Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Pope Visits Bethlehem; Elliot Rodgers Suspected of Killing Six, Injuring 13 In Rampage; Pope Invites Palestinian Authority, Israeli President To Vatican For Peace Talks; Security Tight Ahead of Pope's Visit To Jerusalem; Ukrainian Presidential Election Hinges On Voter Turnout

Aired May 25, 2014 - 11:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A message of hope for the Middle East: Pope Francis has proven to be a force of change in the Catholic Church, but can he succeed where countless politicians have failed and bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together?

I'm Becky Anderson and I'm live in Jerusalem for you this evening as the pontiff arrives in the center at the center of what is a faltering peace process.

Also ahead, casting votes in a fractured country. We'll take you to Ukraine as ballots are completed in a highly contentious election.

Why weren't the warning signs headed? Police investigate events leading up to a California killing rampage that the suspect appears to have planned.

And another shooting shocks Belgium. The search is on for a lone gunman believed to have killed three people at a Jewish museum in Brussels.

A very good evening. It is 6:00 here in Jerusalem. Pope Francis due in moments after calling for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Middle East. In Tel Aviv a short time ago, the pontiff said the Palestinians have a right to a sovereign state. He invited Israeli President Shimon Peres to the Vatican for peace talks.

Now the president's office says it welcomes the invitation, but it's not clear as of yet whether Mr. Peres will attend.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted his offer earlier on today.

Let's bring in Delia Gallagher for more. This has been a -- well, a very busy day. This is a two-and-a-half day whirlwind tour. The man is 77- years-old. You couldn't make this up. Full of surprises along the way, not least his invitation to come the Vatican to talk peace.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's one of the key things that happened today. It seems to have been a spontaneous gesture also by the pope in addition to the other surprise spontaneous gesture of going up stopping at that wall, the wall of separation between Israeli zone and Palestinian zone here in the West Bank.

So I think the pope today has really put his stamp on this visit, showing that his good will is both towards the Palestinians and towards the Israelis. These walls need to come down. He said this needs to be dealt with now.

A very firm and deliberate part on the part of the pope to try and get both sides at the table, even if it's under the umbrella of a prayer meeting at The Vatican, that will due for the moment...

ANDERSON: And this is before, of course, the meeting that he came for, which is with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the 50th anniversary, of course, of the rapprochement of the two branches of Christianity.

GALLAGHER: Correct.

And you know the irony of this whole thing is he's here talking about peace between Palestine and Israel. He's got his own battle with the Orthordox church, which has been going on for even longer, some 900 years. So...

ANDERSON: We're going to talk about that at the bottom of this hour. For the time being, we thank you very much indeed.

We're going to have more on the pope's visit, as I say, on Connect the World, including a look at security in place for his Middle East visit. You'll also hear my interview with the mayor of Jerusalem.

And as the pope prepares for what is his big meeting with the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, we'll look at whether Bartholomew could be the last patriarch.

Well, after months of deadly violence and political turmoil, Ukrainians are at the polls to elect a new president. Some 36 million people are registered for vote. 900 observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been sent in. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would respect the will of the people, but reiterated that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych remains the legitimate president.

And pro-Russia separatists in the east have promised to disrupt the vote.

So have they?

Nick Paton Walsh joining me from Donetsk with the very latest.

Nick, what's happening on the ground?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, no doubt there's been a very small turnout. And (inaudible) that the pro-Kiev local authorities here can put on it, it's at about a quarter of polling stations have opened, none certainly here in the city of Donetsk. They're closed through fear and intimidation from separatists.

But at those who have been opened, there's been about an 11 percent turnout.

So an extraordinary small fraction of people in Donetsk actually getting a chance to have their voices heard in this election.

What we have seen instead, though, in the center of Donetsk here was a large protest earlier on. And into that came a large number of pro-Russian separatist militants firing their guns into the air, live round heard here in the very city center, a show of force.

But two or so amongst those Russian militants are particularly interesting couple of characters. On the back of one of the trucks were some people who looked very different. They were clearly Chechens. And I spoke to them. The fact they're Chechen is important, though, Becky because that makes them Russian citizens. And one of the men I spoke to says he was in fact a former, perhaps still serving, it wasn't clear, police man working inside Chechnya. That would make him under certainly -- formerly potentially -- or right now under Russian government command.

