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Battle for Donetsk Airport; Pope Francis Conducts Mass At Gethsemane; Narenda Modi Sworn In As 15th Prime Minister Of India; Anti-EU Sentiment Gains Ground In European Parliament Elections

Aired May 26, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: He is renowned as the people's pontiff, but can Pope Francis maintain his widespread appeal as he straddles the religious divide here in the Holy Land?

I'm Becky Anderson and I'm in Jerusalem for a special edition of Connect the World.

The leader of the Catholic Church rounds off his whirlwind tour of a region in huge need of a healing touch.

Also ahead, the Kremlin promises to work with Ukraine's new president to bring peace to the east of that country. Separatists there clearly have other ideas.

Narendra Modi is sworn in as Prime Minister of India on a wave of expectation. We're live in New Delhi as he takes on what is a mammoth task.

And the European Union is looking less united than ever as the far right and left come closer to tearing the bloc apart.

Well, I'm here in Jerusalem where Pope Francis is wrapping up his three day visit to the Middle East. His last day here chock full of extraordinary images and gestures. And he kissed the hand of a holocaust survivor during a visit to the holocaust museum. He prayed at the wailing wall. And a tradition dictates, placed a written prayer into the wall as well.

Well, later, Pope Francis removed his shoes before taking a tour of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Well, a busy day. And we're going to have a lot more on this in the hour ahead. Ivan Watson will be along to discuss the pope's political dealings during his trip.

We'll hear about the reaction in Israel to the pope's Middle East peace initiative.

And our Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher will join us to discuss the pope's achievements here over the past three days.

Well, now if there's one thing connecting much of the world this day it is democracy in action. And we've got it covered for you. I'm going to take you live to Ukraine to examine whether the self-declared president Petro Poroshenko can heal the huge rift in his country.

We're in India where Natrenda Modi is sworn in as prime minister with his Pakistani counterpart in attendance.

And our man in Cairo with us as voters chose between military might and leftist reform.

And we'll investigate what drove millions of disillusioned Europeans to the political fringes.

So let's get going.

We'll begin in Ukraine for you.

One day after the presidential election, heavy clashes break out in the east. Pro-Russia separatists took over the airport terminal in Donetsk and clashed with Ukrainian forces. Black smoke billowing while Ukrainian paratroops landed and began clearing the area. But separatist reinforcements have been seen moving in.

Meanwhile the billionaire businessman known as the Chocolate King is leading with 54 percent of the vote. Petro Poroshenko says European integration would be his priority.

Well, Nick Paton Walsh is in Donetsk with more.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, what we've seen just at the airport now is certainly the heaviest fighting I think so far of the Ukrainian crisis. We have little information about the number of people killed or injured during it. And it's also closest to any major population center here. Right at the heart of the Donetsk City's main infrastructure, an airport which pro-Kiev officials said was a redline and separatist militants touched it. Heavy fighting, heavy weapons, hours of it, too.

Let me tell you how we got here. At 3:00 this morning, according to a spokesman for the airport. Separatist militants went in, said that they would take it until the Ukrainian army left their positions around it. That they did not due. 7:00 past, all flights were suspended and then the Ukrainian government said unless they left -- the separatists that is -- by 1:00, they would being an operation.

That deadline passed without the separatists leaving and then it appears a jet moved in, fired some rounds towards that airport. Heavy clashes then began.

There's now an information war to suggest who potentially is in control. I have to say from being there and seeing the volume of pro- Russian separatist militants moving in, about 200, 300 on buses, and the positions they were taking up and the ground they seemed to be moving towards, it does look unlikely that the Ukrainian government there in particularly large numbers, although they do say they still control that airport, as do the separatists as well.

But this is remarkable, because of the fact we saw a combat helicopter flying so low over a civilian objective like that airport, firing at a target nearby, further black smoke billowing, separatist militants shooting back at that helicopter.

Locals running for cover, some calmly confused, standing by. A stray heavy caliber shell going through the roof of a house nearby. It was empty, but the people were shocked and terrified by it.

We're seeing a new phase of violence here, because it's so close to the urban city center, because it's so intense heavy weaponry being involved and because bizarrely it came just hours after Petro Poroshenko said he would like to see some sort of negotiated settlement, to talk to the Russians to perhaps give amnesty to separatists who didn't have blood on their hands.

