Mubarak says Egypt did not refuse to receive toppled Ben Ali

Egypt did not refuse to receive ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali following the Tunisian uprising earlier this month, President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview with al-Shurta (The Police) magazine.

In an interview on the occassion of Egypt's Police Day, Mubarak said he was notified of Ben Ali's entry into Egyptian air space. The flight crew requested passage over Egypt but did not ask to land at an Egyptian airport, he said. 

Arab news reports claimed that Ben Ali's plane landed in Sharm el-Sheikh but Egyptian authorities refused to grant him refuge.

Civil aviation authorities continued to follow the plane until it landed at Jeddah airport, Mubarak said.

"Since day one, we said that Egypt respects the will of the Tunisian people and their choices," Mubarak added, saying that he hopes for Tunisia to pass this critical stage as soon as possible in order to restore calm and stability and achieve democracy and development.

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