CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt denied on Wednesday that President Hosni Mubarak was in ill health, dismissing a Lebanese newspaper report that said he would travel abroad for treatment.
“The president is in good health,” the spokesman of Egypt’s cabinet Magdy Rady told a news conference, adding that recently published reports regarding Mubarak’s health are not true.
Mubarak, 82, has returned to a regular schedule of meetings with visiting officials since having surgery in Germany in March. In the past week, he attended military parades in public.
Talk about Mubarak’s health was sparked by decisions, twice in a row, to delay a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper had said this was because he would travel to Germany for treatment again.
“What has been published about the president going to Germany is rumour. The president is in good health,” a senior official in the Egyptian government told Reuters, adding that Mubarak would hold meetings next week as planned.
An Israeli official said the meeting between Mubarak and Netanyahu had been reset for Sunday. Mubarak is also expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the same day, a Palestinian official said.
Rumours about Mubarak’s health have rattled markets in the past because he has no designated successor. He has not picked a vice president, the post he held before taking office.
Mubarak, in power since 1981, has not said if he will run for a sixth six-year term in the presidential election in 2011. If he does not, many Egyptians believe the post will probably go to his politician son Gamal, 46.
Both president and son deny any such plan.
Reporting by Ashraf Badr, Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Jon Loades-Carter