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News on 6 February 2011


6 February 2011 Last updated at 15:34 GMT




Egypt opposition wary after talks


Egypt's opposition groups - including the banned Muslim Brotherhood - have given a wary response after landmark talks with the government on how to end the country's political crisis.


The meeting followed 13 days of street protests calling on President Hosni Mubarak to resign.


Opposition groups told the BBC they were sceptical about the government's good faith.


Meanwhile, many banks opened for the first time in a week. Long queues formed as people waited to withdraw money.


Tens of thousands have again joined demonstrations in Cairo and other cities, calling for democratic reforms.


President Mubarak has refused to resign immediately, saying that to do so would cause chaos and has said instead that he will not stand for re-election in September.


State of emergency


Mr Suleiman was hosting the talks on Sunday along with a number of opposition parties, including Wafd and Tagammu, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.


Egyptian State TV said the participants had agreed to form a joint committee of judicial and political figures tasked with suggesting constitutional amendments.


However, the Brotherhood said the talks would only continue if the government makes progress on meeting its demands.


Deputy leader Rashad Mohammed el-Bayoumy said these included "the immediate removal of this regime, beginning with Hosni Mubarak; the lifting of the emergency laws that we have been living under for more than thirty years... Dissolving the parliament, which is in place only as a result of blatant election rigging; and finally, the release of all political prisoners."


The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Cairo, says opposition members and a group of so-called "wise men" who were also there told him they were sceptical of the government's moves.


It was the first time the government and the long-banned Brotherhood have held talks.


However, another key opposition figure - former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei - was absent.


Economic woes


The participants also rejected foreign interference in Egypt's affairs and said they would work towards the peaceful transition of power, the state news reports said.


Mr Suleiman had invited the groups last week, telling the Muslim Brotherhood it was a "valuable opportunity".


The Brotherhood had previously said it would not take part in the negotiations.


The Islamist group is Egypt's most influential and well-organised opposition but it remains officially banned and its members and leaders have been subject to frequent repression. Mr Mubarak has blamed it for the unrest and said that if he leaves, the group will exploit the ensuing political chaos.


The Muslim Brotherhood denies accusations that it is seeking to create an Islamist state in Egypt.


Earlier, hundreds of bank branches across the country and in Cairo opened at 1000 local time (0800 GMT).


Long queues formed at some for the brief opening period - the banks closed again at 1330 local time.


The central bank has released some of its $36bn (£22bn) in official foreign reserves to cover withdrawals, amid fears Egyptians would be panicked into taking out their savings.


Deputy central bank governor Hisham Ramez has said he is confident all transactions will be honoured.


The government is seeking to revive an economy said to be losing at least $310m (£192m) a day.


Many shops, factories and the stock exchange have been closed for days, and basic goods have been running short.


Correspondents say many Egyptians have been wondering how quickly daily life will return to normal regardless of the outcome of the struggle for power.


But they also say there is no let-up in the magnitude of the protests in Tahrir Square, and the mood is almost back to the festival atmosphere of the first few days, with many families and young children in attendance.

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Good, I hope the Egyptian people keep up the pressure for as long as it takes! When I hear that a group of "wise men", a joint committee of judicial and political figures are tasked with suggesting constitutional amendments, I think of our own founding fathers here in the U.S., and how the constitutional convention held in Philadelphia led to the formation of our new republic.

I understand why they want a clean sweep of Parliament and their Presidency - if the elections were all rigged, then those in office currently do not represent the will of the people, and new elections should be held as soon as possible.

One of the protesters said they wanted a coalition government; a plurality running Egypt basically. Makes good sense - consensus building among the various groups makes things happen, and ensures all voices get representation, so the results are more even-handed and built by consensus and compromise. I think they've got the right ideas, and they certainly know what needs reforming and how to do it! Viva La Egypt!!


And there are a variety of parties, from the Wafd to Tagammu to the Muslim Brotherhood to the existing bloc - sounds like a recipe for success.

Tagammu = National Progressive Unionist Party

Some wiki sources for further edification:

Mohamed ElBaradei - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Progressive Unionist Party - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wafd Party - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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News from text-TV


Text TV news from 6.2.11:



Supplies to the square in central Cairo were blocked as the LION BRIDGE was closed according to DR1's correspondent / reporter Henrik Lerche. Last night the military tried to make the square smaller by means of tanks moving towards the middle of the Tahrir Square. It stopped when demonstrators laid down in front of the tanks.


Later today on Danish TV it was reported that supplies of food etc. were again available.


340 banks of which 152 in Cairo were open for some hours today after having been closed for at least one week. Busses transported many bank clerks to their working places.


One of the demands made by the opposition is the lifting of the state of emergency being in force since 1981 and making it possible for the Egyptian Mubarak regime to suppress the opposition. Demonstrations were forbidden.


ElBaradei WARNS AGAINST A TRANSITION GOVERNMENT HEADED BY PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK or VICE PRESIDENT OMAR SULEIMAN - because he fears that the demonstrations might become more evil and wild.


