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Pope Francis Celebrating Mass in Abu Dhabi; State of the Union Address. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 5, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody, thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause at the CNN center where we're following new concerns about the economic impact of Brexit. Business plans being scrapped, confidence is way down, and a new report suggests the pain could be felt far beyond Britain and Europe.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. A new page in Catholic history being written right now here in the UAE. Pope Francis moments away from us and then about 30 minutes away from celebrating mass with the more than 100,000 people gathered here in this the Sheikh Zayed Stadium and outside.

When he arrives Sunday he became the first Roman Catholic pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of course of Islam. Earlier he visited a Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, home to some of the million-plus Christians who live here. He's already met with Muslim and Jewish leaders. On Monday he called on them to reject war mentioning conflicts in Yemen, in Syria, Iraq, and in Libya.

Well, he's on his way towards this stadium. There are tens of thousands lining the streets on the way in. John Defterios is amongst those crowds and as we look at the pictures, John, of the Pope in the Popemobile on his way in and waving at those crowds, what's the atmosphere like where you are?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's electric actually. In fact, the guests that we have to talk to at this block, Becky, were careening their necks and taking pictures with their mobile phones like everybody here. Let's introduce them. Marie- Claire and James are both schoolteachers from Dubai. Nice to have you on. Thank you for being here.


DEFTERIOS: That was a historical moment. I almost had to bolt your feet down into position to stay. What are your first emotions when you saw the Pope come through?

FERIA: It's just incredible.

JAMES SHERIFF: It really is. It's -- you know what, it's something that takes your breath away because this doesn't happen ever. It's a once-in-a-lifetime moment. FERIA: I'm feeling quite emotional --

DEFTERIOS: You two are getting married.

SHERIFF: We are.

DEFTERIOS: So this is -- there is a very special significance. Clara, first to you. You think it's a divine blessing for the marriage?

FERIA: Yes, I do. I do. My mother -- my mother said that. Yes, indeed.

DEFTERIOS: Tell me what your thoughts are about being here and seeing the Pope in dialog with the ground Imam of Egypt and the year of Tolerance in the UAE. They talk about -- a lot of people from the outside think it's cliche but what are your thoughts about that yourself?

SHERIFF: You know, I think it's absolutely wonderful. This is the year of tolerance. This country is incredible. Everyone here is accepted. Everyone is respected. And I think for them to have this huge event happening in the center of Abu Dhabi, this year is just it momentous. It really is.

FERIA: And being able to be a part of that and we were given time off for work in order to be able to come here today. Everyone is just accepting it's just -- it's just wonderful, wonderful.

DEFTERIOS: I've been here for about four hours and it filled up very, very early because everybody said they were so excited. I couldn't get down here fast enough. You came from Dubai, spent the night.

FERIA: Yes. We stayed overnight.

DEFTERIOS: What were the emotions trying to sleep knowing you're going to see the Pope in the morning?

FERIA: Oh just -- we were just so excited, so excited.

SHERIFF: It was a mix of everything, wasn't it? You know, you sort of -- you knew that we were coming to mass today but at the same time you're excited because we're coming to this massive event and it was just incredible. The whole -- the whole experience so far has been amazing.

DEFTERIOS: I don't want to jump to great conclusions but we've had the battle in Yemen. The Pope had said his remarks before he left the Vatican. Do you think it actually could lead to resolution? Is that in the back your mind to see peace?

SHERIFF: No, I think -- I think we would always hope for that.

FERIA: A time when it's so needed, it couldn't have come at such a better time. Having such a historical event like today, it's just --

SHERIFF: I think it shows the relationship between this area is strong, between everybody that is here.

DEFTERIOS: We have to leave it there. I appreciate your comments and sitting tight while the Pope was going right behind. He's like 100 meters away. Marie-Claire and James visiting us from Dubai, one from the U.K. England and the other one from Scotland in the north and getting married in the next year, quite an emotion, Becky, all the way around you can see.

[01:05:09] ANDERSON: Yes. Good stuff, John. Thank you. And the Pope now right here in the stadium, right behind us, actually. Just making his way through the crowds here, a huge draw by those gathered and he's made his way into the stadium. I'm joined by CNN Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher, Omar Saif Ghobash, one of the UAE's brightest minds and diplomat, also with us a man who knows ancient history like it was yesterday is Mr. Peter Helyer also in the House with us as we get set to celebrate mass here in about a half an hour's time. What a roar from the crowd.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Wasn't that nice? Yes, that's always an exciting moment when he's actually right by you.

ANDERSON: This is -- there's so many people who will be their first time. This is of course as Vatican Correspondent knows.

