Friday, 28 January 2011

Highlights: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's speech | Reuters

Highlights: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's speech

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    CAIRO | Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:09pm EST


    (Reuters) - President Hosni Mubarak sacked his cabinet but refused to step down in an address broadcast shortly after midnight on Saturday after a day of unprecedented violent protests.

    Mubarak said Egypt needed dialogue not violence. Here are excerpts of his speech:

    "I have been closely following the protests and what they were asking for and calling on. My instructions to the government have stressed on providing it with an opportunity to express the opinions and demands of the citizens ...

    "I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives among protesters and police forces ...

    "The government stayed committed to those instructions and that was obvious in the way police forces dealt with our youth, in taking initiative to protect them ... before those protests turned into riots that threaten the system and obstruct the daily life of citizens ...

    "There is a fine line between freedom and chaos and I lean toward freedom for the people in expressing their opinions as much as I hold on to the need to maintain Egypt's safety and stability ...

    "Fellow citizens, those protests came to express the legitimate expectations for more speed in halting unemployment and enhancing living conditions, fighting poverty and standing firmly against corruption ...

    "Egypt's youth are its most valuable asset and looting of public and private property, destroying what we have built, is not the route to follow ...

    "My conviction is still set to continue political, economic and social reforms for the sake of a free and democratic Egyptian community ... I am convinced that the economy is too big and serious to be left to economists alone ...

    "What happened throughout these protests extends beyond looting, chaos and fire to a larger scheme aimed at shaking stability and an attack on legitimacy ...

    "It is not by setting fires and by attacking private and public property that we achieve the aspirations of Egypt and its sons, but they will be achieved through dialogue, awareness and effort ...

    "The path of reform which we have chosen is irreversible and cannot go backward. We will proceed with new steps that affirm our respect for the independence of the judiciary ... new steps toward more democracy and freedoms ... new steps to face unemployment and increase the standard of living and services ... new steps to stand by the poor and those with limited income. Our choices and our goals are what will determine our fate and our future ...

    "I carry the foremost responsibility in protecting the security of the nation and the people ...

    "I have asked the government to present its resignation today (Friday) and I will name a new government starting from tomorrow ... to effectively deal with the priorities of this current phase ...

    "I will defend Egypt's safety and stability and its people's wishes, for that is the responsibility and the trust endowed in me when I swore an oath in front of God and the nation to protect it."

    (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Dina Zayed)

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