And a man like that, armed here he says of his own volition, could barely have got into Ukraine given the tight security around Cechnya, without some sort of Russian government acquiescence. Let's hear the conversation I had with him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Russian Federaion, we're here to protect the interests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose orders are you executing? Kadyrov's?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our own. We're volunteers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you serve in Chechnya?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We're Kadyrovcy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which unit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Police, right?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATON: Now the Kadyovcy -- we were talking about there, that is the name for a group of militants that are loyal to the Russian government, work for the Russian government and work for the pro-Russian Chechen president there Ramzan Kadyrov.

Now it's important, because Vladimir Putin, as we know Becky, has said the results of these elections be respected. In that case why in this group of pro-Russian separatists are there Chechens, by default Russian citizens, and as you heard there potentially for more even may be serving police officers in their midst. That certain evidence, I'm sure, that Ukrainian officials will seize upon to back up their long held contention that Russia has been fueling unrest here all along despite their public sentiment at this point to the contrary -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the ground there in Donetsk in Ukraine.

Well, authorities say southern California shooting suspect Elliot Rodger had been planning the attacks for more than a year.

Rodger accused of killing six people, of course, before apparently killing himself on Friday.

Now in a 140 page manifesto and online, Rodger talked about slaughtering women he believed had rejected him.

Well, the college town of Isla Vista is in shock after the killings, as you can imagine. Sara Sidner is there and she joins us now with the very latest.

And it seems, at least, there were various indications that this man was disturbed, at least, and had been planning these attacks ahead of Friday's massacre, Sara. What are authorities saying at this point?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that authorities, the sheriff's deputy, had some contact with him three times, basically, there were three contacts with sheriff's deputies in Santa Barbara County.

One of them, he was in the hospital and called to say that he had been attacked. But they looked into that and the investigation turned towards someone who it seems that it turned out Elliot Rodger was actually the aggressor. And so that case did not go any further pending a further investigation that that case never moved forward.

And then there was this conversation where we know that he actually made a citizen's arrest of his roommate, according to the sheriff. He said that his roommate had stolen $22 worth of candles. That roommate was actually booked into jail.

And then lastly, he actually got a visit from four sheriff's deputies who came to his door after his mother called the sheriff's department and asked for them to check on her son because of some videos that the family found disturbing that were put out on YouTube, put out on the internet.

Sheriff's deputies went there, talked to him. He was very nice to them. He was very timid, very shy and he talked his way through it. They left not thinking he would harm himself or anyone else.

Fast forward to now, obviously police now think he is the shooter who killed six innocent people, most of them students. And we know the names of three, but three names still remain held by the sheriff's department. And those three names were the three people who were inside of his apartment. They were all stabbed to death. The others were shot.

There are 13 who are injured, several of them were shot and several of them were hit by his car. He ended up ramming people.

And this all happened in about a 10 minutes span, mayhem in 10 minutes here in Isla Vista -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. Sara Sidner for you in California.

Well, still to come tonight here on Connect the World, a special Connect the World live from Jerusalem for you.

A manhunt in Belgium for the gunman who opened fire at a Jewish museum. We're going to get a live report from Brussels for you.

And we'll get more on the pope's visit to the Holy Land. We'll go live to Bethlehem and Ivan Watson. That up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is a special addition of Connect the World live from Jerusalem at 10 past six for you. Welcome back.

Let's have a look at some live pictures of Pope Francis who has just arrived in Jerusalem. He's in Tel Aviv. Before that, he of course was in Bethlehem. This is a two-and-a-half day whirlwind trip which started in Amman, Jordan on Saturday.

Rounding off, really, here with what is a very important -- a very important visit, highly anticipated meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Now they will tour the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher now in Tel Aviv earlier. The pontiff said the Palestinians have a right to a sovereign state. And he invited Israeli President Shimon Peres to the Vatican for peace talks.

The president's office says it welcomes the invitation. It's not, though, clear whether Mr. Peres will attend. The Palestinians president Mahmoud Abbas has indeed said that he accepts that invitation.

So, are we looking at a further move, a further era, perhaps, for Middle East peace?

Let's bring in our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson. He's in Bethlehem. And Ivan, as we might expect, security in Jerusalem very tight for the pope's visit.