GALLAGHER: But I was remembering that the Philippines actually holds the record for the largest attendance at a papal mass. I mean six to seven million in 2015 with Pope Francis. And even before then, they held the record with John Paul the second in a huge field. Here, were about 130,000.

ANDERSON: Many of them as you point out --

GALLAGHER: Many of them are Filipinos.

ANDERSON: -- are Filipinos of course. We can discuss what's been said, Omar, by the Pope. Well listen to this mass now which will be course a religious ceremony. We've heard some sort of not even particularly veiled political comments I think from the pontiff but just as an Emirati just before we move on, you're a theologian at heart. I know you're an academic with theology. How does this feel?

OMAR SAIF GHOBASH, UAE ABASSADOR TO FRANCE: Yes. I'm a Muslim, it's making my hair stand. It must be the power of crowds. I didn't realize the Pope was such a rock star. It's really quite a revelation.

ANDERSON: Yes, amazing. And Peter, you've been in here for years.

PETER HELYER, UAE HISTORIAN AND WRITER: It's amazing. In the 40 odd years I've been here, it never occurred to me I'd see something like this in Abu Dhabi. It's amazing. And the Catholic community here, it must be an overwhelming joy to have this opportunity.

ANDERSON: A Catholic community which is more than a million strong. You are a historian of the Emirates. Just remind us of the history of Christianity here in the UAE and around the region. HELYER: Well, we go right back -- let's go back to you know, before

Islam, Christianity arrived here. The fourth or fifth century, the monastery established the 6th century, sorry it's 7th to 8th Christianity throughout Eastern Arabia before the coming of Islam and it continued on into the Islamic period. And it was only around the 10th century it began to fade away.

Then more recently in the last 50 or 60 year, we've had the arrival of new Christian community, Catholics obviously. They're very loud behind us, but many, many denominations, Anglican, Episcopalian, we have the ancient churches of the East, the Arab Christians. Some of those who suffered most under the depredations of (INAUDIBLE) Isis in Iraq and Syria. So we have that early era Christianity too. It's a very, very diverse Christian community in the Emirates.

ANDERSON: A complicated region. A year of Tolerance here. This is a country that boasts some 200 nationalities, Omar, some 40 churches, some 700 Christian ministries as far as I understand. Sikh temples, there's a Buddhist temples next to mosques, but the UAE pretty unique in this region imposing that sort of coexistence that the Pope is being been talking about here.

GHOBASH: I'm not so sure it's that unique. I mean, here though, there are churches right across the Gulf. And yes, there are -- there Christians right across the region. I think what we've done is -- what the leadership has done is that they've taken the ethos that had been projected by a be a founder of the nation and they really sort of interpreted it for the 21st century. And that's something that you know, wasn't necessarily going to happen. But it's something that the sons of the ruler and founder of the Emirates have really taken to heart and really want to project into the country and for the region as well.

ANDERSON: There are critics who say a year of tolerance might suggest a different position so far as political expression is concerned. And when we talk about tolerance here in the UAE, are we talking about religious and political tolerance?

GHOBASH: Well, I'm going to guess that religious tolerance is a step towards political tolerance. And you know, I've heard the Crown Prince of the Emirates speaking on numerous occasions talking about real democratic reform at some stage within the emirates, but that this is a process that takes time and you know, this has been implemented with the Federal National Council, certain people were allowed to be elected, then the electoral poll grew larger and larger.

So there is an understanding but it's also very difficult I'm in the in the Middle East. You've got very aggressive forms of political Islam that don't have a national agenda. They've got a global sort of transnational agenda. And the problem will be if you are particularly interested in political expression today, you will get caught up in in the existential battle that is taking place against political forms of Islam, intolerance political form of Islam.

[01:10:34] ANDERSON: As you speak, I hear cheers coming from behind me. This is -- this may be a smallish crowd when it comes to papal masses around the world but it's a noisy one.

GALLAGHER: Yes. They're making their voices heard, aren't they? And you know, one of the points for the Vatican, Becky, in coming here is also the question of Christians in the Middle East and the dwindling population of Christians. So I think that whether you know, fleeing from persecution or fleeing because of war and so on. And so I think that this kind of celebration as it were and a sort of renewal of Christian life and supporting Christian life in countries in this region is really important to them also in that context.

ANDERSON: The Pope in his speech yesterday and we are awaiting the beginning of mass here which is why there are 45,000 people in this stadium and another 100,000 around the stadium who were on the roads to welcome the Pope to the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The Pope made his speech yesterday where he talked about a number of things not least the issue of sexual abuse which has embroiled the Catholic Church of course for decades.

He praised the November meeting held in Abu Dhabi on child dignity in the -- in the digital world. This is this is a busy time for the church.

