Extract from BBC Africa
I am addressing the youth of Egypt today in Tahrir Square and across the country. I am addressing you all from the heart, a father’s dialogue with his sons and daughters.
I am proud of you as the new Egyptian generation calling for a change to the better, dreaming and making the future.
First and foremost, I am telling you that the blood of your martyrs and injured will not go in vain. I assure you that I will not relent in harshly punishing those responsible. I will hold those who persecuted our youth accountable with the maximum deterrent sentences.
I tell the families of those innocent victims that I suffered plenty for them, as much as they did. My heart was in pain because of what happened to them, as much as it pained their hearts.
I am telling you that heeding to your voice, your message and demands is an irretraceable commitment.
I am determined to live up to my promises with all firmness and honesty and I am totally determined to implement (them), without hesitation or reconsideration.
This commitment springs from a strong conviction that your intentions are honest and pure and your action. Your demands are just and legitimate demands.
The mistakes can be made in any political system and in any state. But, the most important is to recognise them and correct them as soon as possible and bring to account those who have committed them.
I am telling you that as a president I find no shame in listening to my country’s youth and interacting with them.
The big shame and embarrassment, which I have not done and never will do, would be listening to foreign dictations whatever may be the source or pretext.
My sons, the youth of Egypt, brother citizens, I have unequivocally declared that I will not run for president in the next elections, satisfied with what I’ve offered my country in over 60 years during war and peace.
I declared my commitment to that, as well as my equal commitment to carrying out my responsibility in protecting the constitution and the people’s interests until power and responsibility are handed over to whoever is elected in next September, following free and candid elections with guarantees of freedom and candour.
This is the oath I took before God and my country and one which I will keep until we take Egypt and its people to a safe harbour.
I have set a defined vision to come out of this crisis and to carry out what the citizens and the youth have called for in a way which would respect the constitutional legitimacy and not undermine it.
It will be carried out in a way that would bring stability to our society and achieve the demands of its youth, and, at the same time, propose an agreed-upon framework for a peaceful transfer of power through responsible dialogue with all factions of society and with utmost sincerity and transparency.
I presented this vision, committed to my responsibility in getting the nation out of these difficult times and continuing to achieve it first, hour by hour, anticipating the support and assistance of all those who are concerned about Egypt and its people, so that we succeed in transforming it (the vision) into to a tangible reality, according to a broad and national agreement with a large base, with the courageous military forces guaranteeing its implementation.
We have started indeed building a constructive national dialogue, including the Egyptian youths who led the calls for change, and all political forces. This dialogue has resulted in a tentative agreement of opinions and positions, putting our feet at the start of the right track to get out of the crisis and must continue to take it from the broad lines on what has been agreed upon to a clear road map and with a fixed agenda.
From now to next September, day after day, we’ll see the peaceful transition of power.
This national dialogue has focused on the setting up of a constitutional committee that will look into the required amendments of the constitution and the needed legislative reforms.
It (the dialogue) also met about the setting up of a follow-up committee expected to follow up the sincere implementation of the promises that I have made before the people.
I have made sure that the composition of the two committees is made of Egyptian figures that are known for their independence and experience, experts in constitutional law and judges.
In addition to that, the loss of the martyrs of the sons of Egypt in sad and tragic events has hurt our hearts and shaken the homeland’s conscience.
I immediately issued my instructions to complete the investigation about last week’s events (the clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators) and submit its results immediately to the general prosecutor for him to take the necessary legal deterrent measures.
Yesterday, I got the first report on the top priority constitutional amendments proposed by the committee of justice system and law experts and that I have set up to look into the required constitutional and legislative amendments.
In response to the proposals in the committee’s report, and in compliance with the prerogatives of the president of the republic, in conformity with Article 189 of the constitution, I have submitted a request today asking for the amendment of six constitutional clauses: 76, 77, 88, 93 and 189, in addition to the annulment of clause 179.
