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Navigating the Waters of Brexit; Saint Teresa of Kolkata Canonized at Vatican; A Blast from the Past

Aired September 5, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, the icy stare President Putin and Obama facing off over Syria, while the British prime minister and

G20 leaders face up to tough Brexit headwinds ahead.

My conversation with the former long-time head of Britain's civil service, which will be in charge of negotiating the new deals.

Plus St. Teresa, the Vatican spokesman joins me live.

And a look back at my visit a decade ago to her hospice in Ethiopia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With a tap on the head, the dying are summoned, lifted to their feet and ushered through the door.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Now "Brexit means Brexit" is what Britain's new prime minister has said more than once. But what does Brexit really mean?

Well, today, we've been getting our first few hints from at home and abroad. Speaking to parliament here a short time ago, the UK's new Brexit

minister gave this answer.


DAVID DAVIS, BRITISH SECURITY OF STATE FOR EXITING THE EU: Simply it means leaving the European Union. So we -- we will decide on our borders, our

laws, and the taxpayers money.


DAVID: It means getting the best deal for Britain. One as unique to Britain, and not an off the shelf solution. This must mean controls on the

numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe. But also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services.


AMANPOUR: But can Theresa May sell this positive outcome abroad?

So far things haven't been going swimmingly for her. On her prime ministerial debut to the world stage at the G20 Summit in China, she faced

some tough questions and an even tougher reality check with President Obama repeating his point that the U.S. won't prioritize a UK trade deal. And

Japan now warning that it could withdraw its huge businesses from the UK unless the country maintains its access to the EU single market.

So just before May left for China, I asked the former civil service chief, Lord Gus O'Donnell, about the tough negotiations ahead and most importantly

the impact of Brexit on the British economy.


LORD GUS O'DONNELL, FORMER CIVIL SERVICE CHIEF: It's too early to say. It's only a few weeks since the referendum, so the economy, the economic

signals are very mixed so far.

I think there are worries in the forecast for next year have been revised down quite radically. But we're not talking about recession. We're

talking about much slower growth.

And so that means public finances in a worst position. And we have already seen action from the Bank of England. And I hope the chancellor will take

some fiscal action during his autumn statement.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, the pound is devalued by about 15 percent since Brexit. And the thing is, when it's still part of the EU, this has not

been inactive. So you can't really judge, can you, what Britain is going to look like when it's finally done.

O'DONNELL: That's right. It's a long way off and it really depends on the type of Brexit we have. I think everybody accepts the prime minister's

view and the view of the people, but Brexit is Brexit.

The question is what kind of Brexit is it? Is it a very market-friendly Brexit, or is it a very abrupt Brexit where we sever our links and we don't

have full access to the single market?

And the chancellor would say we really want to make sure that London remains the world's financial center.

That financial services based here have access to all the countries, strictly EU countries through passporting or equivalent, or something like


AMANPOUR: He wants to keep financial services in the sector inside the single market.

O'DONNELL: Absolutely. And this is 11 percent of our total tax revenues. This is huge for the public finances. It's a big employer. It generates a

lot of profits.

AMANPOUR: In fact, David Davis, he's being put in charge of a very serious part of the Brexit negotiations. David Davis has said that we should

immediately start negotiating with Berlin. Our first port of call won't be Brussels.

So is that even legal?

O'DONNELL: Well, I think once the Article 50 process, which is the legal way of leaving, is triggered, then we start negotiating with the

commission, who have been given some guidelines by the European Council.

Until then, of course there will be informal discussions. And I expect that those will take place between the leaders. I mean, what the prime

minister is trying to do is corral her cabinet. And they are very differing views to saying, actually, here is our vision of Brexit. This is

what it means. And this is what we're trying to achieve for the British people.

[14:05:20] AMANPOUR: When will she trigger Article 50? What has to be in place before you would feel comfortable starting the divorce proceedings?

O'DONNELL: She needs to have a view, a clear view about what the strategy is. So what are the things you want to -- what are your views about trade-

offs between market access and free movement of labor?

What are the bottom lines? You know, are we going to be prepared to pay any money to the EU? Are we going to be prepared to limit our access at

all to that market? So those kinds of trade-offs, she has to have a view about where we are.

AMANPOUR: Because she's obviously made it clear that she's in no hurry to trigger Article 50. But, obviously, there are people like Iain Duncan

Smith, people on the Brexit side, including those in her cabinet right now, who would like to trigger it quickly. In other words, the hard Brexit.

