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Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Sworn In As Egypt's President; Three Top FIFA Sponsors Speak Out On Corruption In Qatar 2022 Bid; Presidents of Palestinian Authority, Israel Meet In Vatican For Prayer Meeting

Aired June 8, 2014 - 11:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Egypt's new era. Former General Abdel Fattah el- Sisi is sworn in as president. And I'm going to take you live to Cairo this hour.

Also ahead, new developments involving U.S. sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's captivity, the conditions he was kept under by the Taliban.

And under yet more pressure, a slew of World Cup sponsors speaking out on the Qatar '22 corruption claims.

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

ANDERSON: Well, he's Egypt's new leader. And Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's military background might come in handy as he tries to handle the weight of

expectations surrounding his step-up to president.

The former army chief was sworn in, in a ceremony in Cairo earlier today following a two-way election in which he received 96 percent of the vote.

Now his first promise as president to, and I quote, correct the mistakes of the past.

Well, few would argue that's no small task. And el-Sisi's critics argue he has already made plenty of mistakes of his own.

Reza Sayah joining us now live from Cairo.

Characterize, if you will, the enormity of this task.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a huge challenge. Roughly 80 million Egyptians, Becky, are waiting for Mr. Sisi, Egypt's new

president, to fix the whole country that has a whole lot of problems -- an economy that's in shambles, a security situation in many ways a political

crisis that's unfolding.

But this may be his last day to celebrate this victory. This day of celebration started out with a swearing in ceremony this morning here at

the constitutional court in Cairo, that was followed by a 21 gun salute. And then you had a line of dignitaries at the presidential palace. World

leaders, heads of state congratulating Mr. el-Sisi.

But missing from this line were western heads of state, who instead chose to send lower level officials, ambassadors, diplomats. The U.S., for

example, chose to send Thomas Shannon, a diplomat. And this is an indication that western leaders still have considerable concern about how

Mr. el-Sisi transitioned to power and also their concern about a growing number of allegations of human rights abuses.

After the congratulatory handshakes. It was time for Egypt's new president to address the gathering.


ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Sons of the great Egyptian people, I speak to all of you. You have fulfilled your

duties and now it is time for work that will transport our Egypt to a bright tomorrow and a better future. The work that will return stability

to this nation, the work that will be advanced and promoted to the levels Egyptians truly deserve.


SAYAH: Here's what's remarkable, a little more than a year ago, Mr. el- Sisi was a relative unknown army chief, appointed by then Islamist president Mohamed Morsy. Mr. el-Sisi, of course, shot to fame last July

when he ousted Mr. Morsy.

And consider the incredible reversal of fortune -- Mr. el-Sisi is now Egypt's newest president and Mr. Morsy, along with a host of other Muslim

Brotherhood leaders their sitting in jail facing a number of very serious charges.

The celebration continues at this hour, Becky. I don't know if you can hear the honking horns behind me. But starting tomorrow, a lot of work

ahead for Egypt's newest president.

ANDERSON: Yeah. Reza Sayah for you in Cairo. Reza, thank you.

We are just four days away from the start of the World Cup in Brazil. Mexico's national team arrived in Sao Paulo for their 14th World Cup

appearance earlier. They play Cameroon on Friday.

It's, though, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that is getting some unwanted attention. Three major sponsors now -- Sony, Adidas and Visa -- are

sounding off about alleged bribes paid to secure Qatar as the location for the tournament.

Well, at least they have made comments about what is going on and what they expect going forward.

I've got Patrick Snell joining us for the very latest on these allegations. And Patrick, we've had a number of statements now, not least from Sony who

talked to the Sunday Times.

FIFA sponsor Visa just issued a statement on the allegations surrounding Qatar's bid. It says, and I quote, "in part the decision to award host

markets is a matter of FIFA governance. Visa does not take part in the administration of the sport." And just to paraphrase what Adidas has just

sent to us here at CNN. It says, "the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee provided an update last week regarding its

investigation. A report is due. Effectively, we'll wait for that."

A slightly stronger statement from Sony today.

But just how significant is it now that these sponsors are weighing in what is this firestorm around this World Cup in eight year's time?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's the timing of it, Becky, that is absolutely significant.

The tournament opener in Brazil is going to be on Thursday when the host nation play Croatia. As you said, the teams are arriving now in drove.