ElBaradei commented on rumours that the USA could support such an arrangement calling it a serious setback if it was true.


ElBaradei is a spokesman for the opposition.

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Text TV news from 6.2.11:


Text TV news from 6.2.11:




Supplies to the square in central Cairo were blocked as the LION BRIDGE was closed according to DR1's correspondent / reporter Henrik Lerche. Last night the military tried to make the square smaller by means of tanks moving towards the middle of the Tahrir Square. It stopped when demonstrators laid down in front of the tanks.


Later today on Danish TV it was reported that supplies of food etc. were again available.



340 banks of which 152 in Cairo were open for some hours today after having been closed for at least one week. Busses transported many bank clerks to their working places.



One of the demands made by the opposition is the lifting of the state of emergency being in force since 1981 and making it possible for the Egyptian Mubarak regime to suppress the opposition. Demonstrations were forbidden.



ElBaradei WARNS AGAINST A TRANSITION GOVERNMENT HEADED BY PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK or VICE PRESIDENT OMAR SULEIMAN - because he fears that the demonstrations might become more evil and wild.


ElBaradei commented on rumours that the USA could support such an arrangement calling it a serious setback if it was true.


ElBaradei is a spokesman for the opposition.

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By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Karin Laub, Associated Press – Sun Feb 6, 3:06 pm ET


Mubarak's resignation now could hamper transition


CAIRO – President Hosni Mubarak's immediate resignation — the key demand of protesters in the streets of Cairo would trigger snap presidential elections under the Egyptian constitution and could make political reform more difficult, experts say.


That's one of the quandaries opposition groups face as they try to chart an uncertain path to democracy. The difficulties are compounded by a lack of trust between Egypt's embattled rulers and the opposition groups they tried to silence for decades.


Sunday saw a tentative start toward transition, even as Mubarak insists he'll stay in power until his term expires in September, when elections are scheduled.


Vice President Omar Suleiman, appointed by Mubarak shortly after the Jan. 25 outbreak of protests, agreed in a meeting with major opposition figures that a committee should propose constitutional reforms by the first week of March. This would include allowing more candidates to run for president and imposing term limits on the presidency.


Still, the path to free and fair elections is packed with obstacles, lawyers and constitutional experts say.


If Mubarak were to resign now, as many protesters demand, presidential elections would have to be held within 60 days, according to the existing constitution.


The current electoral rules impose many restrictions on who could run, heavily favoring the old regime, and could not be changed during the run-up to the elections, legal experts said.


"What has been the core opposition demand, that Mubarak resign immediately, does not get them what they want," said Nathan Brown, a political scientist at George Washington University. "They get rid of Mubarak personally, but it kicks into gear all sorts of constitutional procedures that would really complicate things enormously."


The U.S. has been struggling to strike the right tone. On Saturday, Frank Wisner, a retired American diplomat involved in contacts with Mubarak, said the Egyptian leader's role "remains utterly critical in the days ahead while we sort our way toward a future."


However, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton later recalibrated, saying the U.S. is throwing its weight behind the nascent transition efforts in Cairo, including the outreach to opposition groups. "It takes time to think those through, to decide how one is going to proceed, who will emerge as leaders," she said. "The principles are very clear. The operational details are very challenging."


Even some of Mubarak's harshest critics in Egypt say the autocratic ruler of 29 years may have to stay a little while longer, if only as a figurehead, to help set in motion some of the reforms.


"It's complicated," Hossam Bahgat, a prominent human rights lawyer, said of the transition. "It would have been much easier had we succeeded in bringing down the regime through this uprising."


Under one of several proposals being floated, Mubarak would hand many of his powers to Suleiman, who would then negotiate with the opposition on constitutional reforms needed for ensuring fair elections.


However, under existing rules, any constitutional amendments would have to be approved by parliament.


This could pose a problem because the 518-member legislature — chosen in November elections marred by what many say was blatant fraud — is packed with Mubarak allies from the ruling National Democratic Party.

In his first response to the protests, Mubarak promised last week to review legal appeals against many of the lawmakers, after those challenges were initially brushed aside.


Some Mubarak backers now appear to be promoting parliament as the vehicle of change.


"We have to develop the sovereignty of the parliament, so we can change the constitution, after discussions with the opposition," said Abdullah Kamal, an NDP legislator and editor of the state-owned daily Rose el-Yousef.


"It has to change the constitution before there can be an election."


However, former NDP member Hala Mustafa, who now sides with the opposition, said any talk about retroactively addressing charges of election fraud — likely a time-consuming process — is an attempt by the regime to stall.


"This is the manner of the regime, to gain time," said Mustafa, a former member of the NDP's policy planning committee. "That's why there is a real gap of trust and confidence."


Mustafa said the speediest path toward change is to have Mubarak put constitutional amendments needed for fair elections before the current parliament and get them approved.


"Whatever the president will say (to members of parliament), they won't say no," she said. "If he wants to stay (in office) under the pretext that he will do the handover of power in a smooth way, this is the way to do it. Otherwise, why is he here?"


