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Viewing cable 08CAIRO57, MUBARAK DISCUSSES BACK SURGERY, GAMAL AS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08CAIRO57 2008-01-14 11:11 2010-12-13 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Cairo
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