Egypt's Mubarak hands over power to VP without stepping down (3)

08:23, February 11, 2011      

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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.

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, saying "I will die on the soil."

Mubarak said the national dialogue with the opposition must continue based on national interests, instead of personal ones, calling for "the peaceful transition through transparency."

Following Mubarak's speech, Suleiman asked protesters to return home and resume work in his first televised speech late Thursday.

"As the president delegates me to maintain all demands, achievements and restore normal life, I need your cooperation," Suleiman said, urging that people should keep "self-restraint".

Suleiman said "he was totally committed to achieving peaceful transition of power."

"President Hosni Mubarak's speech affirms his commitment to responding to the demands of the people and making the safety, security and stability of Egypt as a priority above any other consideration," he added.

Leading Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei warned on Thursday that Egypt was about to "explode" and called on the army to intervene after Mubarak refused to step down.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, on his part, called for an "urgent but orderly transition."

The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton said that the time for Egypt to secure a change in government "is now."

"The time for change is now," she said in a statement after Mubarak's speech, adding that "we will pay close attention to the response by the Egyptian people in the coming hours and days."

Source: Xinhua
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