A very confusing and dangerous day indeed -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the ground with the very latest from there in the east of the country. Nick, thank you for that.

Well, Narendra Modi is being sworn in as the 15th prime minister of India. The ceremony in New Delhi was attended for the first time by leaders from across south Asia.

Now India has had tense relations with neighboring Pakistan, as you'll well know, by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was among the guests today.

Modi's party won an absolute majority in elections, something that hasn't happened in India for three decades.

CNN's Sumnima Udas has been following the ceremony in New Delhi and joins us now.

This was a sweeping victory. We were together reporting on this just last week. Interesting lineup of guests at the ceremony. What are the expectations going forward?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. I feel like we keep using the word historic every time we talk about Narendra Modi, but again truly an historic moment for India and Indians once again. This was the biggest ever swearing in ceremony for an Indian prime minister. We're talking about 4,000 guests, 10,000 security personnel deployed, all of this to really see a man who used to once sell tea at a railway station become India's 15th prime minister.

There were celebrities on the guest list, you had cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, actors like Amitabh Bachchan, all the cabinet ministers. And then of course all the leaders of the south Asian nations.

And the one that everyone was watching, Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan. No one really expected him to come, because remember Narendra Modi has always had a very hawkish stance on Pakistan. So no one actually really expected him to invite him. But still a lot of people here saying this is a diplomatic coup of sorts for Narendra Modi.

ANDERSON: Sumnima is in India for you.

What do you want to see from the new Indian prime minister, then, in the coming months and years? We'll be able to -- will he be able to live up to the expectations? They're pretty high aren't they? You can join the conversation on our Facebook page. That's Do get in touch.

You can also watch my video blog on Narendra Modi there.

Well, Egypt's interior ministry says one activist has been shot and killed in Cairo. He was president or active in the presidential campaign of the candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Now the former army chief is the clear favorite in this election which got underway today and continues tomorrow.

He's running against Hamdeen Sabahi, a left leaning politician. CNN's Reza Sayah tracking the vote from Cairo. And sadly not as quiet as I'm sure the candidates would have hoped.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, be it first and foremost, Becky. We have just learned from authorities that the killing of that activist who was working for the al-Sisi campaign, according to officials, was not related to the election. So it was an unfortunate incident, but it wasn't linked to the campaigning and this vote, and that's relatively an indication of what's been a calm and peaceful process at least today.

Indeed for the second time in two years, Egyptians are voting for a new president, but nowhere near the drama and the excitement that we saw back in 2012 because unlike 2012 when you had 13 candidates, this year you only have two candidates -- the left leaning politician Hamdeen Sabahi, and the runaway favorite Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the former army chief.

We're in front of one of the roughly 25,000 polling stations that have been open throughout the day and will be open tomorrow. And as you can see, no wait, no lines.

About a half hour ago, we visit three other polling stations throughout the neighborhood. And same thing, not a lot of voters at least where we are.

We tried to find someone who is voting for Sabahi. We couldn't. Everyone we talked to told us that Sisi is their man.


May I ask who you voted for?





SAYAH: Everyone is voting for Sisi.


SAYAH: Can you tell us why? Why is everyone voting for Sisi?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think because he's the man in this time who took us back from the Brotherhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Return back Egypt to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Because he is the man of the hour. And the best thing about these elections is I respect both of the candidates.


SAYAH: An example of some of the praise that Egyptians are laying upon Mr. Sisi. A lot of Egyptians describing him as the powerful man that Egypt needs to unite. Although it's important to point out that Mr. Sisi - - in fact neither candidate -- has put forth a detailed plan how they're going to fix Egypt's immense problems -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Reza Sayah in Cairo.

Well, still to come tonight, as Egyptians line up to choose their new leaders and the pope visits Jerusalem, we're going to analyze the history of relations between Egypt and Israel and what the next chapter might hold.

And voters across Europe voice their opinions through the ballot box, but it's not what the mainstream parties were hoping for. That ahead on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Let's take you now briefly to the U.S. State of Virginia for one of the more poignant moments of what is at the heart of this solemn Memorial Day in the United States when those who died while serving in the military are remembered.