Give us a sense of the preparations, if you will.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky I've never really been this close up to a pope before. And it's remarkable, I've read about it, I've seen it, of course on television, but it's remarkable to see how the faithful, how Roman Catholics really want to get close to this man and he has chosen, we're told, not to use an armored vehicle while traveling around. He was in an open Popemobile while traveling here through Bethlehem. That poses some challenges for his hosts, whether they're here in the West Bank with the Palestinians or in Israel.

And we got a look with the help of the Israeli national police at some of the measures they're going to take to help protect the pope during his short stay in Jerusalem.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: The Holy City is getting ready. Jerusalem's winding alleyways festooned with the yellow and white flags of the Vatican and its leader Pope Francis. And as always for the visit of a head of state, security is a major concern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our units and our representatives will be fully manned here. I've got more than 20 officers watching.

WATSON: Micky Rosenfeld gives me a tour of the command center of the Israeli police in Jerusalem. With more than 320 cameras posted around the old city, the police can closely monitor the pope's every step.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then we're capable of seeing every different area iIf we need to focus in for a specific individual.

WATSON: Rosenfeld says the main threat to the pope comes from Israeli extremists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our units are dealing with criminal incidents with nationalistic motives, price tags as they're known. The majority of incidents that have taken place over the last few weeks have been against Israeli Arabs. There have been one or two unfortunate incidences against churches.

WATSON: This month, the Catholic Church in Jerusalem expressed alarm about the recent upsurge of acts of vandalism known as price tags, Hebrew graffiti with anti-Christian slurs.

As an added security measure ahead of Pope Francis's visit on Sunday, some shopkeepers in Jerusalem's old city tell us they've been ordered to close their businesses from Saturday night until Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always the big issue of security. Everything goes back to security, you know. They could make security with shops open, but they don't want to do it, you know. It's easier for them just to ask us to close, you know.

WATSON: The Palestinian Authority's ambassador the The Vatican fears the stringent security measures may turn the old city into a ghost town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot understand to separate the Holy Father from his congregations. I cannot understand to see the streets of Jerusalem empty.

WATSON: For what it says were the purposes of crowd control, Israeli security prevents many Christians from attending Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher last month. Some Christians here expect the same could happen when the pope arrives in Jerusalem on Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When someone like the pope comes, you expect -- you expect to be on the streets and to be able to have visual contact with him. And for faithful people and people of -- that love to see the pope, I mean that's very important. And that's frustrating when this does not happen.

WATSON: Despite frustration, there's also pride here, and hope that Pope Francis can bring support to this ancient city's dwindling community of Palestinian Christians.

Ivan Watson, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: And one of the sad modern facts that one of the shopkeepers told me, Becky, is that 50 years ago when the pope visited Jerusalem people could line the streets holding palm trees, of course with rich in Christian symbolism, and that much more difficult to do today, in today's day and age.

However, we did see that the streets of Bethlehem were lined with Palestinians cheering and waving flags, Vatican flags to the pope, as his Popemobile -- again open, not armored -- traveled through the streets of this small town just a few hours ago -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And while we were watching your report, I've been watching the pictures -- and we back on them now, the pictures of the pope being welcomed to Jerusalem by the mayor near Barcat (ph) and that's somebody that I got to speak to a little earlier about issues, including the Middle East peace talks and East Jerusalem.

Just let's have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIR BARKAT, JERUSALEM MAYOR: I want to share with you -- let's get in here to the Luthan Hospice (ph) and show you some views of beautiful views of the old city.

ANDERSON: The pope has talked on this trip about the state of Palestine and about how internationally recognized initiatives for a two-state solution should be acknowledged. That will include East Jerusalem as a capital for the east...

BARKAT: No, it will not.

And by the way, Becky, look at the Middle East, countries around Israel are falling apart. Country after country are destabilized.

ANDERSON: Some people will say that's because East Jerusalem is still contested.

BARKAT: OK, well, fine, find. But the reality is that it's difficult for the states around us to state afloat. And in all the spirit -- in all this turmoil of the Middle East, there's on country that is an island of sanity that's Israel. And in that island of sanity, Jerusalem is doing best. Our economy is boosting, our crime rates are down, and we must be doing something right.