GALLAGHER: Oh yes. Well, when he goes back, of course there's a big global meeting February 21st it starts. It's a three-day meeting at the Vatican where the Pope is bringing together bishops from all around the world to try to get everybody on the same page. I mean, there are still countries in the world where they have not handed in their guidelines to the Vatican on the protection of children. So this is really important meeting in February.

ANDERSON: I think it was Omar who in discussion with you ahead of starting our broadcasting today who are should -- forgive me for stealing your question, it's a very good one. Why can't -- why can't the Catholic Church sought this issue of child abuse out?

GALLAGHER: Well, it's a huge question. I think we'll have to come back to it when you have another you know, three-day show.

ANDERSON: Other three hours, yes.

GALLAGHER: But because it is very unwieldy, there are numerous sides to this, one of them I just alluded to that is on an international level. You've got an American bishops conference which is already at a different stage versus other bishops conferences say in Africa or in Latin America. There are -- there are places in the world where people don't think this is actually their problem. So that's one start of it and we could go on and on but we don't have time right now.

ANDERSON: We might not be reading from the same book but we're on the same page, not the only message but the reality here for the most part. A look now for you ahead of the -- what will be a raw I'm sure as the Pope hits the stage here before his mass. A look now at how Muslims and Christians get along here side by side, day by day, in a way -- in a way rarely seen anywhere else in the world. It's going to be -- what have you said -- let alone in the Middle-East. Have a look at this.


ANDERSON: Ansel and Louella Fernandez breaking bread means more than just eating, it's about bringing people together. It's what they say they love about the UAE.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say one of the best environments to raise up children.

ANDERSON: The couple immigrated from India to Dubai 25 years ago. They're both devout Catholics and active members at Saint Mary's Catholic Church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In India, although the population is huge, the Catholic population within a parish is very small. Out here you've got tens of thousands of people in our parish, different nationalities, different cultures, different value systems all integrating together. And that itself is a huge experience.

ANDERSON: Just across the street is a mosque, an image capturing signs of harmony and tolerance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really nice on some days when you know it's a bit quiet during mass and you hear the call for prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just coexist peacefully. It's a beautiful environment.

ANDERSON: An environment of coexistence that goes beyond this place of worship to picnics in the park with friends and families with different cultures and faiths sit together, eat together, and even pray together.

[01:15:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go back to our scriptures, you know, and refer to that, for this a Bible or the Koran or the Torah, or any other religious book, everybody speaks about peace, or we practice the same thing.

ANDERSON: In one of the world's most culturally diverse countries, people from different faiths live peacefully. Will come together to break bread or in this case, biryani.


ANDERSON: You're with us here in the UAE. I'm going to take a very, very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Becky Anderson for you in Abu Dhabi where Pope Francis is preparing to deliver Mass here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium just a few minutes from now.

A 135,000 both inside and out. Francis, the first pope ever to visit an Arab Gulf State. On Monday, he met with Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders at these city's Founder's Memorial center. The Pope calling on all countries to reject war with special mention of the conflicts and Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq, and in Libya. We'll have a lot more, of course, from here in just a moment.

First, let's get you back to John Vause at CNN Center for some other news.

VAUSE: Becky, thank you. I appreciate the matching outfits too. That's great. Thank you.

OK. Growing listed European nations are officially supporting Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. At least, a dozen capitals announced their backing for the self-declared acting president on Monday.

They're also calling for free and fair elections. Meantime, with most of the country in desperate need of humanitarian aid, Guaido is urging the military to work with him.


JUAN GUAIDO, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF VENEZUELA (through translator): There is recognition by friends, liberty, equality, fraternity, from Germany, from Spain, United Kingdom, Polonia, and Lithuania. Belgium, and Czech Republic. Portugal, Estonia. Of more than 20 nations is the recognition to all of you and it's one. And that have never stopped fighting and we will not stop from doing it until we reach democracy and freedom in Venezuela.


[01:19:57] VAUSE: In Venezuela sitting president, Nicolas Maduro ignored a Sunday deadline from the E.U. to call new elections. He's accused the U.S. of leading a plot to force him from office.

Theresa May travels to Northern Ireland on Tuesday, and once there, she's expected to make a promise to find a solution to the problem what is a so-called, backstop. That's the mechanism and process which are meant to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

So far, though, it seems to be a problem without a solution and has been a major sticking point in the British Prime Minister's Brexit deal. And as the clock ticks down to the Brexit deadline with no deal at place, U.K. business confidence has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis.

And a day after Nissan announced it was shelving plans to expand production in the U.K., it's been revealed that two years ago, the British government offered the Japanese automaker a $100 million state aid package along with promises it would not be adversely affected by Brexit.