O'DONNELL: Well, I think she has to reassure them of what she said, Brexit means Brexit. But the question is doing it as effectively as possible.

And to be honest, it takes two to negotiate. This is going to be very lengthy. The other 27 need to come up with their negotiating strategy.

You've got elections next year in France, Germany, and other countries so it's not even clear who she will be negotiating with the leader level.

The point about Article 50 is it's written by the commission. This is not an article that's designed to make it easy to leave. It's, in fact, quite

the reverse. The cards are heavily loaded on the side of the 27 countries who will continue being part of the EU.

AMANPOUR: And that is something that the leavers never wanted to admit. They said that everybody would just think Britain was so great that they're

going to be bending over backwards to accommodate a, you know, non-EU Britain.

What about the negotiators? I mean, we understand, we read that there may be just tens of active duty British negotiators, where Brexit needs

hundreds of them.

How is that even going to work?

O'DONNELL: It's true that we haven't negotiated any trade deals for over 40 years. So there are certain skills gaps that will need to be filled.

Possibly by bringing in people from outside.

If there's one big message that comes out is that this is messy. This is complicated. This is not easy. It's pervasive. In terms of legislation,

there's years and years of directives that we will need to look at again. And it's not going to be simple.

Probably, I would say, we'll start off by saying let's just keep it all for now. And we might be able to get out of the EU. And then over the next

five to ten years unscramble it all, decide which bits of those 40 years we want to keep, which bits we want to amend, and which bits we might actually

want to extend.

AMANPOUR: When you say let's just keep it all, I mean, that's what the Brexiters don't want. They don't want the freedom of movement. They don't

want the whole immigration package. They don't want paying dues. They don't want lack of sovereignty.

O'DONNELL: Sure. What I'm saying my keep it all is things like employment legislation, where we got maternity rights in all of us. All these things

are built in.


O'DONNELL: If you were to throw out all of that legislation, we would be back to the stone ages, to be honest. And lots of things that no one in

this country would really want.

AMANPOUR: What about people like Nigel Farage? Do you think he was sort of underestimated? Do you think he was sort of like crazy like a fox? I

mean, he is an anti-establishment guy who won and is now busy campaigning with Donald Trump.

Give me your take on that.

O'DONNELL: Well, I think we've seen throughout the U.S. and in this battle in the UK a move towards lack of trust in traditional politics, a lack of

trust in our politicians, and what's said to them. A belief -- I mean, Michael Gold made the point, do we trust the experts anymore, all of that

sort of thing? So I think --



O'DONNELL: Personally, you know, my view will be if my car's gone wrong, I'm going to take it to a garage and ask an expert. Michael Gold might

want to do it himself. You know, he may be brilliant at these sorts of things. If I go to the doctor, I'd like him to be an expert.

You know, so I'm a big fan of people with professional technical knowledge being asked to answer professional, technical questions.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Lord O'Donnell, thank you very much indeed.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: Now, Prime Minister May isn't the only leader facing tough talk at the G20. The controversial firebrand Philippine president lashed out at

President Obama with an extraordinarily coarse verbal attack over the U.S. caution against a waive of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Now when we come back, she is now Saint Mother Teresa. A woman after the pope's own heart and path. That's next.


[14:11:34] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

She came to personify devotion and service to the poor. Mother Teresa now St. Teresa of Kolkata was canonized by the pope at the Vatican yesterday.

In keeping with her example and as part of his focus on helping the poor, Pope Francis invited 1500 homeless people to Rome to witness the ceremony

and 20 Neapolitan pizza chefs to make them lunch.

But she is not without her critics. Some accuse Mother Teresa of fetishizing the poor and taking large donations from unsavory characters.

But the truth is even past critics admit she pioneered the art of love and caring for the unloved and the unwanted especially in their dying days.

I was one of the very few journalists to go inside one of Mother Teresa's hospices.

In 2005, I saw her nuns, the missionaries of charity administer her agenda of compassion and comfort, close up. It was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): This is where poverty ends. With a tap on the head, the dying are summoned, lifted to their feet and ushered through the

door. Inside, a calm, peaceful place where the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by the late Mother Teresa, minister to the


Here, patients lie two to a bed. Most too weak to stand. Many move nothing but their eyes.

Sister Benedicta oversees the hospital here in the Ethiopian capitol Addis Ababa.

(on-camera): You've been here for 15 years. Did you think it would get better? Did you think that you would still keep seeing these kind of

skeletal women, patients?

