Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman Promises No Violence Against Protestors

President Mubarak told ABC News today that he is fed up with presidency.

ByABC News
February 3, 2011, 5:45 AM

CAIRO, Feb. 3, 2011— -- The Egyptian military will not use force to quell the tens of thousands of protestors now clashing in Cairo's streets, Vice President Omar Suleiman told ABC News today.

"We will not use any violence against them," Suleiman said from the presidential palace. "We will ask them to go home. And we'll ask their parents to ask them to go home."

"The process needs time," he said of the increasingly dangerous situation as anti-and pro-government protestors continue to battle for Tahrir Square. Hundreds have been injured.

"It's a process that's starting," he said, "by national dialogue."

President Hosni Mubarak also spoke to ABC News today, saying he is fed up with being president, but fears his country would descend into chaos if he resigned.

For Complete Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt, Featuring Exclusive Reporting From Christiane Amanpour, Click Here

In his first appearance before a journalist since the start of the crisis in Cairo last week, Mubarak said during the 30-minute interview that his government is not responsible for the violence in Tahrir Square in the last few days. Instead, he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party in Egypt

For now, Mubarak remains in the heavily guarded presidential palace with his family, heavily guarded by armed troops, tanks, and barbed wire. ABC News was joined during the interview by his son Gamal, who once was widely considered to be his successor. Mubarak said it was never his intention to have his son follow him into office.

Mubarak pledged his loyalty to Egypt.

"I would never run away," he said. "I will die on this soil."

He defended his legacy, recounting the many years he has spent leading his country.

While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when asked if he felt the U.S. had betrayed him.

When asked how he responded to the U.S.'s veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama, "You don't understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now."

Mubarak said he was "unhappy" about the violence by pro-government supporters.

"I do not want to see Egyptians fighting each other," he said.

He seemed unfazed by the insults hurled by his detractors.

"I don't care what people say about me," he said. "Right now, I care about my country, I care about Egypt."

Egypt's prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, went on TV today and apologized to anti-government protesters who attacked them on horses and camels and insisted the attackers were not sent in by the Mubarak's government.

Shafiq, appointed last week by the beleaguered Mubarak, spoke after a night of bitter fighting between anti- and pro-government factions in the city's main square, Tahrir Square.

As the sun rose over the square today, which has become a battleground in recent days, exhausted anti-government demonstrators, some with bandages on their faces, slept on the ground near piles of rocks that was their arsenal. Reinforcements answered Twitter pleas for help, streaming in with supplies, including water, bread and blankets.

"I offer my apology for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational," Shafiq told state TV.

"We never would have thought that the view of Tahrir Square would be the war zone we see today," he said.

"Anyone that has had a hand in creating the violence that we've seen in the past few days will be brought to justice immediately," the prime minister said.

He added, "We say this was not planned, this was not a strategy, this was not a work of the government."

Clashes between the two groups of demonstrators broke out during the night with gunfire and fire bombs raining down on those who want Mubarak to leave office immediately.

The Associated Press reported that soldiers were taking up positions between the two sides and had cleared a bridge of pro-Mubarak forces, but later stepped aside as the anti-Mubarak forces occupied the bridge.

By noon, relative calm had fallen over Tahrir Square, but gunfire broke the lull later in the day.

The clashes reportedly left at least five dead and almost 1,000 wounded.

The Egyptian uprising continued to be felt elsewhere in the region. In Yemen, police opened fire on protesters in the capital of Sanaa. It wasn't clear if the police were firing rubber bullets or live ammunition.

The government also froze the bank accounts of several recently fired ministers, including the hated former interior minister who was in charge when the cops led a bloody crackdown of the marchers.