So while everyone is thinking of how to split and how to divide and how to -- I am focusing on how to unity and how to make life better and make things open. Maybe we're doing something right. And the philosophy that the world is going after gets us nowhere.

ANDERSON: The Jordanians would tell you, would argue that they are the oasis in calm in what is this roiling region. Many people will also say it is the fight about Jerusalem that is creating so many problems around the world.

Do you at least acknowledge that?

BARKAT: I hear that. I dismiss it, but I hear that. I understand that people throwing their weight on Jerusalem, the holy city of Jerusalem, but there's a simple answer that could not decide to do that and focus on real problems in the Middle East, focus on Syria, focus on Iraq and Iran and Lebanon.

ANDERSON: So what's your message to the pope here today?

BARKAT: The pope, we're honored and welcome to receive him. We understand his motivation and his coming here is a big honor for us. And we respect him.

We may have some disagreements on the political solutions. That's a totally different thing. And, you know, given enough time I'd be happy to share my views with him and the rest of the world. But we recognize that there are different opinions internally in Israel, because we're a democracy. And of course we respect other opinions that people may have.

The solution has to be negotiated by the Israeli government and whoever is on the other side, which is unclear whoever has a mandate on the other side at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Nir Barkat, Ivan Watson, telling me in no uncertain terms -- his message to the pope is a unity, undivided Jerusalem, that is a Jewish Jerusalem, nobody else's. Does that surprise you?

WATSON: Well, if you -- if coming to the Holy Land reminds you of anything, Becky, it's that there are different faiths piled on top of each other rubbing shoulder to shoulder. For example, here in Bethlehem's Manger Square, as the pope was concluding his mass, the mosque that overlooks the square began to burst forth in the Muslim call to prayer basically simultaneous to the Catholics singing the end of their mass.

And of course, you have these three incredibly important holy sites of the three main monotheistic relations in the heart of the old city of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Wall, the Rock, and the Western Wall. They're all side by side.

If there's another message that I've been hearing again and again from the Christians I've talked to, that dwindling community, they're worried about their future in this land due to all this tension. They complain about inability to travel between the West Bank and Jerusalem on Christian holidays.

And some of this tension extends to Christian-Jewish relations in Jerusalem. There have been some protests from some Israelis against the pope's plans to go to the site that is believed to have been the last -- where Jesus celebrated his Last Supper, which is also the site that is believed to be of the tomb of King David.

So, everybody is jostling for space. That is not something new. And it is likely to continue as these faiths continue to live side by side in this holy city probably in the centuries to come as well -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Live from Jerusalem, this is Connect the World. Ivan, thank you. He is in Bethlehem for you.

Coming up, much more on the pope's visit to the Middle East as he prepares to meet with the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, a big, big meeting.

And all eyes on Ukraine as the divided nation chooses a president. We'll take a look at what's at stake for Ukraine and the rest of the world.

That, coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back -- you're back the world -- you're back with Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Jerusalem this evening just before half past 6:00.

We return to Jerusalem in a moment. First, let's get you to Ukraine where millions of registered voters are eligible to elect a new president, but in the east few polling places are open.

In Donetsk, armed men who say they're from Chechnya fired their weapons in the air. Now pro-Russia separatists are boycotting this vote. Local officials say only about a fifth of polling places in the east are open.

Our chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Sciutto now joins us from Kiev.

And I wonder whether the Ukrainian government isn't concerned here that given the dearth of voters in the east, whether this will be considered in any way a legitimate election going forward, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a fair question, because one of the questions is how low is the turnout in the east. The latest turnout figures we have for -- this was a 3:00 -- as of 3:00 p.m., so still about three hours ago, but about halfway through the voting day, you had 40 percent nationally, but in those two eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk the turnout was 9 percent and 17 percent. So well down. So it's hard to imagine how those figures get up higher than say a fifth or so, maybe a quarter. And what does that mean nationally.

Now, when I've spoken to U.S. officials, who clearly have a stake in this election as well, they will say, listen, you know, the western part of the country, the central part of the country, the vast majority of people are going to be able to vote. And they hope that when you total that all up and balance out the east and west that you'll have a figure that is legitimate enough.

