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Cablegate: Mubarak Discusses Back Surgery, Gamal As

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0057 0141136
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 141136Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7892
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

S E C R E T CAIRO 000057

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ELA, AND INR/B
NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2018
TAGS: PINR PGOV PREL EG
SUBJECT: MUBARAK DISCUSSES BACK SURGERY, GAMAL AS
PERFECTIONIST

Classified By: ECPO Minister-Counselor William R. Stewart
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S/NF) During his January 6 meeting with the Ambassador
and visiting Congressman Steven Israel (D-NY), President
Mubarak described his June 2004 back surgery in Germany to
repair a slipped disc (he stressed it was not a herniated
disc). Mubarak said that the opening made in his back was
"very small," that he was in surgery for one-and-a-half
hours, and that after the operation, he had felt no pain.
"The next day, I was able to walk." He explained that during
the time he was sedated, the Prime Minister (Atef Obeid) was
"in charge." He added that when in Cairo, he undertakes a
daily exercise regime in the afternoons, but when he goes to
Sharm, "I just relax -- no exercise."

2. (S/NF) Throughout the meeting, Mubarak was expansive and
in fine humor. He rose easily from his seat several times to
point out activity on the golf course and to be photographed
with his visitors. He engaged the visitors extensively on
the topic of food, stressing that his favorite fare is
Egyptian popular breakfast dishes, such as tamiya (felafel)
and foul (beans). He ordered up a huge tray of freshly made
tamiya sandwiches for lunch, and lustily consumed several.

3. (S/NF) Mubarak also offered insights into the character of
his younger son, Gamal, whom he described as a perfectionist
from childhood. "As a schoolboy, if I gave him a notebook
with one line that was not straight, he would throw a fit and
demand a new one," Mubarak laughed. Furthermore, Gamal is
"idealistic" and "punctual." Mubarak added, "If he (Gamal)
says, 'meet me for lunch at 2:00,' he means 2:00. Set your
watch by it."

4. (S/NF) During the two-and-a-half hour long meeting at his
golf course retreat in Sharm El-Sheikh, mostly outdoors on a
breezy veranda, Mubarak on several occasions seemed to have
more than his usual difficulty in hearing. Nonetheless, he
initiated several phone calls. He also displayed one
apparent lapse in memory in telling Congressman Israel that
Gamal is forty-one years old; he is in fact forty-four (born
December 27, 1963, according to leadership profile 20320807).

Ricciardone

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