Now you'll looking at President Barack Obama at Arlington National Cemetery where many of those are buried. After a whirlwind surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday, Mr. Obama is back on home soil laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the monument dedicated to those who died without being identified.

You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back. This is a special edition from Jerusalem for you.

Pope Francis is concluding his last day of his visit to the Middle East. One of his final public appearance, a prayer service at the church of Gethsemane here in Jerusalem.

Well, later he planted an olive tree in the church gardens. It's been a visit full of symbolism and quite a bit of politics, especially for a trip billed as a spiritual journey by the Vatican.

Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has been with him every step of the way, as it were.

This was a trip, Ivan, encouraged -- most of us encouraged (ph) to believe by the Vatican at least that it would be long on symbolism and perhaps a bit more on -- shorter on substance. I'm talking political rhetoric here.

But, boy, this is not a pontiff who is afraid to wade in, or isn't afraid to wade in is he?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, he isn't. In fact today while meeting with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he actually corrected him, jokingly, when Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Jesus spoke Hebrew. He said, no, no, no, Aramaic.

So, yeah, this is a guy who steps forward. Most of today has been focused really after focusing on the Palestinians on Sunday, reaching out to Israelis, to Jews. And his visit to the Holocaust museum very much involved with that.

And I think his message that he wrote in the guest book there after he kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors and looked visibly touched by hearing their stories, his message was very poignant. He said, quote -- he wrote, quote, "with shame that man made himself into god and sacrificed his brothers. Never again. Never again," with multiple exclamation points.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff and incredibly moving to watch.

This, as I said -- I think we probably guessed would have a political edge in the end, even if it had been billed as this spiritual sort of pilgrimage of prayer. But he spent a lot of time talking to the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and extended his invitation to both sides to visit him at the Vatican.

He says for a prayer meeting, but of course it will be more than that.

Are both sides going, do we know?

WATSON: We know that both sides have welcomed that invitation, both the Israeli president's office and the Palestinian Authority president's office. So that's a good gesture.

But one thing to keep in mind, the Israeli President Shimon Peres, he's stepping down in about two months. He is also not the man who holds the most power within the Israeli political system, that is the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

So if he sits down with the Palestinian president, that's a big symbol, it's a strong symbol, but ultimately will it lead to any change on the ground in this intractable conflict? That's a very big question.

ANDERSON: What, if anything, surprised you most about this trip?

WATSON: Well, I think that image of the pope, leaning his head, leaning his hand against the separation barrier, that is clearly going to be one of the big powerful political symbols of the trip. Also that he traveled here with a Muslim sheik and with that Jewish rabbi, two men that he considers his friends. And it sticks with me meeting Rabbi Abraham Skorka, his friend that he co-authored a book with in Argentina. Him saying that, you know, this pope is a friend of the Jews.

Pope Francis -- any pope, any leader who comes here, this is an incredible political and religious highwire act they have to walk on.

The live images that we're seeing right now of the pope celebrating mass in the Senecal (ph), even that is fraught with tension. There were Jewish-Israeli protests against the pope going to this location, because the location that he's at right now is believed to be the place where Jesus held the Last Supper. It's above what is believed to be the tomb of King David.

There were protests about the pope even going to this place and holding this mass. And that shows how difficult this visit is for any leader, especially a pope.

ANDERSON: Two-and-a-half days, it's been, you know, a whirlwind -- a sort of understate it to a certain extent. This is a 77-year-old man. I've got to say I thought he looked quite tired by the end of play yesterday. But he's -- this is his final sort of spot, isn't it? And then he gets back on the flight, I think, and goes back home.

A success so far as the Vatican is concerned briefly, do you think?

WATSON: I haven't seen great criticism coming from either camp. Of course, the Palestinians were delighted with him yesterday, and I think the Israelis very happy that he visited the tomb of Hertl, the founder of the Zionist movement. That was a big -- that was a first a pope. And I think a big question will be how will his flock feel about this? Will they feel like they have gotten enough support, this dwindling Christian community in a region that has just been torn apart by conflict.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson for you on what has been quite phenomenal tour to the Holy Land.

Well, visit the Connect the World blog for much more on Pope Francis's trip to the Middle East including a report I filed from Jordan this week as the pontiff was greeting crowds in the Popemobile. It is quite remarkable to get as close as we did to this man.