Under the terms of the deal, in return for the full $100 million, Nissan would need to allocate production of its Qashqai and X-Trail sport utility vehicles to Sunderland." Nissan did so October 27th, 2016." At that time, the government insisted Nissan did not receive a special deal.

Ann Berry is a financial analyst and partner at the investment firm, Cornell Capital. She joins us now from New York. Ann, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: OK. The Nissan decision getting a lot of tension because -- what? With about 57 days away from the Brexit deadline. But the U.K. has been dealing with capital flight, almost since the results of the referendum came out. But what does it say when $100 million and promises of ongoing government assistance is on the losing end to all the fears that could be caused by the chaos and uncertainty of a no- deal Brexit.

BERRY: Well, I think what Nissan is basically saying is we really think that walking away from a $60 million investment and all the upside in return that can come from that is a much more certain bet. And use of our capital than hanging around waiting for a government that may or may not still be in power a couple of years from now to deliver on the $100 million promise.

What? For which there's no guarantee that will be delivered. So, I think Nissan really is literally voting with its feet here.

VAUSE: And others are following in their footsteps that had -- have already led the way in some respects. But then, there is also this squeeze to sort of coming from the other direction. An E.U.-Japan free trade deal which took effect last week.

Business group's estimate that the potential benefit of the E.U.-Japan deal to the U.K. would be 3 billion pounds, is that $5 billion U.S. a year if Britain had stayed to the EU.

Other experts believe the E.U.-Japan deal will make it harder for the U.K. to attract inward investment. You know, this E.U.-Japan trade deal in particular for car tariffs would mean, for example, that those tariffs will go from 10 percent to zero within seven years. And again, that's raising fears that other Japanese automakers could simply followed Nissan and cut Britain out of the loop.

And the thing about car manufacturing is been one of the bright spots for the U.K. economy.

BERRY: Yes, absolutely. I think what this pattern and what this threat set by the Japan-E.U. agreement means to the U.K. is that as the E.U. continues to negotiate favorable trade agreements with other countries, the U.S. for example could be the next. Or other Asian countries and key trading partners.

The more the E.U. is spending its time and energy negotiating favorable deals with countries such as Japan, the more the U.K. stands to lose from being outside of the E.U. in the worst case. Or being in some kind of trade agreement with the E.U. in which the U.K. does not really have a seat at the table, doesn't really have a vote. So, in lots of different Brexit type's scenario, this is not a good outcome for the United Kingdom economy at all.

VAUSE: Yes, and it seems that the outcome through the bad or just really bad at this point. We're also looking at the concern of the chaos that a no-deal Brexit could have impacting business confidence.

Q4 2018, confidence levels nosedived. And then, again Q1 this year at the lowest level for nearly a decade. That has real-world consequences in terms of investment and hiring.

BERRY: Absolutely. And I think, there are a couple of things here. I think there is the uncertainty that surrounds what happens under the different Brexit scenarios. But I think, you know, as we keep marching on, 53 days now and counting to Brexit, the specter of a no deal Brexit continues to loom larger and larger and larger.

And if you look at what the Bank of England said, for example, they have said very unequivocally, if we fall off the cliff and there is a no deal scenario, we are looking a recession that is worse than that the U.K. soared during the financial crisis.

So, when you think about consumer confidence in a scenario whether, at least, still seems to be some will amongst the government to try and find some scenario here that is no -- that is not a no-deal, the closer we get to that and still no resolution is in sight, the more you'll starts -- you really also until look had a really bad case as the Bank of England's laid out.

VAUSE: And this is not just going to impact Britain and Europe, there's a fallout for 49 developing countries which are part of a no tariff special trade deal with the E.U. that will not apply to their exports to Britain post-Brexit.

Right now, the share of their exports to the U.K. exceeds, what? 35 percent in apparels, 21 percent textiles, almost 10 percent in sugar." (INAUDIBLE) no, because those numbers are tariff-free. Post-Brexit, they won't be and expected to fall.

This report from Germany found that -- you know, that means that the number of people living in poverty would increase by more than 1.5 million people. Cambodia will fill up the most real GDP could fall by just over one percent.

Given how little regard it seems the British government has for the potential impact on its own economy. It would seem extremely unlikely that there will be any consideration, the impact Brexit will have -- you know, on people around the world who could really, at least, afford it and didn't get to vote.

[01:25:27] BERRY: Well I think, unfortunately, that is human nature. I think it's true. I think far from people's minds at the moment in the United Kingdom is what the impact of this to other people.

I think from a practical perspective, if you think about supply chains, let's take textiles, for example. Textile -- clothing manufacturers who are serving the U.K. still only have a relatively finite number of countries they can go to source the textile inputs that go into that apparel.