Moreover, I am asserting my readiness to submit, at a later time, an (additional) request to change any other clauses referred to me by the constitutional committee, according to the needs and justifications it sees fit.
These top-priority amendments aim to ease the conditions for presidential nominations, and the fixing of limited terms of presidency to ensure the rotation of power, and the strengthening of the regulations of elections oversight to guarantee their freedom and fairness.
It is in the judiciary’s prerogative to decide about the validity and membership of MPs and amend the conditions and measures on the amendment of the constitution.
The proposal to delete Article 179 from the constitution aims to achieve the required balance between the protection of the nation from the dangers of terrorism and safeguarding the civil rights and freedoms of the citizens which opens the door to the lifting of the emergency law following the return of calm and stability and the presence of suitable conditions to lift the state of emergency.
‘In one trench’
Brother citizens, the priority now is to bring back trust between Egyptians, trust in our economy and our international reputation, and trust in protecting the change and movement that we have started from turning back or retreating.
Egypt is going through difficult times which it is not right for us to allow continuing, as it will continue to cause us and our economy harm and losses, day after day, which will end in circumstances which those youths who called for change and reform will become the first to be harmed by.
The current moment is not to do with myself, it is not to do with Hosni Mubarak, but is to do with Egypt, its present and the future of its children.
All Egyptians are in one trench now, and it is on us to continue the national dialogue which we have started, with a team spirit, not one of division, and far from disagreement and infighting so that we can get Egypt past its current crisis, and to restore trust in our economy, and tranquillity and peace to our citizens, and return the Egyptian street to its normal everyday life.
I was as young as Egypt’s youth today, when I learned the Egyptian military honour, allegiance and sacrifice for my country.
I have spent a lifetime defending its soil and sovereignty. I witnessed its wars, with its defeats and victories.
I lived the days of defeat and occupation, I also lived the days of the (Suez) crossing, victory and liberation.
It was the happiest day of my life when I raised the flag of Egypt over Sinai.
I faced death many times as a pilot, in Addis Ababa, and numerous other times. I never succumbed to foreign pressure or dictations.
I kept the peace. I worked towards the stability and security of Egypt. I worked hard for its revival and for its people.
I never sought power or fake popularity. I trust that the overwhelming majority of the people know who Hosni Mubarak is. It pains me to see how some of my countrymen are treating me today.
In any case, I am completely aware of the seriousness of the current hard turn of events as I am convinced that Egypt is crossing a landmark point in its history which imposes on all of all to weigh in the higher interests of our country and to put Egypt first above any and all considerations.
I saw fit to delegate presidential jurisdictions to the vice-president as defined by the constitution. I am certain that Egypt will overcome its crisis.
The will of its people will not break. It will be back on its feet with the honesty and loyalty of its people, all its people.
It will return the machinations and glee of those who were gleeful and machinated against it.
We, Egyptians, will prove our ability to achieve the demands of the people with civilised and mature dialogue.
We will prove that we are no-one’s servants, that we do not take instructions from anyone, and that only the demands of the citizens and the pulse of the street take our decisions.
We will prove all this with the spirit and tenacity of Egyptians, through the unity and cohesion of the people, and through our commitment to Egypt’s dignity as well as its unique and immortal identity, for it is the essence and the base of our presence for more than 7,000 years.
This spirit will continue to live within us for as long as Egypt and its people are present. It will live in every one of our peasants, workers and intellectuals. It will remain in the hearts of our old men, our youth and our children, Muslims and Christians. It will remain in the minds and conscience of all those yet unborn.
I say again that I lived for the sake of this country, preserving its responsibility and trust. Egypt will remain above all and above everyone.
It will remain so until I hand over this trust and pole. This is the goal, the objective, the responsibility and the duty. It is the beginning of life, its journey, and its end.
It will remain a country dear to my heart. It will not part with me and I will not part with it until my passing.
Egypt will remain immortal with its dignified people with their heads held high.
May God preserve the safety of Egypt and watch over its people.
May peace be upon you.