Want analysis -- get analysis on what this trip means to the Vatican, and indeed to the region.

Well, live from Jerusalem, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up CNN's Vatican correspondent will be along to discuss exactly what the pope has accomplished during his visit here as well.

Also ahead, a top French official calls the EU parliament vote result a shock. We're going to explain what the anti-EU sentiment means for the establishment.

You're live in Jerusalem, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, you're back with Connect the World live from Jerusalem with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

France's prime minister calling the European Parliament election results, quote, "more than a warning," he says. It's more like an earthquake.

Well, the far right National Front came out on top in France, winning a nationwide election there for the first time. And there was strong anti- EU sentiment across Europe with right wing parties gaining ground in the UK, in Denmark, and in Austria.

The leader of France's National Front Party says the results send a message.


MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH NATIONAL FRONT LEADER (through translator): The sovereign people claim that they want to take back in their hands the reigns of their destiny. Our people demand a single politics, the politics of French people, for French people with French people. They no longer want to be directed externally, be submitted to the laws they have not voted for.


ANDERSON: Well, before we discuss these results and their implications, Atika Shubert with a rundown of the election results. An explanation of the political fallout inside the European parliament. Have a look at this.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This election was all about the protest vote.

Now, it may not seem as though a lot has changed if you look at the four parties that still hold the most power in European Parliament. These are the latest results. You saw the center right and left, they still hold, but what this graph doesn't show is how much they have lost. In fact, the center right European People Party has lost 8 percent of its seats.

So, where did it all go? Well, take a look at this next graph. The vote wen to independent fringe parties. These are the biggest wins across Europe.

And here in Britain you can see the anti-EU UKIP Party led by Nigel Farage had a stunning 27 percent. Compare that to just 1 percent 20 years ago.

Now this is a party that was established for the sole purpose of taking the UK out of the EU.

And similarly in France, Marine Le Pen's National Front had a historic win of 25 percent. Campaigning, in the words of Le Pen, to destroy the EU from within.

Now even smaller traditionally more pro-EU countries lean to the right. Denmark's People's Party won 26.6 percent of the vote by demanding less EU intrusion into Danish national life.

But it wasn't all victories to the right, Greece's Syriza Party, a far left party, won 26.5 percent of the vote. Now this is an anti-austerity party that wants to reverse all of the budget cuts the EU has demanded of it.

It's also interesting to note, though, that in Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party came in third, winning about 9 percent of the vote. And it will for the first time have seats in European Parliament.

So, across Europe a big no vote to the mainstream political parties, but the only thing that these parties have in common is their fringe status, and their clear distaste for the EU.

They don't agree on a lot of policy, and many have outright refused to ally with each other. UKIP, for example, has rejected the idea of joining up with the National Front.

So ultimately the fringe has gained a much bigger platform for the anti-EU politics, but not likely enough seats to stop EU legislation. It's only enough to loudly protest against the EU from within.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: All right, let's take a look at what all of this anti-EU sentiment means for these establishment parties in parliament, what it means for France.

Dominique Moisi joins me now from Paris. He's the co-founder and senior adviser at the French Institute for International Affairs.

A very big win for the Front Nationale in France.

I guess on the ground, what's your first reaction? What is this anti- EU message from voters actually mean?

DOMINIQUE MOISI, FRENCH INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Well, I think it's not only an anti-EU message, it's an anti-elite message. It's an anti-people in power message. It's a humiliating defeat for the French president and for the head of the conservative opposition at the UNP.

ANDERSON: Well, CNN has got some reaction on the streets of Paris to the rise of the far right in this election. Before we move on, let's just have a listen to what a number of people said to us. Have a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think it's more a vote of revolt on behalf of the French. And that's a pity, because people do not necessarily measure the consequences of what that can have. We must be able to have a system of federations, states that are united and one day go towards what the U.S. did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's no European project anymore, which is clearly explained to the Europeans. People retreat into themselves and no longer think clearly because they do not understand what Europe is. Nothing will change yesterday's elections. It's not a disaster. But it is a message that regardless European leaders will now have to take into account.


ANDERSON: Dominique, I was touched by one thing the second chap said there, there is no European project anymore, which is clearly explained to the Europeans.

