Mubarak becomes Egypt's president, pledges to follow policies of Sadat

David B. Ottaway
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, October 15, 1981; 12:00 AM

CAIRO, Oct. 14, 1981 -- Pledging total fidelity to the policies of slain president Anwar Sadat and the "sword of the law" to those resorting to violence, Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, 53, was sworn in before a heavily guarded National Assembly today as Egypt's fourth president.

The ceremony took place a day after a nationwide referendum overwhelmingly approved him as Sadat's successor and eight days almost to the hour after the former president's assassination at a military parade by a small group of Moslem fanatics.

Wearing a black suit and tie in mourning for Sadat, Mubarak told his shaken nation that Egypt was in "deep pain" and the situation of the country was "critical." But, he added, "we shall not give in; we shall not surrender."

He promised to remain loyal to the principles and commitments of the late president, specifically mentioning the American-sponsored Camp David accords and Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. He also declared Egypt's determination not to go back on its decisions, "even if they were disliked by bigger powers."

This appeared to be a reference to the Soviet Union, which has vehemently attacked the peace accords and the treaty.

"Camp David, and peace with Israel, will continue in all its letter and commitment," he said, seeking to reassure both the United States and Israel. "We shall continue the autonomy negotiations to put the Palestinians on the beginning of the road to get their lawful rights."

He also said he had received "categoric assurances," presumably from the Israeli government, that Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Sinai Peninsula would take place on schedule, "without any delay."

On April 25, he said, the Egyptian flag will be "fluttering over Rafah, Sharm el-Sheikh and every inch of our sacred Sinai territory."

Shortly after the speech, Mubarak appointed himself prime minister and said he would retain Sadat's Cabinet, the official Middle East News Agency reported.

Mubarak was still wearing a small bandage on his left hand from an injury he received in the attack on Sadat. The assassination clearly was still on his mind and at one point he broke briefly into tears when he read the words:

"But such is my fate that I should stand in front of you, in his Sadat's place. The order has been given by the people of Egypt to choose me to follow him and to continue his march. In this responsibility, which is great and heavy for me, I shall always continue in his principles."

"I swear by almighty God to preserve the constitution and the law and safeguard the security of the state and the safety of its territory," Mubarak pledged before the 392-member assembly.

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