But that's really going to be up to interpretation and the various entities that are interpreting the legitimacy of this election, have axes to grind, of course, because for instance when you talk about Moscow, which may have a stake in declaring the election illegitimate if it doesn't like the result, it can call on lower turnout figures in the east where you have a high pro-Russain population to call into question the results of that vote.

So really, you know, when you speak to U.S. officials, Ukrainian officials they say let's wait to see how the day goes. We'll make a judgment today and tomorrow, but it's a tough question. It's a hard question.

And it's going to be a real question going forward, because no matter what those turnout figures are, Becky, you know, there's a lot to the legitimacy of this government. It's going to have to prove itself very quickly, uniting Ukraine, being uncorrupt in trying to deal with the many problems, not the least of which are economic in this country very quickly.

ANDERSON: Jim, let's just briefly remind ourselves what sort of stake the U.S. does have in this election?

SCIUTTO: Well, it's the U.S. -- and I should say Europe -- not a direct interest. They won't say that they're trying to influence the results. But U.S. officials, the president included, will say repeatedly that they want to see a stable and united Ukraine, one in which its borders are safe, right. And there was earlier this year a violation of those borders, in the view of U.S. and European officials in the annexation of Crimea.

So, you know, U.S. officials and European officials will be on the same page saying that they want Ukraine to stay together, to have its people make a choice about the next government and that that's good for peace and stability not only in Ukraine, but in Europe. And that's really America's stake and the European Union's stake.

ANDERSON: Jim Sciutto in Kiev for you on what is a very big day in Ukraine.

Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, the latest on the investigation into a shooting at a Jewish museum in Belgium. I'm going to take you live to Brussels. That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: It is half past 6:00 just on here in Jerusalem. This is a special CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.

Not all of the 36 million registered voters in Ukraine will cast a ballot for a president. Pro-Russia separatists in the east have promised to boycott the election there. Local officials say a fifth of the polling stations in the city of Donetsk, for example, are open.

A highly-placed source in Thailand tells CNN that the former prime minister is no longer in military custody. It's been three days since the army staged a coup and took control of the country. Protesters have been fighting security forces in the capital, Bangkok.

Authorities say Southern California shooting suspect Elliot Rodger had been planning his Friday attacks for more than a year. Rodger is accused of killing six people before apparently killing himself.

Belgian police have released images of the suspected gunmen who killed three people in a shooting at a Jewish museum in Brussels. They describe him as an individual of medium build, athletic, and agile in his movements. He was wearing a dark cap with a logo.

Let's get more from our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, who's in Brussels for you this evening. And I know much discussion about whether at this stage we understand this was a terrorist attack or an antisemitic attack. What more do we know at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What officials are saying at the moment is they don't know for sure what the motive was. They do believe it was an antisemitic attack. As you can see here, people are coming to lay tributes, pay respects. It's getting quite crowded here, a lot of flowers have been laid this afternoon.

The details that have been released by the prosecutor's office and the police here have been designed to try to bring attention to who this person might be. They say they don't know who he is. The images that have been released are very stark, they're very shocking.

They show a man using an automatic weapon, it looks like a Kalashnikov, firing at what appears to be inside the museum. We know four people were hit inside there, three of them were killed. One of them as of this morning was in critical condition in hospital.

There is another image, as well, of this man. He's wearing a baseball cap pulled down over his face, he's got bags over his shoulders, and that was taken from a security camera just up the street from here as he was on his way to the museum.

But what concerns officials now is finding out where he is and getting to him before there's another attack. He is on the run, and the prosecutor spokeswoman earlier today asked the country to help find him. This si what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INE VAN WYMERSCH, DEPUTY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: We are actively searching for the author, and we don't have -- we don't have an arm yet, so it is clear that we -- that's why ask the cooperation of everybody, the cooperation of the media.

And also from the people here in the Belgium and in Brussels to look at these images, to look at them carefully, and if they have any information that can lead to the identification of the author, we asked them to give this information to the police authorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: So, Becky, what I also asked as well, I said, well, are you extending that search beyond the border, because obviously it's quite possible for somebody on the run to perhaps try and cross over the border, which is relatively easy in this part of Europe, of course.

The prosecutor spokeswoman said she wouldn't comment on that, but Becky, it does seem very likely that if this man does make a run for the border, officials will be looking for him there as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in Brussels for you this evening. Nic, thank you for that.

