for their own plots. The results, in any case. And the prospects are quite encouraging.

DEFTERIOS: We're at an important cusp in terms of energy development in Cyprus. How do you manage expectations of the Cypriot people? And what other models are you looking at, in terms of energy wealth, to make sure that the assets are not squandered?

ANASTASIADES: That's why we're talking about the Norwegian model, because we -- we are trying to pass to the people that when we are talking about the energy, we're talking about the future generations, not for the present only. But the most important is the future generations.

So, they are well-prepared, and they have not any expectations that oh my God, we are going to become like the Arab Gulf emirates and so on.

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DEFTERIOS: Very interesting. You've suggested that it could be energy that unifies the island between south and north.

ANASTASIADES: Yes.

DEFTERIOS: Why do you think it can bring both sides together?

ANASTASIADES: Because the benefits out of the exploitation of the wealth of energy is going to be in the best interests of all the people of Cyprus, whether these are Greek or Turkey Cypriots.

And what I'm saying and what I'm trying to convince our compatriots is that the wealth is belonging to the state, the Republic of Cyprus. But you are residents -- you are not residents, you have the Cyprus nationality as well. Let's find a solution on the basis, as has been agreed, and then you will have your proportion in participating in this wealth.

DEFTERIOS: Is it fair for me to say that Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has been exercising gunboat diplomacy? He's actually had naval ships in the southern waters there.

ANASTASIADES: They are violating our exclusive economic zone, this is truth. But for the time being, they kept away from disturbing the companies who have been licensed. This is maybe due to the reaction of the States, of the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations as well.

DEFTERIOS: Is 2014 the year that you can actually bring the parties together and find a solution, in 2014, 2015? There's a lot of pressure on the ground to have a resolution from generations who've been shut out.

ANASTASIADES: It depends on our compatriots in mainly Turkey how active they're going to be and how they will exercise their influence on our compatriots of Turkey Cypriots. All of us nowadays, we are realizing that it's high time to give an end to this protracted problem. And this is why I have mentioned before as an incentive, the energy.

DEFTERIOS: Within a two-year timeframe? Is that realistic?

ANASTASIADES: Yes. I might say yes. Even earlier. It depends on the other side.

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DEFTERIOS: Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades here in Abu Dhabi. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.

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