Friday, February 11, 2011


Hosni Mubarak, the embattled
Egyptian president, has refused
to step down from his post,
saying that he will not bow to
"foreign pressure" in a televised
address to the nation on
Thursday evening.
Putting to rest widespread
speculations that he will quit,
Mubarak announced that he was
delegating some authorities to
his new vice-president, Omar
Suleiman, a close confidante.
In a much anticipated speech,
Mubarak said he had put into
place a framework that would
lead to the amendment of six
constitutional articles (including
articles 77, 88, 93 and 189, and
the annulment of article 179).
"I can not and will not accept to
be dictated orders from outside,
no matter what the source is,"
Mubarak said.
He said he was addressing his
people with a "speech from the
Mubarak said that he is "totally
committed to fulfilling all the
promises" that he has earlier
made regarding constitutional
and political reform.
"I have laid down a vision ... to
exit the current crisis, and to
realise the demands voiced by
the youth and citizens ... without
undermining the constitution in
a manner that ensures the
stability of our society," he said.
Mubarak said he had "initiated a
very constructive national
dialogue ... and this dialogue has
yielded preliminary agreement in
stances and views".
A state of emergency, which has
been in place since Mubarak took
power 30 years ago, remains in
place, though the president
promised to lift it as some
unspecified point in the future.
"I will remain adamant to
shoulder my responsibility,
protecting the constitution and
safeguarding the interests of
Egyptians [until the next
"This is the oath I have taken
before God and the nation, and I
will continue to keep this oath,"
he said.
Mubarak said the current
"moment was not against my
personality, against Hosni
Mubarak", and concluded by
saying that he would not leave
Egyptian soil until he was "buried
under it".
Mubarak's comments were not
well-received by hundreds of
thousands gathered at Cairo's
Tahrir [Liberation] Square and in
other cities, who erupted into
angry chants against him. Pro-
democracy protesters had been
expecting Mubarak to resign, and
their mood of celebration quickly
turned to extreme anger as they
heard the president's speech.
Rawya Rageh, Al Jazeera's
correspondent in Liberation
Square said the "mood
completely altered as the
president progressed with his
speech", with protesters
expressing "frustration and
anger" at him.
Hundreds took off their shoes
and waved them angrily at a
screen showing Mubarak's
speech, shouting "Leave, leave!"
Mohamed ElBaradei, an
opposition figure and former
chief of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, responded to the
speech by saying "Egypt will
explode. Army must save the
country now", on the
microblogging website Twitter.
'Go back home'
Omar Suleiman, the vice-
president, addressed the nation
in a televised address shortly
after Mubarak's speech, and
called on protesters to "go back
home" and "go back to work".
He said he had been delegated
by the president "the
responsibilities to safeguard the
stability of Egypt, to safeguard
its ... assets ... to restore peace
and security to the Egyptian
public, and to restore the normal
way of life".
He said that a process of
dialogue with the opposition had
yielded positive results, and that
"a roadmap has been laid down
to achieve the majority of
The vice-president said that steps
had to be taken to "safeguard
the revolution of the youth", but
also called for protesters to "join
hands" with the government,
rather than risk "chaos".
He told Egyptians "not [to] listen
to satellite television stations,
whose main purpose is to fuel
sedition and to drive a wedge
among people".
Army meeting
Earlier, the Supreme Council of
Egyptian Armed Forces had met
to discuss the ongoing protests
against Mubarak's government.
In a statement
entitled 'Communique Number
One', televised on state television,
the army said it had convened
the meeting response to the
current political turmoil, and that
it would continue to convene
such meetings.
Thurday's meeting was chaired
by Mohamed Tantawi, the
defence minister, rather than
Mubarak, who, as president,
would normally have headed the
"Based on the responsibility of
the armed forces and its
commitment to protect the
people and its keenness to
protect the nation... and in
support of the legitimate
demands of the people [the
army] will continue meeting on a
continuous basis to examine
measures to be taken to protect
the nation and its gains and the
ambitions of the great Egyptian
people," the statement.
Tens of thousands poured into
Tahrir Square after the army
statement w

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