If these were a protest votes against national politicians, then I think perhaps it's clear where people were going. Do you think people are clearly thinking about Europe and its future going forward, though?

MOISI: No. In a way, what is very interesting yesterday watching the various television programs of Europe, Europe was absent. The British spoke of UKIP, the French spoke of the National Front, there was no consideration of what it meant for Europe.

And in fact somewhere there is a disconnect between the emotional shock and the actual strategic meaning of what's going to happen. The euro skeptics party cannot block the European parliament.


So, finally and very briefly, then, what happens next? Because clearly there has been an enormous amount of people who have spoken to their MEPs, their Members of the European Parliament. What do those representatives go back to Brussels with?

MOISI: Well, the problem is that the solution to the problems that were exposed yesterday are much in the national capital of the various countries than in Brussels. When you have a strong leader like in Germany, Angela Merkel, when you have an energetic leader like Matteo Renzi in Italy, you see that they are carrying pro-European voices behind them.

So the reform of Europe starts first in the various capitals of the European countries.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Dominique, we thank you very much indeed for joining us.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead here on Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Live for you out of Jerusalem this evening.

Plus, more on the volatile situation in Ukraine that this man, president in waiting Petro Poroshenko needs to solve and solve quickly.


ANDERSON: You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live for you from Jerusalem this evening. The top stories this hour at just after half past 6:00 locally.

Armed pro-Russia separatists took over the airport terminal in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Explosions and gunfire were heard as they clashed with military forces. Now, separatist reinforcements have been seen moving towards that airport.

Narendra Modi has been sworn in as the 15th prime minister of India. The ceremony in New Delhi was attended for the first time by leaders from across South Asia, including the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil over the weekend in memory of six people who were killed in the California college town of Isla Vista late on Friday. More details are emerging about Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old police say went on that killing spree. He left behind a 137- page, quote, "manifesto" outlining his plans and what he said were his frustrations with women.

Authorities in Brussels in Belgium are asking for the public's assistance to help identify this gunman, seen on surveillance video. He fatally shot three people at the Jewish museum there on Saturday. A fourth victim is in critical condition. A senior law enforcement official tells CNN police have no leads.

And in Thailand, the army general leading the country following last week's coup says he has received backing from the highly-admired king. It's an endorsement that, no doubt, holds sway with many Thais. But will it ends the protests by those who oppose the military takeover?

The military is warning a crackdown could be coming. Paula Hancocks is on the street in Bangkok for you.




PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quite a noisy standoff here in Victory Monument, this is in central Bangkok. You can see the military has moved in here. They're trying to tell hundreds of protesters, maybe 200 of 300, to go home.

They've been telling them that they are disrupting the traffic, they're disrupting the country, and they need to go home.

But at this point the protesters are not listening. They want to get their voice heard. They are anti-coup protesters, they're ignoring the fact that martial law says only five -- no more than five can actually get together in some kind of a demonstration. OK, no problem.

They're also saying that they will continue to protest until (inaudible). They're also saying that they'll continue to protest until there are elections, or that General Prayuth has said this Monday morning that elections may be further in the future, he doesn't know when. He's saying there could be a stronger military crackdown now for these demonstrators.

You can see at this point, that isn't making any difference to them. They're just trying to make their voices heard.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Bangkok.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, CNN and other international networks have been taken off the air in Thailand, and with that in mind, you'll see more posts about the country on in the coming hours.

The people of Thailand deserve to know what is happening in their country, and CNN of course committed to telling them and you, wherever you're watching. Check out the CNN International Facebook page and the @CNNi Twitter account for more information as well.

Heavy clashes around the Donetsk Airport in east Ukraine. Armed pro- Russia separatists stormed the terminal there, explosions and gunfire heard as they clashed with the Ukrainian military. At least reports separatist reinforcements were seen moving in. This comes after the leader in Sunday's presidential elections, Petro Poroshenko, pledged to end the war and bring peace back to the country.

Ukraine's presidential election was watched by 900 election observers that came in from the rest of Europe. The acting president says the polls were open and transparent. But it's got to be said, in east Ukraine that has seen so much violence, Nick Paton Walsh found closed polling centers, scorched ballots, and an intimidating show of force.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what voters got in Donetsk City: a closed door at polling stations.