SISTER BENEDICTA: I have seen them when I came to Ethiopia because of the civil war and farming. But now still I see them. And they are I think

more -- at a whole more because of HIV/AIDS.

AMANPOUR: How long is she going to survive do you think?

BENEDICTA: One week, two weeks.

AMANPOUR: Most of the hospice cannot be cured. Only soothed in their final days.

BENEDICTA: They would not come to this home, not one person would come to this home if they would find a better place. If they would find a place

where somebody will take care of them, feed them, wash them, care for them, be with them. Often it is only just to be with the person until the end.

You and me, when we die, what do we need? We need somebody to be there.

FRANCESCA CHURCH: I've always wanted to work with the sisters of Mother Teresa and to work with the poor.

AMANPOUR: Francesca Church is 18-years old and far from her London home.

CHURCH: You watch the family in Ethiopia are on the television. And you sit in the comfort of your sitting room. And it's -- and there's no way in

which you can actually smell the smells and really touch the people and really actually feel what it's like.

AMANPOUR: It's an intense experience for someone so young. How do you cope?

CHURCH: Faith is the only way that I can cope. And I came here and I think that's one -- that's my one strength is that I know that when these

people go, that they're going to God.

That's the incredible beauty of it, it is that, that you come into this room. And these people are dying. And there's nothing you can do. You

can just love them and do the very best you can, so -- to make sure that their last moments that they thought that there was someone there.

[14:15:15] AMANPOUR: Here where the sick line up for what little medicine is available, where incense billows in crowded rooms, death is part of

everyday life. But hope still endures.

BENEDICTA: There's even a certain serenity in them. And death is a relief or death is a release does not mean a resignation. It means there is

something better than what I had here. These people teach us what is heaven, you know?


AMANPOUR: And today, 11 years later, that young volunteer you saw there, Francesca Church, happens to be a producer here at CNN.

A little older, a little wiser, but no less dedicated to Mother Teresa's mission for the poor. And I'm pleased to say that she's joining us here

right now.

Can you remember -- I mean, you remember that moment 11 years ago when we met there? It was very emotional.

CHURCH: It was very emotional. I was -- it was a remarkable experience, which I think I definitely carried through until this day.

AMANPOUR: Were you surprised or did you always say that one day she would be canonized? She would be a saint?

CHURCH: I suppose it was her great legacy that drew me there in the first place. I read about her at the age of eight or nine. And she was always

this very loving but heroic figure. And I suppose, no, there's no surprise that she's a saint.

AMANPOUR: What if you -- I mean, you know, you've read the books, you've seen some of the criticism. Despite the fact that many admit that she's

practically the only one who actually brings people in off the streets, there is no shortage of her people who will criticize.

What did you think as a young girl, when you were in the hospices, seeing what her people were doing there, of the criticism?

CHURCH: I suppose I felt I wanted those critics to come and experience what I was experiencing. Because I was seeing day in and day out, the work

of these sisters up at 4:40 every morning. Living in the same poverty as those people. And just loving the poor with their whole hearts.

And I suppose it was very difficult to see that criticism. Because it was so clear.

AMANPOUR: And did you watch the canonization ceremony yesterday?

CHURCH: I did. I did. It was a wonderful, very joyful event. True to her and her sisters. They love a good party.


AMANPOUR: Well, that's something we didn't know about them.

Francesca, thank you so much. And we're going to go to the Vatican, to Rome right now, where Greg Burke is standing by.

He is the Vatican's newly appointed official spokesman.

And he's joining me live. We hoped to have you in vision, Greg, but apparently the line is not so good. Perhaps we'll have a miracle in the

middle of this interview, but we've got you by phone.

So, Greg, you heard our producer, Francesca, talk about her inspiration from working for Mother Teresa's hospice.

Tell me about what this meant to Pope Francis.

GREG BURKE, VATICAN SPOKESMAN: Well, I think it's key to Pope Francis, Christiane. As you know, it's the year of mercy. And there's probably

nobody we've seen in the church in recent years any way who's been so visible in doing works of mercy: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick,

clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless.

As Pope Francis himself said, he said she basically made that the play book for her life. And so I think it was a double whammy here.

It was a way of the pope giving attention to the year of mercy, which we are here. And also just a way of paying honor to her. He had long admired

her. He didn't know her as Pope John Paul II did. And Pope John Paul II got the whole process going. She's really a saint who unites the two popes

in a special way. But certainly Francis talks about Matthew 25 all the time, which is precisely, living these works of mercy.

AMANPOUR: And kind of furthering this pope's agenda pretty much, right? I mean, it's kind of a coincidence that this pope, you know, made the poor.

