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Mubarak ‘may be stepping down’

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will transfer power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, according to a senior member of Egypt’s governing party.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted Hossan Badrawi, the secretary-general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), as saying Mubarak would “most probably” speak to the nation tonight.

The BBC’s website earlier said the scenario of Mubarak stepping down was being discussed. Egypt’s State TV has shown President Hosni Mubarak meeting with his vice president at his palace. Speaking on Sky News, Egyptian Finance Minister, Samir Radwan, said Suleiman has been running the Egypt for the last Week.

The military has announced, on national television, that it stepped in to “safeguard the country” and assured protesters that President Hosni Mubarak will meet their demands (See related story). That’s the strongest indication yet that the longtime leader has lost power. Protesters, who have been lining up to enter a packed Tahrir Square, are insisting he step down immediately.

In Washington, the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also said his information indicates Mubarak could be out by Thursday night.

There is a “high likelihood” of that, Leon Panetta told Congress, without saying exactly how the CIA reached that conclusion. He said Mubarak’s exit would be “significant” in moving Egypt to an “orderly transition” of power.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said developments remain fluid in Egypt and he is not confirming reports that President Hosni Mubarak is leaving office.

Gibbs said President Barack Obama is monitoring events and met national security adviser Tom Donilon before leaving Thursday morning for an event in Michigan.

Gibbs’ comments came shortly after CIA chief Leon Panetta said there is a “strong likelihood” Mubarak will step down Thursday.

In Egypt, the military announced that Mubarak will meet their demands in the strongest indication yet that Egypt’s longtime leader has lost power.

Said Gibbs: “I don’t know what the outcome of what is happening will be.”

Thursday is the 17th day of protests against Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Arab News

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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