And so, as I think about well what does that mean for the U.K. consumer, I think it's possibly less likely that you see a drop in demand for certain state polls, being supplied by those countries. But I think what you'll quite likely to see in inflation as those tariffs do start hitting the British consumers pocket.

VAUSE: Yes. Here comes the real world impact of that vote for 2-1/2 years ago. And thank you. Good to see you.

BERRY: Thanks.

VAUSE: We're minutes away from the Pope's mass in the UAE. And when we come back, we'll head live to Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, welcome back to the UAE. It took more than a millennium but it is finally happening right now, right here behind me in Abu Dhabi. The first Roman Catholic Pope to ever visit the Arabian Peninsula is about to hold Mass here at the Zayed Sports City.

More than 100,000 people attending. Islam, the dominant religion, of course, in the UAE but the country also home to millions of expats. They hail from places like the Philippines, South Asia, and Africa. And about a million of them are Catholic.

I'm joined by CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher. Omar Saif Ghobash is UAE's former ambassador to France and to Russia. And historian, Peter Hellyer. And Delia, as the crowds go quiet for the first time this morning, what can we expect?

GALLAGHER: Well, you remember, this is a mass. So, you know, they all know what to do and it's always the same. So, this is kind of a really religious moment also for them. So, it's the culmination of this trip and it's right that it's so, but it's the prayer time.

ANDERSON: How important is this moment to the U.A.E. -- Omar?

OMAR SAIF GHOBASH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE: I think it's incredibly important as the culmination of I think 40, 45 years of building the nation. And it comes at a particularly important time in the region -- all of the political and religious turmoil that's been taking place. And it's really a statement of principle on the behalf of the Emirates as a country that it's going to stand behind openness and tolerance and accepting the other within.

ANDERSON: And apart from the symbolism -- what has been achieved?

GHOBASH: Well, the symbolism is actually huge. There is no denying. You can't have the Pope come to the Arabian Peninsula and not expect consequences. And I think it's very important that the extremists within our own faith believe in the sanctity of the Arabian Peninsula and the idea that you can't have other forms of worship on the territory of the Arabian Peninsula. What we are saying I think is that we also believe in the sanctity of our holy places. But that also that doesn't prevent us from accepting the other. And that will have a knock-on effect hopefully within our own faith.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, when the Pope met the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar at the Vatican for the first, he said the meeting is the message. So the very fact that the Pope is here is part of the message, isn't it?

ANDERSON: Explain to us what's happening now?

GALLAGHER: So this should be the beginning of the mass. The Pope should be coming out to the altar. They have an opening song. They have opening readings.

The Pope gives his homily, which is his speech for the mass -- probably very religious. And then they have what are called prayers of the faithful. You had one of the kids on earlier who is going to be saying the prayers and all the different languages wins are represented here. And that's something -- he expressed what a special moment that is for them.

And then they have the Eucharistic celebration which is when they actually do what they believe is consecrating the body and blood of Christ. That's the part when everybody is really very most in prayer, let's say.

ANDERSON: Let's just pause for just a moment.


ANDERSON: You have been here for some 40 years, Peter, how does it feel?

PETER HELLYER, U.A.E. HISTORIAN AND WRITER: It's remarkable. I have watched the U.A.E. grow in the last 40 years. Watched it develop its infrastructure and watched its population grow and become much more diverse. The diversity of the country is remarkable now, you mentioned.

we have perhaps 200 nationalities here and one remarkable feature of the Emirates in the last 40 years has been the way in which the different communities Emiratis and others, Muslims and Christians have learned to live together and to coexist without major (INAUDIBLE) problems. I can't think of anywhere else in the world where we have had that good fortune.

GALLAGHER: Let's remember that you are watching a historical moment, too -- Becky. This is the first public mass held in the U.A.E. and --

ANDERSON: In the Arabian Peninsula.

GALLAGHER: -- and in the Arabian Peninsula. So this is a big moment for the country and certainly for the Pope and for the Catholic Church and the Christian world in general, isn't it? It's about -- ANDERSON: And through the prism of the Vatican has this been a

success? And we are listening to mass now, there has been two days of buildup to this.

GALLAGHER: Yes. And I think the success is gauged in the relationships that are developed when the Pope travels. And the success here is already in his relationship with the Grand Imam of Al- Azhar. But it is also in his relationship with the Crown Prince now. They have already met on a previous occasion but developing those relationships for Pope Francis. This is a pope who goes for the personal in his political thing (ph) so the relationship is all.

[01:35:01] And the more visits that he could do personally face to face, the happier he is and the more he feels that his agenda can be pushed forward. So, yes.

ANDERSON: And through the prism of the U.A.E., what's the biggest take out from the Pope's visit here? Through the prism of the U.A.E.

