Exclusive ABC News interview of Mubarak

February 3, 2011 3:20:39 PM PST
In an exclusive interview, Egypt's president says he's fed up and wants to resign. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To hear more about Christane's meeting with President Mubarak, tune in to World News Tonight at 5:30 p.m. and a special one hour edition of Nightline at 11:35 p.m. on Channel 30.
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I've just left the presidential palace in Cairo where I met for about 30 minutes with president Mubarak. He told me that he is troubled by the violence we have seen in Tahrir Square over the last few days but that his government is not responsible for it. Instead, he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party here in Egypt.

He said he's fed up with being president and would like to leave office now, but cannot, he says, for fear that the country would sink into chaos.

I asked President Mubarak about the violence that his supporters launched against the anti-government protestors in Liberation Square.

He told me, "I was very unhappy about yesterday. I do not want to see Egyptians fighting each other."

For Complete Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt, Featuring Exclusive Reporting From Christiane Amanpour, Click Here

When I asked him what he thought seeing the people shouting insults about him and wanting him gone, he said, "I don't care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt."

I asked how he felt after giving the speech Monday night, saying he would not run for president again, he told me he felt relief.

For now, Mubarak remains in the presidential palace with his family, heavily guarded by armed troops, tanks and barbed wire. We were joined by his son Gamal, who was once widely considered to be his successor. Mubarak told me it was never his intention to have his son follow him into office.

And he pledged his loyalty to Egypt. I would never run away, he said, I will die on this soil. And he defended his legacy, recounting the many years he has spent leading his country.

While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when I asked him if hour felt the U.S. had betrayed him. When I asked him how he responded to the United States' veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama "you don't understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now."

I asked him how he himself was feeling. He said I am feeling strong. I would never run away. I will die on Egyptian soil.

He told me "I never intended to run again. I never intended Gamal to be President after me." Gamal, his son, was sitting in the room with us as he said this.


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