Egypt’s ousted president has given up and wants to die in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has been living since a popular uprising ended his rule, a Saudi official said today.
Hosni Mubarak, 82, has suffered from health problems in recent years and travelled to Germany for gall bladder surgery in March last year. Reports of a further decline have increased since he stepped down on Friday after three decades in power.
An official in Saudi Arabia said the kingdom had offered to host Mubarak but he was determined to see out his days in Egypt. Official confirmation could not immediately be obtained from the Saudi government.
“He is not dead but is not doing well at all and refuses to leave. Basically, he has given up and wants to die in Sharm,” said the Saudi official, who asked not to be named.
Mubarak vowed to die in Egypt when he addressed the country’s 80 million people last week while still clinging to power.
A source with links to the Mubarak family said on Tuesday that the former president was “fine,” and had been taking telephone calls.
Mubarak spent more and more time at his residence in Sharm el-Sheikh near the end of his time as leader, retreating to the clean air and sea breeze to recover from ailments.
Across the sea, visitors can see the shores of Saudi Arabia, where Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled after he was toppled last month. The Tunisian experience inspired the Egyptian protest movement that forced Mubarak’s resignation.
Mubarak also received world leaders in the city at the tip of the Sinai peninsula and it became a stage for international summits and years of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Many of those disillusioned with Mubarak’s heavy-handed rule point to his fondness for Sharm el-Sheikh as a sign of his estrangement from the everyday problems that plague ordinary Egyptians.