News / Middle East

Egypt's President Fed Up But Says Cannot Leave

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on state television (file photo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on state television (file photo)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he is fed up with being the country's leader and would like to leave now, but fears Egypt would sink deeper into chaos if he did.   

In an interview Thursday with ABC News correspondent Christiane Amanpour, Mr. Mubarak also blamed the Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement for the violence that has taken place in the capital over the past few days.

The interview comes as rock-throwing protesters continued to defy a nighttime curfew in Cairo, where sporadic gunfire was heard on the streets. Protesters have declared Friday a "day of departure" for Mr. Mubarak and say they have planned mass demonstrations calling for him to immediately step down.

In a national address earlier this week, Mr. Mubarak vowed he would finish his term, but not seek re-election.

Vice President Omar Suleiman rejected calls for Mr. Mubarak's immediate resignation Thursday, saying the move would be a "call to chaos."  

Mr. Suleiman said on state television that the president was putting together a "road map" to address the demands of protesters.  The vice president also said he had begun holding talks with representatives of youth and opposition groups.

However, Mr. Suleiman said the Muslim Brotherhood -- Egypt's largest opposition group -- was "hesitant" about participating in dialogue.  He confirmed earlier reports that President Mubarak's son, Gamal, will not run for president.

The vice president described clashes in Cairo between government supporters and opponents as a "conspiracy."  Mr. Suleiman said the government was not involved but would find those responsible.

Earlier Thursday, Egyptian soldiers took positions between pro- and anti-government protesters in Cairo, where gunfire had erupted earlier in the day.  Several tanks were stationed near Cairo's Tahrir ((Liberation)) Square as thousands of anti-government protesters gathered there and built barricades.

One of the tanks stood on a highway overpass, where earlier Thursday, supporters of President Mubarak had been throwing rocks at anti-government protesters below.

Also Thursday, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq apologized for violent clashes that broke out Wednesday in Tahrir Square.  He called the incident a "disaster" and said it would not happen again.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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