Pope Francis has just landed in Jerusalem, the third let of his Middle East trip -- whirlwind trip, this. In Tel Aviv, he said Palestinians have a right to a sovereign state. He invited the Israeli president and the Palestinian Authority president to the Vatican for what he called prayers, but peace talks, effectively. The Palestinians have said they will attend.

One of the highlights of his visits, Pope Francis will be meeting shortly with another iconic figure, Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the Christian Orthodox Church. They are hoping to bridge what is a long, centuries-old schism between the two churches.

Ivan Watson took a closer look at Bartholomew and his dwindling community in a reporting he originally did for CNN's World's Untold Stories. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW, EASTERN ORTHODOX ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE: I am the 270th patriarch of Constantinople.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man is the living embodiment of an ancient tradition.

BARTHOLOMEW: I have on my weak shoulders such a heavy, such a great historical responsibility.

WATSON: His All Holiness Bartholomew is spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians.

BARTHOLOMEW: The ecumenical patriarchy is recognized as the first See of the whole Orthodox world.

WATSON: But the once flourishing Greek Orthodox community here in Turkey is fading away. The Archbishop of Constantinople leads a shrinking community of just a few thousand Greek Orthodox citizens.

BARTHOLOMEW: We are a small Christian minority. We have suffered a lot because of Greek-Turkish confrontation and struggle and lack of mutual trust, confidence. And that is why we lost most of our faithful.

WATSON (on camera): When the patriarch was a boy growing up on this island, this was the biggest ethnic Greek community on Gokceada. But today, it stands as a testament to decades of discrimination and government pressure. This once bustling community is now all but deserted, a crumbling ghost town.

WATSON (voice-over): Many of the Greeks packed up and left for Greece. Today, their empty homes have become playgrounds for children of Muslim Turkish families who are slowly moving into these abandoned communities.

WATSON (on camera): Are you afraid that the way the laws stand today, you could become the last patriarch?

BARTHOLOMEW: No, absolutely not. Because we trust the divine providence. This is our faith, this is our conviction, this is our hope, this is our prayer. And all the rest, we leave at the hands of God.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Lest we forget, the reason for this Holy Land tour, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Let's go to our Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher, who's probably forgotten more about all of this than I will ever know.

This man, the historical leader of the 300 million-strong Orthodox Church. Just describe and explain the symbolism and significance of tonight's meeting.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's significant for the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. This patriarch is the patriarch of Constantinople, which is a historic See, one of the historic places where the apostles went and started the Christian churches, which were originally unified. And then, through a series of historical events became divided.

However, this is only one step in the unification of Catholics and Orthodox. The main barrier here is the Russian Orthodox Church. And so, this is what the Catholic Church considers one step closer to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is refusing to meet with the Vatican.

ANDERSON: Let's just talk to the pictures that our viewers are seeing at present, because this is a quite remarkable thing inside one of the spots in Jerusalem.

GALLAGHER: This is the main spot for Christians, it's the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where they say Jesus was crucified and was buried and then resurrected. So, what you have in this church is the stone where it says beneath this stone it was part of Calvary, which was the mount where Jesus went up to, where he was crucified.

They have a hole beneath that where they say the cross was put in. That is really one of the most venerated places. And then, of course, they have the tomb of Jesus with the rock in front of it.

ANDERSON: Needless to say -- many of our viewers will have visited this spot, I a sure. Just before we finish our show this evening, I wanted to leave the last word to you on just what the pope has achieved to date. This is only two days into a two-and-a-half-day tour. It's been quite remarkable.

GALLAGHER: Yes. I think there's a lot to say. However, if we had to put it into 30 seconds --

ANDERSON: Thirty seconds.

GALLAGHER: -- certainly his emphasis on peace between Palestine and Israel has to be the main focus --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: There was a pillage pledge to this, isn't there?

GALLAGHER: -- of at least this morning's events. This evening will have a different focus, but it was important that he came and that he was able to say quite easily and forthright what he did say about finding peace. And of course inviting them both to come to his house at the Vatican, as he said.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. Delia, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed.

GALLAGHER: You're welcome.

ANDERSON: We'll be back here tomorrow as the pope winds up this whirlwind tour. The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say on this tour or on anything. Tweet me @BeckyCNN.

