Cairo: US President Barack Obama has said ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak had refused to listen his advice to introduce reforms in the most populous Arab nation during pro-democracy protests, recalling that he had warned him it was "genie" that could not be put back in the bottle.
"I remember a conversation I had two weeks before President Mubarak left, maybe three or four weeks, when the protests in Tahrir Square were first taking place," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
"And I said, 'Mr. President, I don't think this is a genie that you can put back in the bottle," Obama said, recalling his conversation with Mubarak in 2011.
"And if you can get out in front of reform, then you can be the father of the Egyptian democracy in a way that will put your name in the history books," said the US president, who had praised the protesters and their peaceful demonstrations.
Mubarak had replied, "Ah, Mr. President, you don't understand society here.?This is all going to be fine.?It'll blow over."
Days later, Mubarak, who had ruled for more than 30 years, was ousted after massive protests against him and the Supreme Military Council had took over the state's affairs in January 2011.
President Obama had hailed Mubarak's abrupt decision to step down at that time.