I don’t care what people say about me: Mubarak (Second Lead)By IANS
Friday, February 4, 2011
CAIRO - Insisting that Egypt would sink into chaos if he were to leave office now, a defiant President Hosni Mubarak has said he doesn’t care what people say about him and was fed up of being president.
“I don’t care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt,” said an embattled Mubarak, who has been under intense pressure to step down following a political upheaval that turned violent and left eight people dead and over 800 injured.
Mubarak, 82, told Christiane Amanpour of ABC News that he was fed up of being president - an office that he has continously occupied for the past 30 years.
He said he would like to leave office now, but can’t as he fears that the country would sink into chaos, ABC News reported.
The interview took place in the presidential palace where Mubarak is with his family, heavily guarded by armed soldiers, tanks and barbed wire.
He said he was troubled by the violence in Tahrir Square over the last few days but claimed that his government was not responsible for it.
Mubarak squarely blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the violence in the public square that has become the epicentre of the massive mass movement, which entered its 11th day Friday.
The president said: “I was very unhappy…I do not want to see Egyptians fighting each other.”
Mubarak told the interviewer that after he felt relief after he gave his speech Monday night in which he said that he was ready to step down at the end of his term in September, but would not quit now.
When Amanpour met Mubarak at a reception room, the president was already waiting. He looked tired, but well.
During the 30-minute interview, Mubarak was joined by his son Gamal, who was believed to be his successor.
Mubarak said that it was never his intention to have his son follow him into office, ABC News reported.
He said: “I never intended to run (for office) again. I never intended Gamal to be president after me.”
During the course of the interview, he thundered: “I would never run away…I will die on this soil.”
He called US President Barack Obama, who has said that the time for transition in Egypt was now, a very good man.
He said he told Obama: “You don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.”