And in today's Parting Shots, we leave you with more images from the pope's historic day here in the Holy Land.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEONE LAKHANI, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, Egypt is getting ready for its second presidential election in two years. Will it bring political and economic stability?

And with controversial elections coming up in Ukraine, we speak to the CEO of Russia's second-largest oil company and ask how turmoil in the region is affecting business.

Welcome to the program, I'm Leone Lakhani sitting in for John Defterios. Now, next week, Egyptians head to the polls to pick yet another president. Former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is running for office after deposing Egypt's first freely-elected leader, former president Mohamed Morsy following mass public protests against the Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Egypt has suffered bloody internal strife since the overthrow of Morsy, with hundreds of people either killed or imprisoned in a fierce crackdown on dissent. Still, el-Sisi remains a favorite among army supporters and anti-Islamists, but will a new face and power, the third in under three years, be enough to turn around this economically-troubled country's fortunes? Reza Sayah has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CROWD CHANTING)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the 2011 revolution, Egyptians have seen near non-stop protests, the toppling of two presidents, six elections, and a seemingly endless political crisis.

SAYAH (on camera): What Egyptians haven't seen yet is something they've been demanding all along, a better economy, one that gives them a better life.

SAYAH (voice-over): Both of Egypt's presidential candidates insist they can deliver. Former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledges new roads, housing, airports, jobs, and an end to the energy crisis.

Sisi's lone opponent, left-leaning politician Hamdeen Sabahi promises millions of dollars of investments to reopen government factories, create new jobs, build new housing, and improve health care.

SAYAH (on camera): Those are obviously lofty promises, but one thing the candidates haven't done yet is explain how they're going to get everything done.

Is either candidate offering any specifics?

ANGUS BLAIR, ECONOMIST: Not yet. That's the downside. But I think the pressure is ramping on both of them to come out with clearer plans, and that includes el-Sisi.

SAYAH (voice-over): Cairo-based economist Angus Blair says to deliver on campaign promises, Egypt's next president must attract investors both inside and outside Egypt, through large-scale economic reform.

BLAIR: It's not going to be easy, but the problems are symmetrical. But I have to say, the structural issues in Egypt are enormous.

SAYAH: Egypt's problems include rising food prices, unemployment at roughly 14 percent, inflation, and a crippling budget deficit of around 12 percent of GDP. A critical step to recovery, economists say, is cutting costly food and fuel subsidies that eat up roughly one third of the budget.

SAYAH (on camera): Is it a must to get rid of some of these subsidies --

BLAIR: Yes.

SAYAH: -- to get the economy to turn around.

BLAIR: An absolute must.

SAYAH: It has to happen?

BLAIR: It has to happen.

(CROWD SHOUTING)

SAYAH (voice-over): For Egypt's poor, cutting subsidies is a tough pill to swallow. To ease the impact, Blair says Egypt's next leader must launch projects to help the masses, like mass transport and affordable housing. Projects that can be kickstarted by billions of aid from Gulf Arab states.

BLAIR: If the right policy's in place, Egypt could respond quickly. But changing sentiment is the key by putting the right policies in place, the right people in place to implement them to show that something is changing.

(CROWD CHANTING)

SAYAH: Only then, analysts say, can Egypt's next president truly improve the economy and meet the demands of millions of Egyptians still waiting for a better life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAKHANI: So, election promises will soon need to translate into action for Egypt's 80-plus million people. But enticing and retaining foreign investment is also key to Egypt's turnaround. Karim Helal is the chairman of Abu Dhabi's Islamic Bank in Egypt, and he joins me now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAKHANI: Let me put some numbers to you. The IMF forecasts 2.3 percent growth for Egypt this year. That's slightly better than last year, but Egypt's targeting just over 3 percent. Now, is that even feasible, given the political instability we've seen over the past couple of years?

KARIM HELAL, CHAIRMAN, ABU DHABI ISLAMIC BANK CAPITAL, EGYPT: I think the estimates for this year, 2014 that is, is 3.3 percent growth in GDP. And yes, it does look a bit challenging. It is, actually, quite challenging.

Whether or not we will achieve it remains to be seen. My personal opinion is we probably will be just under the 3 percent, which in itself would not be a bad thing, given the turmoils we've been going through over the last year or so.