You've got the great and the good of the football world in South America right now ahead of this tournament, which takes place only once every four


And you've got the most powerful factions, if you like, the sponsors -- there are six principle sponsors for the FIFA World Cup. And as you say,

they have spoken out. And when they speak out -- because they don't do it that often, let's be fair -- then every sits up and takes notice as well.

So it's the timing of it that is very, very significant. People want answers. I think the fans want answers.

This is all to do with the controversy and all those allegations made in the runup to the bidding process and the rights to the bidding process to

Qatar 2022. And that, as I say, as the tournament that's in 2022 when everyone, including Sepp Blatter himself, the FIFA president, just want to

be fully focused on what's about to start, a real carnival of football, Brazil 2014, Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely.

All right. We're going to leave it there. We're going to do more on this story a little later this hour.

With a closer look at the controversy, we'll look at how it could be good for FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

And we're going to also take a look at what would happen if a major sponsor backed out of the World Cup.

Meantime, the controversy over the release of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl is getting uglier. The FBI is investigating anonymous death threats made

against Bergdahl's parnets and the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan says her son was one of a number of service members killed

while searching for Bergdahl.

Well, the Pentagon says there is no evidnece to back up that claim.

Meanwhile, a top Republican senator is questioning the price the U.S. paid to win Bergdahl's freedom.

A short time ago on CNN's show the State of the Union, John McCain told CNN's Candy Crowley, and I quote, "Mullah Omar just got his cabinet back."


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: What we're doing here is reconstitution -- reconstituting the Taliban government, the same guys that are mass

murderers. One killed thousands of Shiite Muslims. These are the people that used to take women into the soccer stadium in Kabul and hang them from

the goalposts.


ANDERSON: Well, those are free Taliban figures are the new heroes of a new song just posted on the Taliban website. Here's what it sounds like.


ANDERSON: And we'll be joined a little later in the program by CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson who has more. He is in

Qatar tonight. Qatar, of course, where the Taliban former prisoners are and a country that mediated the deal.

Also ahead tonight, we'll have much more on the controversy surrounding Qatar's bid for the World Cup. We're going to take a look at how the

scandal could give a boost to Mr. Sepp Blatter. That after this.


ANDERSON: Warm welcome back. It is 7:10 and it is a fairly warm evening here in the UAE as you would expect at this time of year. You're watching

CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

Right, new developments in the controversy surrounding Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup. Sponsors Adidas, Sony and Visa are speaking out about

accusations that a top Qatari official paid millions to secure the tournament.

Britain's Sunday Times first published these allegations against Mohammed bin Hammam last week.

Well, Qatar denies there was any wrongdoing and says Mr. bin Hammam was not involved in the bidding process.

Well, all of this putting a lot of pressure on FIFA to reconsider Qatar's bid for the World Cup.

Let's take a closer look at how FIFA may respond to the controversy.

Joining me now is James Pearsy. He's the deputy editor for Sport360.

Right, firstly, Sunday Times has heard from Sony in a statement. They say they want this thoroughly investigated. Interestingly, these are an Adidas

that just sent out a statement. Both of whom are a little bit more circumspect. FIFA sponsor Visa issuing this statement to us just a short

while ago. And it says, quote, "the decision to award a host market is a matter of FIFA governance; Visa does not take part in the administration

of the sport. Our expectation remains that all of our partners maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency. We understand FIFA

is taking this matter seriously and we will continue to monitor its internal investigation. We expect it to take appropriate action if


Effectively, Adidas saying the same thing.

Now quite as strong about the allegations as Sony was, effectively saying let's get on with the game.

JAMES PIERCY, DEPUTY EDITR, SPORT360: Yeah, I mean, Sony are obviously the first to come after the Sunday Times. The significance with Sony is their

deal expires after this World Cup. So in fact they can be more aggressive (inaudible) what they say.

I think Adidas is the most significant thus far of the sponsors that have said something, because as of next year they would have had 60 years of

partnerships with FIFA. They've had their World Cup ball since 1970. So there's clearly a strong partnership there. There's plenty of influence

from Adidas within FIFA and probably vice versa as well.

So, if Sepp Blatter is not going to listen to UK politicians, if he's not going -- FIFA aren't going to listen to UK politicians and really to the

Sunday Times -- when the sponsors who plow in hundreds of millions of dollars a year and have huge reach all over the world speak up then perhaps

they will have (inaudible)

ANDERSON: You corrected yourself, and rightly so I know there, when you said if Sepp Blatter isn't going -- I mean, FIFA. Because, in fact, you

have a theory that this is all playing into the FIFA chief's hands.