WALSH: And this is what people power looked like at a pro-Russian rally in the very city center. And it sounds like this.


WALSH: Dozens of separatist militants on trucks, but one truck was different, full of gunmen from Chechnya. What you're about to hear is a startling insight into how involved Russia may be here. These men are not only Chechen, and so Russian citizens, but one said he was a Russian policeman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): From Russian Federation, we're here to protect the interests.

WALSH (on camera, through translator): Whose orders are you executing? Kadyrov?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our own. We're volunteers.

WALSH (through translator): Did you serve in Chechnya?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes. We're Kadyrovcy.

WALSH (through translator): Which unit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): That was earlier.

WALSH (through translator): Police, right?

WALSH (voice-over): Vladimir Putin says these elections should be respected, but it's hard to imagine how a former and armed policeman from Grozny could have gotten here without Putin's government knowing about it.

Near Donetsk, people did try to vote, but the ballot papers had been burned by separatists earlier.

WALSH (on camera): Well, the police guarding this polling station say that during the course of the morning, about 20 people have come here and tried to vote, but obviously, they're unable to do anything here. The polling booths aren't ready and the ballot papers burned outside. There have been no replacements sent.

WALSH (voice-over): Allegiances changing fast. This the home of steel magnet billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, a local power broker, besieged by protesters who want him handed over to separatists. Militants here not taking the house, but protecting the people from any danger, they claim.

Akhmetov's pockets are deep, but his influence waning. So few pro- Ukrainian voices now heard, the ground upon which any new Ukrainian president could take a stand shrinking fast.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Donetsk.


ANDERSON: Well, Russia now seems to be taking a different tone with Ukraine. Russia's foreign minister reiterated what the president, Vladimir Putin, said earlier, that Moscow will respect the will of the Ukrainian people. Phil Black joining us now from the bureau in Moscow. So, in principle, at least, Russia says it will respect this vote. That is certainly not evident, though, on the ground, Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. So, Becky, Russia's position represents a significant evolution of its attitude towards Ukraine. A softening, perhaps. It will accept the result, wants to enter direct dialogue with the new powers in Kiev.

But that intention now has to be tested against the reality, and that reality is still defined by some pretty stark differences between Moscow and Kiev, notably, as you were just watching, that ongoing violence in the east of the country involving pro-Russian militants.

Ukraine believes that Russia has a direct hand in that, encouraging, perhaps even orchestrating. Russia has always denied that. The new president, Petro Poroshenko, will want Russia to use its influence to convince those forces to stand down.

And of course, there is still the other big issue of gas prices. Just the other day, President Vladimir Putin said, "Give us back our money," referring to $3.5 billion he says Ukraine owes Russia for unpaid natural gas deliveries. Ukraine doesn't want to pay anything back until it negotiates a new, fair price, in its view.

So, big differences there. There is still Crimea, of course. Petro Poroshenko says that Ukraine will never recognize Russia's recent annexation. Despite these differences, Russia appears to have come to the conclusion that this new Ukrainian leader, Petro Poroshenko, is perhaps someone they can do business with, Becky.

ANDERSON: Phil Black in Moscow for you. Thanks, Phil.

Live from Jerusalem, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD just at a quarter to 7:00 here locally. Through history, Egypt and Israel have clashed several times, but how will the proceed after what is this presidential election in Egypt. That is next.


ANDERSON: Well, Pope Francis is wrapping up his three-day tour of the Holy Land, giving hope to the dwindling number of Christians living here while reaching out to Muslims and Jews, and he's invited Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the Vatican.

Well, the pope's visit comes at a time when tensions in the region remain high, of course. A little over 400 kilometers from where we're standing here in Jerusalem, Egyptians are busy voting for their next president. And given the tumultuous relations between Egypt and Israel, that's an election that's being closely watched here as well.




ANDERSON (voice-over): Fifth of June, 1967. Israeli forces launch a preemptive attack on Egypt after a simmering period of tension between the two countries. The war ended on on the 10th of June, decisively in Israel's favor, and became known as the Six Day War.

Amongst other regional territories, Israel seized the Sinai peninsula, a large piece of land located on Egypt's border with the Jewish state.

