Cairo, Feb 11 (PTI) Embattled Egyptian President HosniMubarak today refused to step down amid growing speculationsof his resignation, but said he had handed over some powers tohis deputy and was "not embarrassed" to hold a dialogue withthe country''s youth.
In a televised address to the nation, 82-year-oldMubarak said, "We have started the dialogue that includes theyouth who called for change as well as all political powers...
we are going ahead with peaceful transition of power."
However, there was no indication in the speech thatMubarak was planning to step down any time soon.
"I said I would not run again for president. I alsosaid I would go ahead with my responsibility of protecting theconstitution and the people until they elect a new presidentin next September. This is what I have sworn to do and willkeep it to take Egypt to safety," he said.
"I have decided to delegate power to the vicepresident (Omar Suleiman) based on the constitution," Mubaraksaid, adding he had requested six articles of the constitutionto be amended and one article to be cancelled.
His speech failed to appease protesters and was metwith angry chants of "Down with Mubarak" among a strong crowdof 200,000 people in Cairo''s Tahrir Square on the 17th day ofmassive nationwide anti-government protests.
Many of the protesters called for an immediate generalstrike and angrily addressed the army, which had deployedlarge numbers of troops and tanks around the area.
Hopes about Mubarak''s resignation had run high afterthe military leadership had announced hours earlier that itwould step in to ensure the country''s security and see thatthe people''s "legitimate" demands were met. .