President Hosni Mubarak said on Thursday he wanted to quit but that he feared his resignation would bring chaos to Egypt, as protesters demanding an end to his 30-year rule confronted his supporters on Cairo streets.
Mubarak’s government has struggled to regain control of an angry nation, inviting Islamist opponents to talks and apologizing for bloodshed in Cairo that left 10 people dead.
A bitter and bloody confrontation gripped central Cairo where armed government loyalists fought pro-democracy demonstrators intent on the Mubarak, 82, stepping down.
“I am fed up. After 62 years in public service, I have had enough. I want to go,” Mubarak said in an interview with ABC.
“If I resign today, there will be chaos,” he added.
In a move to try to calm the disorder, Vice President Omar Suleiman said on Thursday the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most organized opposition movement, had been invited to meet with the new government as part of a national dialogue with all parties.
An offer to talk to the banned group would have been unthinkable before protests erupted on January 25, indicating the giant strides made by the reformist movement. But scenting victory, they have refused negotiations until Mubarak goes.