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Mubarak: Ben Ali flew over Sharm El-Sheikh on his way out of Tunisia

Mubarak makes his first direct comment on developments in Tunisia

Dina Ezzat, Monday 24 Jan 2011

It is not true that toppled Tunisian President Zein el-Abedine Ben Ali asked for asylum in Egypt and was turned down, stated President Hosni Mubarak.

Speaking to the Police Magazine, to mark Police Day, the president, however, said that "what really happened is that I was informed that his plane entered the Egyptian airspace, immediately as it entered the airspace."

According to the President, the plane never landed in Egyptian territories and never asked for a permit to land. "I was informed that the plane asked for a permit to pass through our airspace but never asked for a permit to land in any of our airports," Mubarak detailed.

This was the first ever remark to be made by the president who had stayed away from making any direct remarks on the developments in Tunis that started over a month ago and peaked with the escape of Ben Ali from the Tunisian capital last Friday.

Egypt's civil aviation authorities, according to Mubarak, followed the route of the Ben Ali plane "until its landing in Jeddah airport".

This said, Mubarak made no comments on the recent developments in Tunis since the ousting of Ben Ali. "We said right from day one that we respect the choices and the will of the Tunisian people," he stated.

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