Speaking just moments ago on CNN, the Egyptian ambassador to the United States said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has transfered all of “the powers of the presidency” to Vice President Omar Suleiman and remains president in name only.
“The head of state of Egypt is the president, who has transferred all his powers to the vice president,” said Ambassador Sameh Shoukry.
Suleiman is now in charge of the country and the armed forces, according to Shoukry, who said he is getting his information from Suleiman and wanted to clarify confusion about Mubarak’s status. Prior to Shoukry’s statement, reports appeared to indicate that Mubarak had not ceded power.
“He remains the de jure head of state,” Shoukry said of Mubarak. But Suleiman is the “de facto” president. Neither Suleiman nor Mubarak can dismiss the Cabinet or parliament, Shoukry said.
Suleiman also has the power to end the state of emergency that has existed in Egypt for three decades, according to Shoukry.
But Shoukry could not say whether Mubarak would be able to retrieve his powers at some point in the future.
President Obama has returned to the White House from his trip to Marquette, Mich. and was scheduled to begin meeting with national security aides to discuss the situation in Egypt.
Obama watched Mubarak’s speech on TV in the conference room on Air Force One.