Mubarak to have operation for slipped disc in Germany
Egypt denied a report by Al-Jazeera TV that President Hosni Mubarak will appoint a vice president before leaving for Germany on Sunday to have an operation for a slipped disc.
Mubarak advisor Makram Mohamed Ahmed told AFP the president would be away for between five and seven days, during which he would undergo endoscopic surgery expected to last some 40 minutes.
"Before his departure, Mr. Mubarak will take the decision to delegate some of his powers temporarily to Prime Minister Atef Ebeid as he does each time he goes away," said Ahmed, who also edits the government-owned magazine Al-Musawar. He did not, however, mention the appointment of a vice president.
Meanwhile, an official at the presidency was quoted as saying that Mubarak usually appoints his prime minister as temporary acting president during his travels.
"The government reshuffle planned for the end of June will be put off until after the president's return from Germany," he said, adding that a visit to South Africa scheduled for June 28 had also had to be postponed.
Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt since 1981, has never appointed anyone to the vice presidency.
Egypt's Minister of Health Mohamed Awad Afifi Tag el-Din, quoted by MENA news agency, said the surgery scheduled for Monday was a simple operation to remove displaced cartilage by inserting a microscopic endoscope.
Mubarak's doctors had two choices - either to treat the slipped disc with medication and physiotherapy over a long period or the quick operation, which Mubarak chose, he added.
"It's a simple procedure. It would take about an hour and within the first day you start walking normally and recovery within two days," said Bassem Wahib, an orthopaedic surgeon at New Kasr el-Einy Teaching Hospital in Cairo.
Mubarak, 76, has postponed several meetings with important visitors this month amid rumors about his health.
State television, however, showed the president in apparently good health on Wednesday, standing and talking to reporters about Egyptian plans to help the Palestinians with security. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)