Mubarak back home in Egypt three weeks after surgery



CAIRO, Jailan Zayan- President Hosni Mubarak returned home to Egypt on Saturday after a three-week absence abroad for surgery that reignited speculation on who would succeed the veteran 81-year-old leader.
Dozens of senior officials greeted the president and his wife Suzanne as they emerged from the presidential plane in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and stepped onto an escalator.



An image grab taken from footage broadcast by the Egyptian state television shows Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (second right) being greeted by officials upon his arrival at Sharm el-Sheikh.  (AFP/Egyptian TV)
An image grab taken from footage broadcast by the Egyptian state television shows Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (second right) being greeted by officials upon his arrival at Sharm el-Sheikh. (AFP/Egyptian TV)
"This moment, which everyone has been waiting for, is the arrival of President Hosni Mubarak," a reporter said in live coverage on television.
Dressed in a navy blue blazer and trousers, a smiling Mubarak walked down the long red carpet and shook hands with Sunni Islam's top cleric, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Coptic Pope Shenouda III, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and a host of ministers and senior police and army officials.
Mubarak, looking as if he has lost weight, earlier left Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany where on March 6 during a state visit he had surgery to remove his gall bladder and a growth on the small intestine.
He flew to Baden Baden by helicopter en route to Sharm el-Sheikh, where he is to recuperate before returning to a normal work schedule.
"The president has fully recovered from the effects of the successful surgical intervention conducted on him exactly three weeks ago," his chief doctor Markus Buechler told a news conference carried by Egyptian television.
"I have recommended, however, that the president continues his convalescence back home during the coming two weeks before he gradually returns to his full and normal activity," Buechler said.
He praised the president's "strength, willpower, determination and humanity".
Before the operation, Mubarak temporarily handed powers to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, who is heading Egypt's delegation at the Arab summit in Libya on Saturday and Sunday.
Egypt's stock market suffered a noticeable drop after Mubarak's operation as speculation mounted over his health. But shares recovered after footage of the president was finally aired on television after a 10-day absence.
The veteran leader's stay in hospital was marked by regular government statements and updates on his health, which had usually been a closely guarded secret in Egypt.
Ten days after the operation, Egyptian television broadcast pictures of a pale-looking Mubarak in a dressing gown talking to doctors in a hospital room.
Three days later, more footage was aired, this time with sound, showing the president making phone calls and going over paperwork with his chief-of-staff, Zakaria Azmi.
"It's been a tough one," he said, laughing, the first time his voice was heard since the surgery.
But the operation, which was announced at the last minute, relaunched speculation on who would become Egypt's next president, as Mubarak has not said whether he will run in the 2011 election.
It is widely believed his younger son Gamal, 46, is being groomed to take over, though this has not been confirmed by either of the Mubaraks.
Ex-UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has entered the scene, calling for reforms and constitutional amendments. But his chances at running for president are slim due to constitutional curbs on independent candidacies.
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Saturday, March 27th 2010
Jailan Zayan
           


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