4 Feb 2011

President fears chaos if he leaves office now

9:46 pm on 4 February 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he would like to resign immediately but fears the country would descend into chaos if he did so.

The United States is reportedly discussing a proposal for Mr Murbarak to turn power over to a transitional government.

In his first interview since anti-government protests began, the 82-year-old told an American television network he was "fed up" with power, but warned that the Muslim Brotherhood Party would fill any power vacuum if he stepped down.

Cairo has seen another day of violence with clashes between the president's opponents and supporters on Thursday. Stones were thrown on both sides and there has been some gunfire.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of ABC News, Mr Mubarak denied his administration was behind the violence of the past two days, but said it had troubled him.

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

He said the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party, was behind the violence.

Mr Mubarak vowed never to leave Egypt, saying: "I would never run away from this country. I will die on this soil."

He said it was never his intention to have his son Gamal follow him into office.

In a TV address on Tuesday, Mr Mubarak said that he will serve out his current term which ends in September, but will not run for re-election.

Earlier, Vice-President Omar Suleiman called for time to carry out political reforms before presidential elections. He warned there would be a political vacuum if a proper period of transition was not allowed.