EGYPT: President Hosni Mubarak says chaos, fundamentalist threat would follow his departure
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview with ABC News Thursday that if he were to give in to demands for his resignation the country would descend into chaos and be at risk of Islamic radicals' seizing control.
"I am fed up. After 62 years in public service, I have had enough. I want to go," Mubarak told ABC News' Christiane Amanpour in an interview at the presidential palace in Cairo. But he said that if he were to leave now, "there would be chaos."
Thousands of protesters demanding democratic reforms and a new leadership have occupied Cairo's central Tahrir Square for 10 days, chanting for Mubarak's immediate ouster, not at the end of his term as he promised Tuesday. Mubarak told ABC that his departure would create a power vacuum, opening an opportunity for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to gain control and steer the Middle East powerhouse toward Islamic fundamentalism.
The embattled president said he didn't care about opponents' accusations that he has orchestrated a violent crackdown on the protests or about the United States' and other Western countries' criticism of his decision to stay in power at least until fall elections.
"I don't care what people say about me," he said in the interview. "Right now I care about my country. I care about Egypt."
— Carol J. Williams
Photo: President Hosni Mubarak speaks to ABC News' Christiane Amanpour at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on Thursday. Credit: ABC News / Reuters.