Egyptians hit back in 1973, their surprise attack unsuccessful. But Israel suffered heavy losses. Subsequent attempts by the US to negotiate peace between the neighboring countries failed. Then, an unexpected turn of events.


ANDERSON (on camera): In 1977, the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, made an historic speech at the Knesset building behind me. He told the Israeli parliament we really and truly invite you to live with us in peace and security.

ANDERSON (voice-over): A year later, Israeli and Egyptian delegations met at Camp David in the US, where the two sides signed the two-part Camp David Accords, bringing about a peace between Israel and Egypt that has held to this day. But it was this peace which ultimately angered Islamic jihadists, who assassinated President Sadat in 1981.


ANDERSON: So, how will relations between Egypt and Israel go forward after these elections? There are an awful lot of moving parts here. Will we see the continuation of a cold peace, or will relations improve under a potential el-Sisi presidency?

Well, veteran Israeli journalist and commentator, Hillel Schenker, joins me now. I'm delighted to have him. He's the co-editor of the "Palestine-Israel Journal."

Ahead of the vote, sir, Sisi said, and I quote -- this was to a national broadcaster in Egypt -- "If the consequences of terror in Sinai necessitate changing the peace accord, then we will, and Israel will not object to that, because it is aware of the gravity of the situation." That was an interview with state broadcasters on Monday.

And sources also saying that the Israeli side accepts the Egyptian army presence there. Let's just have a listen to what the Israeli Defense Forces believe about this cooperation and how it's paramount in dealing with the insurgency. Here's what one IDF commander had to say on the issue.


AVIV RESHEF, IDF COMMANDER: We're sharing information with our allies. We are trying to do our best to find those groups, and we know the Egyptians are doing also their best to find those groups. We share information on a tactical level.


ANDERSON: "We share information." He says it outwardly. Does that surprise you?

HILLEL SCHENKER, CO-EDITOR, "PALESTINE-ISRAEL JOURNAL": Yes. No, not at all. I think that it's very clear that in Israel, everyone -- almost everyone on both the right and the left would prefer to see General Sisi as the president to Morsy, the previous leader.

ANDERSON: What does it mean for Israel?

SCHENKER: What it means for Israel is the possibility of a more stable Egypt, an Egypt which will not, as the Muslim Brotherhood was in the previous regime, a backer of Hamas. In this case, you have an Egypt which is returning to its traditional role as the central force within the Arab world.

ANDERSON: What does it all then mean, if we leave Israel aside for the moment, to the Palestinians? Because the Muslim Brotherhood under Morsy -- or Morsy under the Muslim Brotherhood government, reached out, of course, to the Palestinians.

They reached out to the military, as well, here in Israel. There seemed to be a sort of understanding amongst everybody in Sinai, there, but diplomatically, it was a disaster for Israel.


ANDERSON: So, what would an el-Sisi presidency mean for the Palestinians?

SCHENKER: Well, first of all, when Morsy was president, Hamas felt reinforced and emboldened, because after all, they are -- the Muslim Brotherhood was their parent organization. And Mubarak tended to support Fattah, Arafat, Abbas, et cetera.

Having General Sisi as the president means once again that President Abbas is being reinforced, and there's no question that Hamas is feeling weakened, also because of the fact that they backed the wrong horse in Syria, they backed the opposition rather than President Assad. And you have a situation where Abbas is really in a more powerful position precisely because Sisi is now going to become the president.

ANDERSON: So, what does that mean, then, for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and for any talks going forward? Not least those at the Vatican, potentially, as the extension of the invitation has been made by the pope, of course, to the leaders of both sides?

SCHENKER: Well, the first thing is that if there is a political will on both the Israeli and Palestinian side to return to the negotiations, to try to move forward towards some type of progress, towards a resolution of the conflict, then the Egyptians will be placed in a situation where they will be able to help. They will be able to help provide Arab world backing. They are, after all, also the hosts of the League of Arab States.

And so, from that point of view, this can be very helpful if, as I say, there is Israeli and Palestinian political will to move forward.

ANDERSON: So, how well-watched, ultimately, will this election be? It looks as if it's going to be a sweeping victory for Sisi. Our correspondent on the ground couldn't find anybody who'd voted for the other contender, whose name people don't even recognize in Egypt.


ANDERSON: How well-watched is this election here?