I think people will be interested to hear what you mean by that.

PIERCY: Well, I think when you look at the World Cup. I mean, first and foremost Sepp Blatter didn't vote for the World Cup to be in Qatar in 2022,

it was the FIFA exco (ph). And within that exco (ph) Sepp Blatter himself didn't vote for Qatar, he voted for Australia.

Now, so, instantly he has never wanted a World Cup in Qatar. I mean, I'm sure he's probably come around to the idea a bit. And he obviously likes

to promote his vision of the global game going out to different parts of the world.

But I think he's got this stage where he perhaps realizes there is issues. There are not just technical and practical issues, but there are issues in

terms of influence and what pepole feel. And that -- he knows -- he hasn't been FIFA president for the last 16, 17 years by being stupid. He knows

when his time may be up. And we have a candidate, potentially, running against him next year in Michel Platini who has admitted he voted for


ANDERSON: Which, to all intents and purposes, I guess, to a certain extent discredits him at this point, doesn't it?

PIERCY: Well, Michel Platini himself said last week he feels the Sunday Times stories are discrediting him.

I mean, unfortunately from his position -- I mean, we obviously don't know if he's done any wrongdoing, or if anyone has done any wrongdoing -- but

from his position, he's almost guilty by association in terms of -- he's - the Qatar decision at this stage looks like Platini's decision, because he

is the only exco (ph) member who has openly stated he voted for Qatar '22.

ANDERSON: And clearly we've already a statement from Sepp Blatter some weeks ago, which went something like it was a mistake to award Qatar, so

clearly we can see to a certain extent where he sits at this point.

With the elections next year of the big head honcho at FIFA, Blatter has got this big shiny manifesto which will essentially be let to have a revote

for 2022, right? Getting lots of federations to a certain extent back on his side.

PIERCY: I mean, look, that's a hypothetical -- I mean, potentially -- to me, that's how I see it playing out. Sepp Blatter is a political animal.

You can say what you want about him, he's a buffoon at times -- a lot of the time -- but he's a very clever man, a man he essentially has used FIFA

to always gain his own influence, gain his own power, to feed his own ego, really.

And he knows -- perhaps or he feels his time is up. Michel Platini is a football man. He's a well respected -- fantastic player in the 1980s. He

has huge influence. He's growing influence within the Middle East as well. Obviously the power base with all the money within the Middle East.

ANDERSON: Although he runs UEFA, of cousre.

PIERCY: Oh, of course he does.

ANDERSON: Europe...

PIERCY: ...there's that as well. There's Europe.

Now, Sepp Blatter realizes the way I see it that potentially as opposition grows to Qatar, rightfully or wrongly -- but as opposition grows it pushes

more onto Platini. It makes him look less good as an administrators and consequently Blatter come 2015 could turn around say to Australia, say to

America, say to these various federations, let's have a revote. And where are their votes going in terms of the FIFA...

ANDERSON: Or let's have a new organization that isn't FIFA, because it's rubbish, and I'll run it and everybody else can come -- that would never

happen, surely, but it's...

PIERCY: Well, if anyone is going to do it, potentially he could. But, yes. I think that's a bit long (inaudible).

ANDERSON: All right. Good stuff. Thank you very much indeed. Always a pleasure to have you on the show.

Of course, there's much more attention focused on Brazil, and rightly so right now -- is that a lot more? Well, they should be anyway -- as it

prepares to host this year's World Cup starting in just a few day's time. We're going to have more on that a little bit later in this program.

And you can always get these stories behind what is the beautiful game on a special section of our website,

Well, of course there is ultimately all -- this is all for the fans that we caught up with some of them in Madrid and got their predictions for this

year's World Cup.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello from Madrid.

COUPLE: Hello from Madrid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm completely sure that the next champion will be against Spain, because I think that's the Spain has a very, very good team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Spain will win, becuase we have an incredible goalie in Iker Casillas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spain is going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Spain, because they have a really well structured team and they have been really strong lately. They've been

winning a lot of titles and they're strong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Brazil is the hottest rival for Spain. They won a few World Cups already and I think that -- and they're playing at

home. So I think they're going to be really hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think Brazil will win. I think that they are a good team and I don't think Spain will win the World

Cup this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Argentina has a very good team and they have players that are very fast, amongst them Messi. So I think it's

going to be a toughly contested World Cup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course is going to win Uruguay, because I'm from Uruguay and I'm going to clap for Uruguay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think everybody is going to be afraid of Spain. They are coming with strength and with the motivation of

having won the last World Cup.


ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi this is Connect the World. And it is 19 minutes past 7:00 here.

Coming up, Pope Francis is hosting both the Israeli and Palestinian president at the Vatican today for joint prayers for peace in the Middle

East. We're going to see more of that and discuss it after this.



Pope Francis will be holding more than the usual mass this Sunday. In Rome a couple of hours from now he'll be leading a prayer service for peace in

the Middle East with both the Israeli and the Palestinian presidnet.

CNN's Delia Gallagher joining us now live from Rome.

These two pitching up in Rome after being promised this prayer service when the pope was in Jerusalem, of course. At that time, there was talk that

this would be a sort of high level meeting of minds for Middle East peace. At this stage, what do we know about what will be said?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what's unique about this is it is a prayer meeting, but it's a prayer meeting with two

leaders. So there's inevitably a political angle to this day.

The Vatican says that they are not expecting that tomorrow morning there will be any peace agreement announced. They do say that they want this day

to be a pause in political negotiations.

Now here's what they're going to be doing. It will be held in the Vatican gardens, which was specifically chosen by the Vatican as a sort of neutral

place, a place without any religious symbolism, this is because they will be having three different faiths present -- Judaism, Christianity and


Both presidents and the pope will have a chance to say their own prayers, after which they will plant an olive tree, something that was also done in

Jerusalem, a symbol of peace.

And then most importantly perhaps, they will have time to meet behind closed doors with the pope.

So were there to be any political discussions going on, Becky, that might be the time that it would happen.

ANDERSON: Delia, I guess the criticism of all of this has been that Peres will only be president for another matter of months. We are talking here

with Palestinian president that many people say has not leverage so far as talks going forward are concerned. Just how important is this prayer

meeting to the Vatican? And who else will be there aside from the pope and these two presidents?

GALLAGHER: Becky, I've spoken to both Israelis and Palestinians involved int he negotiations. And something interesting which was pointed out to me

is that when you are involved for many years -- been going on for 21 years, negotiations, and you're sort of too close to the problem -- you know all

the details, you know all of the grievances from the past, they've said actually it can be very useful to have somebody like the pope who brings in

the big picture and who calls them back and reminds them of what the pope said in Jerusalem, the most primary to peace is the fear of the other and

the fear of change.

So in that sense, there is actually a bit of hope on both sides that this could be something, which at least give some impetus, of renewed hope for

the peace process.

As to your second question, the patriarch of Constantinople will also be present. You know, that was part of the reason why the pope went to the

Holy Land. And we saw that beautiful ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. So he will also be present with the two presidents and the pope

this evening -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. And you'll see the pictures of both the president -- the Palestinian president and the Israeli president arriving in about an

hour's time. You'll see them here on CNN. Then more from Delia as the day progresses -- Delia, thank you.

One quick programming note for you as well on coverage this week. All of the week, CNN's Arwa Damon will give us what will be a rare and exclusive

look from inside Niger.

Now that is just over the border from Boko Haram's stronghold in Nigeria, of course. And she visits Lake Chad, an area of interest in the search for

the missing schoolgirls.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Islands like this one, for example, are populated by small clusters of homes. Boko Haram, the

schoolgirls, could easily be amongst the local population.


ANDERSON: Don't miss a CNN exclusive. Arwa Damon from Niger on the hunt for Boko Haram all this week on CNN.

All right, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Egypt's new leader says his country will rise up and correct the mistakes of the past. Can he move Egypt, though, past the recent political turmoil

and the ongoing economic problems that his country faces? We'll going to take a look at this. Like I say, first your headlines follow this.


ANDERSON: Right, this is Connect the World. The top stories for you this hour.

And the FBI's investigating death threats against the parents of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier released by the Taliban in exchange for five top

Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Meanwhile, Bergdahl is reported in stable, but in improving condition at a hospital in Landstuhl in Germany.

Iran and the United States plan to hold their first bilateral talks in decades on Monday and on Tuesday in Geneva. Western powers are trying to

curb Iran's nuclear activity. The country itself is seeking an end to international sanctions. Now Iran and six world powers have been meeting

to try to forge a permanent nuclear deal. An interim deal expires fairly soon.

Well, new developments in the controversy surrounding Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup. Sponsors Adidas, Sony and Visa speaking out about

accusations that the top Qatari official paid millions to secure the tournament. Britain's Sunday Times newspaper first...