GHOBASH: Well, there is so many different ways in which I can answer. One thing that did occur to me is that we have all of a sudden become aware of the Christians within our own community. Who knew that there were a million Christian or a million Catholics?

That in itself is fascinating. And they work across the community. In many ways they've been very silent. This is great opportunity for us to celebrate with them.

ANDERSON: As we listen to what is going on here within the stadium, let me just get you momentarily out to John Defterios who is outside where the Pope's mass is also being heard as it just gets under way -- John.


Let me give you a sense of place here. We can just step over behind one of the parishioners. You can see this is one of six large giant screens that we are getting a chance to watch the opening processional with Pope Francis as people make the sign of the cross as the mass begins.

We have a throng of people -- 90,000 people outside. I'm keeping my voice down because the prayers are starting. So we have one parishioner here Aimee Desales, who lives in Abu Dhabi.

This is, Becky, an extraordinary story because she went in early 2015 to Sri Lanka to see the Pope. So you feel very blessed. You got a get a chance to see him for a second time. You didn't think that was going to happen.

AIMEE DESALES, PARISHIONER: I feel so grateful. I feel so blessed. I never thought this will happen actually. So I feel like thousands of people are here and I am one of this people to witness this historic event.

DEFTERIOS: What does it mean for you because you said very strongly to me when we had a conversation in the last hour that this is a symbol of peace between the Muslim religion and the Catholic religion, the Christians all over the world? You think it's actually a turning point for peace and engagement?

DESALES: Actually, I did. I truly believe that. Like human beings as we are, created by one god, we all desire to have peace in our hearts, to see our children praying without any fear, without any inhibition. And I think this inter-religious meeting with the Pope, the rulers of Abu Dhabi and the Grand Imam is a great symbol. They are telling us that we are united as one.

DEFTERIOS: We talk about inter-religious dialogue. You really get that sense during this visit of Pope Francis. Seeing the pictures with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar -- what did that mean to you to see that actually transpiring before your eyes in the same city you live in?

DESALES: Yes. I mean it's the greatest feeling to see them. For me it's the great brotherhood or fraternity symbol to see them exchanging vows, hugging each other. Because I mean, living in this region especially, we all know what is happening.

And to see these two great religious leaders, (INAUDIBLE) it's a symbol that we people are capable of making peace with each other regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of color and nationality.

DEFTERIOS: Pope Francis addressed Yemen before he left the Vatican as you know and the region as you noted is under turmoil with Saudi- Iranian tensions, what's happened in Libya, the Arab Spring of 2011. Can you see harmony coming out of this or is it too much to ask for the Pope and the Grand Imam in your view?

DESALES: I think the Pope and the Imam has -- took the very great steps towards and to that peace between the region. I mean -- it's them telling us to stop everything that is happening now. And we are capable of loving, we are capable of giving peace to each other. So I think it's -- soon, maybe not now, but in years to come peace in this region will come. Insha'Allah.

DEFTERIOS: The message is clearly there. Insha'Allah. Nice to meet you.

DESALES: Insha'Allah. Nice to meet you, too. Thanks you.

DEFTERIOS: Aimee Desales once again. She works in the food and beverage business here in Abu Dhabi, Becky.

And you get that sense from everyone I have spoken to for the last four hours. They think it's incredibly strong message from the U.A.E. coalescing (ph) this, Pope Francis' message on Yemen, the Grand Imam saying we could actually find common ground together. And it's something that has resonated wi3th this audience's that seeing the Pope in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time.

Back to you. [01:39:52] ANDERSON: John -- it would be difficult to overstate the

significance of this papal mass to those with you, to those who are gathered here inside the stadium. And the symbolism of the first trip of a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula.

It is a complicated, messy region. And it is what can be achieved on an inter-faith basis in a -- the quest for peace around this the Middle East, that is so important.

We will be back after this very short break.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to Abu Dhabi for our coverage of Pope Francis' history-making trip to the U.A.E. He is the first Roman Catholic pope to ever visit the Arabian Peninsula and he is celebrating mass here at Zayed Sports City.

More than 100,000 people attending. Islam the dominion religion in the U.A.E. but about a million Catholics live here. The Pope's message so far has been about dialogue and an end to violence and extremism.

He told religious leaders here on Monday to reject war mentioning conflicts in Yemen, in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Well more from Abu Dhabi in just a moment. First let's get y9ou back to John Vause with some of the day's other news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Becky -- thank you.