SCHENKER: The truth is that today, everybody is busy watching the pope. Here we are in Jerusalem. Only the professional pundits are really watching what is happening in Egypt right now. Of course, also, the government and the military leadership. But the average Israeli and the media are not paying much attention to it.

ANDERSON: So, this election, finally, just to wrap here, is good for the Israelis, as it were, this Egyptian election, to all intents and purposes for the government here, would be good for Fattah, not so good for Hamas. But broadly across the region, possibly providing some sort of stability or underscoring a more stable future?

SCHENKER: Yes, one can assume that. At the same time, we also know and observe that there have been anti-democratic tendencies. After all, the army did remove --

ANDERSON: Correct.

SCHENKER: -- Morsy, who was elected, after all, democratically. He - - the Muslim Brotherhood went too far, which was why they were removed. And we can't ignore the fact that the younger generation at Tahrir Square will continue to want to be essentially a watchdog over how far the generals are going.

ANDERSON: Do you believe that? Because I've heard that said, and I've talked to a lot of people who blogged in 2010 and 2011, were very much part of that youth movement at Tahrir Square, they say they'll continue. But I worry that this isn't now military dictatorship going forward. Briefly.

SCHENKER: Here I'd like to quote Dennis Ross, of all people, who said that one thing we can say about the Arab Spring throughout the Arab world is that if the Arabs before in their various countries were subjects, today -- where the leader determined everything, today they understand the power of being citizens.

And I think that this is still true also in Egypt that the generals and Sisi and his government will have to take into account public opinion to a greater degree than the previous regimes, than the Mubarak regime.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed --


ANDERSON: -- for joining the dots for us this evening.

SCHENKER: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, one of his final acts in the Holy Land, planting a symbol of peace, an olive tree, in one of the most conflict-ridden places in the world. We'll bring in our Vatican correspondent for more reaction on the pontiff's trip here, up next.


ANDERSON: Well, ahead of this trip, the Vatican said the pope's visit would be -- here to the Holy Land would be about religion, not politics. A strictly spiritual tour. Well, our Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher closing this hour for you with me.

And as the pope gets set to head home, Delia, one image that perhaps resonates for me as much as any other is this shot of Francis with his traveling companions, a Muslim and a Jewish scholar in front of the Western Wall. Delia, this has been a symbolic trip designed to send a message to both sides of the Israeli and Palestinian crisis, and across faiths. Has he done it?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: I think he has, Becky. One of the notable things about this weekend has been the pope's ability to inject a sense of simplicity into all of these activities that are generally very highly-choreographed.

He has been spontaneous in his gestures, such as that embrace in front of the Western Wall, and I think particularly striking, the invitation to President Abbas and President Peres to come to the Vatican.

What was interesting about it, Becky, was it wasn't an official invitation to come for a peace summit at the Vatican. He said, "Come to my house." Keeping in mind that his house is basically a hotel room at the Vatican.

It was a gesture of simplicity and friendship. And of course, he has taken the name of the great saint of simplicity. So, that certainly stands out, that he has managed to be able with both sides to inject simplicity into what are very complicated situations here, Becky.

ANDERSON: As I said, a symbolic trip. We're told it was spiritual, but it was always going to have a political edge. A message to both sides of the Israeli and Palestinian crisis while he's been here. Today, he honored Jews killed in the Holocaust. That was an incredibly moving moment, Delia.

GALLAGHER: Very much so. Again, the pope spontaneously going over to meet with the Holocaust victims, kissing their hand, Becky, which is not protocol for a pope, but obviously, came right from the heart in a sense of reverence towards their experience, which of course he spoke very movingly about.

As well yesterday when he was with the Palestinian refugee children, I thought that was very interesting when he went in and they held up the signs saying, "We are under the occupation."

It was a difficult moment, perhaps, for the pope, and he was able to give a kind of very simple message to those children, who are the new generation of children being raised in this land, and he said, "The past does not determine your futures." And perhaps that was a message, as well, for the adults, Becky.

ANDERSON: "The past does not determine your futures." Perhaps that is his parting line, here. Delia, thank you. And we're going to leave you, viewers, this hour with some lasting memories of the pope's visit to the Middle East, your Parting Shots this Monday from Jerusalem. Good- night.