LAKHANI: The budget deficit is crippling, about 12 percent of GDP. But in terms of foreign investment, the numbers are improving. Now, the lucrative tourism sector, a key earner of foreign currency, is slowly coming back, although visitor numbers are still not at the same levels as before the 2011 revolution.

And foreign direct investment was up slightly in the last quarter compared to the year before. Now, much of that is due to the billions of dollars pledged by the Gulf states to prop up the economy. But is Egypt too dependent on that aid?

HELAL: I think we have to be realistic. Over the last year or more, we -- our economy has been more or less at a standstill. We have sustained considerable decline in one of our main foreign currency earners: tourism.

So, yes, it would have been extremely difficult, more difficult for us to go through that period without the aid that has come through, there's no question about that.

LAKHANI: So, at the end of the day, all these numbers, all these plans are immaterial without the political stability, as we've said.

HELAL: All what we see, all the projections, all our aspirations, our optimism, if you will, the interest that we are seeing from investors all over the place, is contingent upon political stability, on security, on the rule of law.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAKHANI: Coming up, with Russian oil giant Lukoil's decision to move its international hub to Dubai, our John Defterios sits down with the company's president to ask about his expansion plans in the Middle East.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAKHANI: Russian oil giant Lukoil has exploration projects in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including several in Iraq. But since last year, it's been managing all of its overseas operations from Dubai. And John Defterios sat down with the company's president and asked him how that move has changed business in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREY KUZYAEV, PRESIDENT OF LUKOIL OVERSEAS (through translator): Middle East is a key region for our growth. We have invested in two projects located in Iraq. We have a large exploration project near Saudi Arabia, and we are going to have more projects in the Middle East. So, Dubai just became a new center point for our corporate service center.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The ultimate goal is 1.2 million barrels a day in West Qurna in Iraq, but it's about a tenth of that now. When can we see full production taking place?

KUZYAEV (through translator): So, the current production is not anymore 120,000 barrels a day, but 150,000 barrels per day. By the end of this year or beginning of the next year, we are going to achieve a new production plateau for the early oil phase, which is 400,000 barrels a day.

So by now, we have already invested about $4 billion, and we still will have to invest about $36 billion more.

DEFTERIOS: It's extraordinary, $36 billion on a service contract. It's not a very generous contract. Why would you put so much money into such a project?

KUZYAEV (through translator): We think this project is really attractive. We are going to have a profit of about $5 billion and an internal rate of return at 15 percent.

DEFTERIOS: People see all the lack of security, 3,000 killings in 2014. Does it affect business at all where you operate?

KUZYAEV (through translator): Security is a priority aspect for us. Up to date, we have zero cases of kidnapping and zero terrorist attacks in our contract area. We know that there is hard times in Iraq for the Iraqi people. We think that now stability in the country is better.

DEFTERIOS: You're talking about new projects in the Middle East. Beyond Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, what are you looking at today?

KUZYAEV (through translator): So, after we started production in the West Qurna 2 field in Iraq, we are going to enter new exploration projects in Iraq. One of them is Block 10. We also are considering several projects in Iraq. We have discovered fields. One of them is Nasiriya and some others. In Saudi Arabia, we are considering a gas project. In Egypt, we are looking for no extension.

DEFTERIOS: But what conditions are you looking for to make new investments in Egypt?

KUZYAEV (through translator): Our project in Egypt is not that large. We have spent about 20 years in Egypt to date. We are always looking for new opportunities for investment. As soon as economic and political stability in Egypt becomes better, we will be ready to make new investments.

DEFTERIOS: President Putin's interactions with Ukraine, give us an assessment about how people are responding to a company like Lukoil. Does it change business at all because of the tensions in Ukraine?

KUZYAEV (through translator): I can say that we have not introduced any changes in our activities overseas. We are pursuing our strategy and our objectives as they were previously set. I hope that this conflict would stop and we would get back to the peace.

DEFTERIOS: Some describe this as the 21st century Cold War between the United States and Russia, which includes Europe in between. Is this a fair assessment?

KUZYAEV (through translator): It is hard for me to say because I spend much of my time in the Middle East, but regarding this, I would say our leaders would be better -- would better find some peaceful ways of rhetoric.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAKHANI: That's it for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm Leone Lakhani, thanks for watching.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END