President Mubarak in 'stable condition', says state TV

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CAIRO: Veteran Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in “stable condition following surgery in Germany to have his gall bladder removed, state television said on Sunday.

“The president is in stable condition, the television said.

Mubarak, who is being treated at Heidelberg University Hospital, also had a growth removed from his small intestine and was fully conscious after the operation, a statement from the hospital said on Saturday.

The 81-year-old president had suffered from chronic calculus cholecystitis – an inflammation of the gall bladder accompanied by gall stones – and a duodenal polyp.

Doctors at the hospital said they were satisfied with the “successful surgery, and that the president was fully conscious after the operation. His wife Suzanne and other family members accompanied him to Heidelberg.

“The frozen sections taken during the operation were all negative, Dr. Marcus Buchler said, without giving any details on the tissue that was examined and what ailment the tests were meant to detect.

The president delegated executive powers to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif until he returns to Cairo.

Mubarak’s health is usually a taboo subject in the country he has ruled since 1981, fuelling regular rumors. Journalists writing about the president’s health have been handed jail sentences in the past.

In 2007, speculation snowballed to the extent that the president was forced to make an unscheduled public appearance to put the rumors to rest.

A year later, Ibrahim Eissa, editor-in-chief of the independent daily Al-Dostor, was sentenced to two months in prison for writing about Mubarak’s health. He was later granted a presidential pardon.

But the government says it has been transparent on the president’s ailment and surgery, although it had not given any indication before he left for Germany that he would undergo a check-up and an operation.

Prime Minister Nazif’s spokesman Magdi Radi said the decision to undergo surgery was taken only on Friday after what he said was a “follow-up with German doctors.

Fathi Sorour, speaker of parliament, which is dominated by Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, sent a telegram on behalf of parliament wishing a “speedy recovery to the president.

Mohamed El-Beltagy, an MP representing the banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement, said his group “hopes for a speedy recovery for the president and his safe return to the country.

In 2004, Mubarak delegated executive powers to then Prime Minister Atef Ebeid when he was treated in Germany for a slipped disc.

In 2003, he collapsed briefly during a live address to parliament. Officials said it was caused by a combination of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and a cold.

Mubarak’s fifth six-year term as president ends in 2011. During a speech in 2005, Mubarak said he would remain in power until his “last breath. -Agencies

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