In just a few hours, U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver the annual State of the Union address. The speech was delayed by a week due to the partial government shutdown over funding for a wall on the southern border. And another shutdown looks possible in just nine days because the President is once again insisting on his original demand for $5 billion from Congress to fund his wall. And if he doesn't get it he may declare a national emergency. Even so the White House says on Tuesday night, the President will aim for a bipartisan and optimistic tone.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: This President is going to call for an end to the politics of resistance, retribution and call for more comity -- C-O-M-I-T-Y.


VAUSE: David Siders is with us now from California. He's a senior reporter with "Politico".

So David -- this political segment brought to you by the word "comity" which means a friendly social atmosphere and social harmony. And, you know, David -- I guess Kellyanne does not actually have any idea what this president is likely to say on Tuesday. There is every chance he could use this moment to go after the Democrats and make his case for the wall.

DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, "POLITICO": He could. And I think he will make a case for border security, at least in generally terms.

[01:44:57] On the other hand, the last couple of State of the Unions that the President has given, he has performed in the way that staff expected. He stuck to the teleprompter and I think that staff expects him to do the same thing on Tuesday night.

VAUSE: Well, if you look at the latest polling numbers, most American oppose another shutdown over wall funding. That number flips over when it comes to just Republicans who really want the shutdown. And at the same time, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, he's actually warning of a possible civil war within the GOP over all of this. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 333 SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: To every Republican, if you don't stand behind this president, we are not going to stand behind you when it comes to the wall. This is the defining moment of his presidency.


VAUSE: You know, he went to say that, you know, the emergency declaration raises legal concerns. It could set bad precedent. But, you know, it's more important to essentially back the President. It seems an extraordinary statement to make and says a lot about where the Republican lawmakers, especially in the Senate, are right now over this declaration.

SIDERS: And it speaks to how fractured that caucus is. If the President pursues an emergency declaration he's likely to face -- he's already facing some push back from Republicans. He's likely to face resistance.

There will be a fissure in that party if the President pursues the wall and that has a lot of Republicans concerned that instead of talking about the economy -- something that President Trump could boast about. He could be mired for months not only in legal challenges, but in a fight within his own party.

VAUSE: There is also a fight it seems within the Democrat Party who are opposed to the President. The question is to impeach or not to impeach.

A television commercial is now airing in Washington telling members of Congress to start proceedings. Other Democrats say they want to wait for the findings of the Russia investigation.

But the President believes he actually cannot be impeached. This is what he said on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way they can win, because they can't win the election, is to bring out the artificial way of impeachment. 3333 And the problem is you can't impeach somebody for doing the best job of any president in the history of our country for the first two years.


VAUSE: Well, 69 percent of the country believes this federal government is either the worst they have ever seen or just plain bad. Where does he get these ideas that the President can't be impeached for doing a great job?

First of all you can argue the point about doing a great job. But certainly you can be impeached, there is not immunity. I mean this is nuts.

SIDERS: Yes. But to be fair, I think he may be making a misstatement that is -- at least I don't think the American public understands what the ramification of impeachment is. It doesn't necessarily mean that a president has to leave office.

You know, I think there is a different understanding that the President is tapping into, which is something he has been effective at as far as messaging is concerned in all sorts of ways. Of course, it's delusional but that doesn't mean that it doesn't resonate especially with his base.

VAUSE: Well, let's finish up here with something which never gets old. Let's journey back to in time to the 2016 campaign and a promise from Donald Trump.


TRUMP: I will be your champion and I will work hard to be your champion.

It's going to be a lot of work. It's going to be --- a lot of time I wouldn't leave the White House.

Work, work, work -- straighten it out, get it done. Fix it up. Make it great.

If I win, we are going to work really hard.


VAUSE: It turns out really hard was a bit of a stretch. According to the Web site Axios, they received a copy of the President's schedule for the last couple of months. It shows about 60 percent of his time was officially "executive time" -- watching TV, tweeting, talking on the phone about the stuff on TV.

The White House pushed back saying very few people actually are aware of what the President is doing when he is alone. And that in itself actually seems to be kind of a concern -- the level of secrecy surrounding how Donald Trump spends so much of his time.

SIDERS: I think that the actual hours that he puts in, whether he puts them -- whatever he does I am not sure that that is going to matter so much to the American people but I think the end result, the product will.

333So, for example, we talked about earlier the wall. I think it will matter to the Republican base if he can't get a wall under construction. And then that is juxtaposed against headlines saying that he's spending his time tweeting or being on Fox TV.

I think it's the product that's going to be the real measure here and we are seeing he has some problems.

VAUSE: Yes. And those polling numbers we didn't get to that, but, the disapprovals are up, the approvals are down, and that seems to be a trend which has been going on for some time, implications for 2020.

But David -- we'll leave it there. Good to see you. It's been a while. Thank you.

SIDERS: Thank you.

Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM -- the papal mass being celebrated in Abu Dhabi. We'll take you there live as we continue our special coverage of the Pope's historic visit to the Arabian Peninsula.


ANDERSON: The special edition of CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where it is an emotional day for many. Pope Francis, the first Roman Catholic pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula celebrating mass as we speak with more than 100,000 Catholics here at Zayed Sports City.

Earlier he visited St. Joseph's Cathedral, home to some of the U.A.E.'s million-plus Christians. And then the Pope made his way to the stadium for the mass greeted by wildly enthusiastic crowds.

We have an excellent panel for you viewers with a new addition -- the Emirati Ambassador Omar Saif Ghobash. Our new addition is His Excellency Jaber al Lamki, executive director of the U.A.E. National Media Council, a man really as many -- he's made this happen. He'll walk us into making this happen -- Jaber. And historian Peter Hellyer.

Let's talk about organizing something like this as the Pope begins here.

JABER LAMKI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.A.E. NATIONAL MEDIA COUNCIL: First of all, thank you for having me here. It's a historic moment as you know. The preparation and logistics to make this happen is really an interesting journey for all of us. We have around 100 volunteer Emiratis, who have just devoted their time to make sure that some of the logistics are going smoothly.

We have more than 1,500 members of the organizing committee from different walks of life and these are a mixture of the people who are walking here from a media production, from the embassy, from the police forces, and ambulances. And everyone is here basically to make this happen. It's really a message that we really can co-exist and the inclusion of all the walks of life is very important for us.

ANDERSON: How much sleep have you had over the past couple of days?

AL LAMKI: It's sleepless nights to make things happen. We've been working with different committees to make sure the logistics, and especially for also the around 800 journalists coming all over the world. Getting them their access badges and giving them access. We understand that sometimes things can go wrong. And I would like to say we are doing our best level to give everyone the story of the U.A.E. to the world. It's all about love and peace.

ANDERSON: Jaber is giving you the back stories to our viewers about what goes into the logistics of organizing an event like this.

It's the event that now we should talk about. We have been discussing this morning how important this trip has been to the U.A.E. If there was one thing that the country wants to take away from this, it's what -- Omar?

GHOBASH: Tolerance is part of the ethos of the Emirates. Going forward this is going to be really a challenge for all of us in the region. It's the leadership of the U.A.E. stepping up at a global level to say that, you know, we are going to access politically, economically and with all the power we can bring to it. And it's connecting the dots across the region and with the leadership of other faiths.

So it's something that a lot of us have been waiting for. And it takes a while for government to take up the challenge. And it's a remarkable thing that they are doing it.

[01:54:56] ANDERSON: Francis is urging religious leaders here, those of the Muslim faith, of the Jewish faith, and of the Christian faith to contribute actively to demilitarizing the human heart. And he has not held back from siting the crisis around the region, or at least those of Yemen, of Syria, of Iraq and of Libya. A surprise?

GHOBASH: Not a surprise at all. I mean it's exactly what's on our minds as well. And this is part the logic of standing up and responsibility for the direction in which we express ourselves.

And you know, the collapse of states in the last few years in the region is precisely why unfortunately force needs to be used. With the rise of militias across the region and with certain countries in the region actually actively supporting the destruction of various states, it's exceptionally important for us to take a stand.

Unfortunate that we have to also take a military stand in certain situations. It's essentially to re-impose state authority. ANDERSON: In off the cuff remarks before the Pope left the Vatican he

urged leaders around this region to think of, for example, the kids in Yemen. And in response the U.A.E.'s minister of foreign affairs says he hopes that this will be the year that Yemen finds peace.

Just actively behind the scenes, for our viewers' sake, what is the U.A.E. doing to ensure that?

GHOBASH: The war in Yemen was not a war of choice. It was really imposed on us. And unfortunately I think the public perception is that the Iranian role is not emphasized. And the reason there is a war in Yemen is because of our friends across the Arabian Gulf who have decided to intervene and supply weaponry at a distance.

So this idea of continuing to provoke proxy wars is incredibly destructive. So it wasn't a choice. It was forced upon us and actually it's not just this year that the ministry of foreign affairs wants peace in Yemen. We've wanted it right from the beginning.

ANDERSON: Those friends across that Gulf would call it, of course, the Persian Gulf or one of those perhaps. One of those arguments is the one heard here around this region.

I am going to come to you but we are going to take a very short break.

HELLYER: That's fine.

ANDERSON: Thank you for that.

That's all that we have time for NOW but we'll be back.

I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause at the CNN center. The news continues on CNN, right after this.


[02:00:02] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to a very special hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Rosemary Church in Atlanta.

ANDERSON: And I'm Becky --