He wants a church of the poor for the poor. This woman really fits that agenda and fits this pope's mandate.

BURKE: Christiane, there's no doubt about that. You know, I look at my personal experience. I just met Mother Teresa briefly in the press office

25 years ago. So that doesn't really count.

But I remember in New York City, going off to a soup kitchen, she ran in the Bronx. And it was in such a terrible neighborhood.

I remember, police officers would stop me saying what are you doing here? He said most college kids I see here come in here to buy drugs. I said,

no, I was going to Mother Teresa's soup kitchen.

A couple years later, a friend asked me can you have a few hours on the weekend. He said I can't make it. I need -- I volunteer every weekend at

an aged shelter run by Mother Teresa's nun. So I filled in for him, three hours and it was very much, who am I to judge these poor. Who am I to


AMANPOUR: And what do you make of some of the criticism? I mean, it's not a barrage of criticism, but there's some fairly well known writers who have

criticized what she has done. Fetishizing the poor said Christopher Hitchens.

BURKE: Yes. Christiane, I don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about that. Because I think most of the experience, people's personal experience

leaves enough for themselves if they've ever been to Mother Teresa house. If they spent time in Kolkata, far, far away, it's all positive experience

for them.

Obviously, she was not -- you know, she wasn't awarded as a hospital administrator, I'm sure and she wasn't perfect. As Pope Francis said none

of us are, you know. There is no perfection here.

I think most of people I say who speak those doubts, I just think go visit one of their homes someday and see for yourself.

[14:20:40] AMANPOUR: And let me just finally ask you, and we should say that there are storms over Rome, and that's why there's some communication


But explain her spiritual fight, really? Her struggle. The sort of the darkness of the night. The darkness of the soul, that she herself

experienced. Her struggle to maintain her faith even while she was doing this work.

BURKE: Yes. I think that was an interesting point in her life. The doubt of Mother Teresa. And actually, what -- you know, people have said here

what Mother Teresa said herself was essentially, you know, I no longer have to try to imitate in some ways Christ's trust, I'm actually living it.

It brings back a little bit of that mystery of Christ on the cross, my God, my God, you have abandoned me -- you know, why have you abandoned me? And

that mystery of the suffering, yet it was always suffering with joy, with a smile.

AMANPOUR: Greg Burke, official Vatican spokesman, thanks for joining me from Rome. Let me just quickly finally turn back to you, Francesca.

Because really this is the year, the year of the refugees, the year of the poor.

I mean, we're seeing it all over. Our world is really sort of being buffeted by the impact on the poor.

But you also, you have deep faith, obviously. Can you relate to her struggles with her faith? Her feeling that she had been abandoned? That

she was unable to, you know, to relate to God?

CHURCH: I think when you see so much suffering, it's at times very hard to understand the presence of God. But something that you mentioned in that

piece which really struck with me back then, when I was 18, was the fact that there is hope.

And I think in the eyes of the poorest of the poor, you see hope. And in those moments of suffering, there is something, something good there.

AMANPOUR: And just the very basic thing of wanting to be with somebody as you're leaving this world.

CHURCH: Exactly. It's that companionship and that love. And I think for Mother Teresa, it was the wisdom of the poor as well. That's what they

keep teaching in their nothingness and their need to be with them in that moment.

AMANPOUR: Francesca Church, thank you very much indeed.

And coming up, we imagine an inferno that consumed one of the biggest cities in the world. This one, the great fire of London may be ancient

history for many, but now it's being given new life centuries later.

Art imitating the past. We imagine that next.


[14:25:10] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world rising like a phoenix from the ashes, only to burn down all over again.

In September 1666, the great fire of London started at the Kings Bakers Shop in the aptly named Pudding Lane. He left his ovens on when he went to

bed and in just four days, the flames destroyed a third of Britain's capital, which was built all in wood then.

13,000 homes turned to ashes. Around 100,000 of London's inhabitants were made homeless, and London was changed forever.

Now 350 years later, the city has experienced its second inferno. This one, however, lasted just 45 minutes, as London's 17th century skyline

shrank in scale but not spectacle, to commemorate the anniversary of the city's blaze.

This 120-meter long wooden sculpture took months to build before being placed on a barge, floated on the River Thames and set alight right in the

heart of the city.

It was created by the British company Artichoke, and the American artist, David Best. And it had plenty of help from young volunteers who are not in

full-time employment or education. Now that is a blast from the past.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching.

And good night from London.