Egypt's Mubarak says to hand over power to VP without stepping down

09:12, February 11, 2011      

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in a televised speech on Thursday night that he will hand over power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but will not resign, in a response to more than two weeks of mass protests against his 30-year rule, the country's state TV reported.

"According to the constitution, I will shoulder my responsibilities until the country witnesses the stable and peaceful transfer of power in September," Mubarak said.

"I'll transfer power to the vice president according to the constitution," he said, adding "Mistakes are possible in any regime, however, it is vital to admit and hold mistakers accountable."

President Mubarak also confirmed six constitutional amendments, including removing one article related to Egypt's state of emergency when security permitted.

The other five are related to choosing and supervising the presidential candidates' qualification, presidential term, legal supervision of election and president's power in amending the constitution.

The constitutional amendments will also be open to lifting the state emergency law, he added.

In the meanwhile, Mubarak praised Egyptian young protesters for their efforts, saying "As the president, I don't feel embarrassment in listening to the youths of Egypt and responding to them."

He reiterated that "I cannot and will not accept to be dictated from outside, no matter who is the source."

"The protesters' blood will not be in vain", he stressed, adding that all those behind the violence will be held accountable.

President Mubarak added that "I announced that I will not run in the coming presidential elections, and I'm satisfied with the 60 years serving the country in times of war and peace."

He also refused to leave the country as was demanded by the protesters. "I will die on the soil," he added.

Mubarak said the state of national dialogue with the opposition must continue based on national interests, instead of personal ones.

Mubarak's step came in response to the massive demonstrations that swept Egypt for more than two weeks calling for the president to step down.

As the president ended his speech, protesters in central Cairo' s Tahrir Square chanted "he must leave," obviously unsatisfied with Mubarak's concession.

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