CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday that improving economic growth and dealing with social disparities were top priorities for the Arab world's most populous nation, challenging his political opponents to take them on.
Near daily protests in Egypt have brought attention to rising living costs and other economic problems, giving opponents of Mubarak's three-decade rule a rallying point.
On his annual speech to commemorate the anniversary of the military coup that toppled the monarchy in 1952, Mubarak focused on economic issues.
"Economic growth and social justice sum up the many aims that we are pursuing today, tomorrow and the day after," Mubarak said. "While I look forward to parliamentary elections that push forward our democratic experience, I call on all political parties to come up with ideas and visions to deal with these priorities— on which there is no disagreement."
The 82-year-old Mubarak appeared visibly thinner and a little pale while delivering the speech. He underwent surgery in Germany in March to remove his gall bladder and a benign growth in the lining of his small intestine.