6 Feb 2011

Mubarak ‘will stay in power until September’

There is now no possibility of Egypt’s President Mubarak standing down before presidential elections in September, according to Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the country’s Foreign Minister.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit told Channel 4 News’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy it was now vital to maintain “a constitutional process” now that the upheaval in Tahrir Square had attained the objective of transforming Egypt.

And he said recent events had been “a good thing” because they had not resulted in tanks firing on people – “as we saw 20 years earlier in China”.

“I have seen hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrating and saying ‘We support President Mubarak’,” the Foreign Minister maintained. He explained that they had been protesting in Mustafa Mahmoud Square.

He continued: “Next week we will see Egypt moving from one stage of development to a major plunge to a new era.”

Maybe there has been lots of abuses – but that was not the order of the day. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Egypt’s Foreign Minister

Asked if he felt his country had been manipulated by the United States or Britain, Mr Gheit replied: “I see certain attempts from western powers to impose on Egypt a certain course. I detest it – and I reject it. And Egyptian people rejects it.”

On the subject of police abuse in Egypt, Mr Gheit agreed that “Maybe there has been lots of abuses – but that was not the order of the day.”

He acknowledged that Egyptians had been tortured and locked up without trial: “Nobody would attempt to deny.” But he asked Krishnan Guru-Murthy to provide and prove specific cases where human rights abuses had occurred.

On the subject of Egypt’s relationship with the United States, he said: “Whether they (the US) support or do not support, the decision is Egyptian.”