Others also envision a brief interim role for Mubarak, but propose a more complex path.


Mubarak should issue decrees lifting the country's decades-old state of emergency and push through the constitutional reforms concerning future elections, said Bahgat, the human rights lawyer.


Those changes, once approved in a referendum, would clear the way for Mubarak's resignation and presidential elections. The new president would launch a complete constitutional overhaul, to be approved in a second referendum, before parliament elections are held.


Analysts say that any path to democracy will be difficult, particularly because the situation in Egypt remains volatile.


"The opposition needs good faith, or they need compulsion and that comes from the outside," said Clark Lombardi, a law professor at the University of

Washington in Seattle. "The U.S. has been pushing whatever leverage it has."



Associated Press writer Diaa Hadid contributed to this report.



Danish TV2 news: According to the German magazine Der Spiegel a German hospital in a luxurious villa might receive Mubarak within a few days for his annual health check.

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Egypt’s Vice President Omar Suleiman met with representatives from several opposition groups for the first time on Sunday in an effort to seek a solution to the political crisis faced by the country as it entered the 13th day of anti-government protests.


"People still want the president to step down," Mostafa al-Naggar, a protest organizer and supporter of Mohamed Elbaradei, the Nobel Peace laureate and one of the country's leading democracy advocates, told MSNBC.


According to NPR: The opposition groups represented at the meeting included the youthful supporters of ElBaradei, who are one of the main forces organizing the protests. ElBaradei was not invited and his brother said the statement by those who did attend does not represent his personal view. The Muslim Brotherhood and a number of smaller leftist, liberal groups also attended, according to footage shown on state television.


Concessions offered by Vice President Suleiman, if enacted, could bring dramatic change to the country, CNN said.


Among the ideas agreed to by the two sides at the meeting, according to a report on state-run television, was a future end to the military emergency law that has been in place since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981.


The two sides also discussed steps to ensure free media and communication and plans to form a series of committees that would oversee changes aimed at bringing about a representative government, CNN also reports.


MSNBC noted:Vice President Omar Suleiman offered to set up a committee of judiciary and political figures to study proposed constitutional reforms that would allow more candidates to run for president and impose term limits on the presidency, the state news agency reported. The committee was given until the first week of March to finish the tasks.


The offer also included a pledge not to harass those participating in anti-government protests, which have drawn hundreds of thousands at the biggest rallies. The government agreed not to hamper freedom of press and not to interfere with text messaging and Internet.


CNN reported there was no immediate word from the opposition groups following the meeting, and it was not immediately clear how many of the protesters believe that those who met with Suleiman on Sunday actually represent their interests.


As al-Naggar told MSNBC: "The protest continues because there are no guarantees and not all demands have been met," he added. "We did not sign on to the statement. This is a beginning of a dialogue. We approve the positive things in the statement but ... we are still demanding that the president step down."


NPR’s Michelle Keleman interviewed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday. Clinton told Keleman she supports the reform process Vice President Suleiman, Egypt's former intelligence chief, is pursuing.


"I think the Egyptian people are looking for an orderly transition that can lead to free and fair elections," Clinton told NPR. "That's what the United States has consistently supported. The people themselves and the leaders of various groups within Egyptian society will ultimately determine whether it is or is not meeting their needs."

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Articles on the situation in EGYPT


From Care2 Causes on 8.2.11



posted by: Kristina Chew


On the 14th day of the protests in Egypt, the government met for the first time since it was reorganized by President Hosni Mubarak in the first week of the uprising; banks and some shops reopened; traffic in the streets increased; and pro-democracy protesters remained in Tahrir Square. Protesters, who seek the immediate departure of Mubarak, showed 'no signs of being appeased' by talks held on Sunday by the new government and opposition groups, as Al-Jazeera English reports.




Following Sunday's meeting, Vice President Suleiman issued a statement announcing that a “consensus” had arisen about a path to reform, including the provision to form a committee to recommend constitutional changes by early March. At the meeting were two representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as '50 prominent Egyptians and opposition figures, including officials of the small, recognized opposition parties, as well as a handful of young people who helped start the protest movement,' according to today's New York Times.


But protesters remain unconvinced by Suleiman's words:


Leaders of the protest movement, including both its youthful members and Brotherhood officials, denounced Mr. Suleiman’s portrayal of the meeting as a political ploy intended to suggest that some in their ranks were collaborating.Though the movement has only a loose leadership, it has coalesced around a unified set of demands, centered on Mr. Mubarak’s resignation, but also including the dissolution of one-party rule and revamping the Constitution that protected it, and Mr. Suleiman gave no ground on any of those demands.


“We did not come out with results,” said Mohamed Morsy, a Brotherhood leader who attended, while others explained that the Brotherhood had attended only to reiterate its demands and show openness to dialogue.


Many protesters also expressed anger that the United States is supporting a 'negotiated transition undertaken by Mr. Suleiman while Mr. Mubarak remained in power.' In an interview with ABC News, Suleiman said little to suggest that 'he was ready to move Egypt toward democracy or that he even took its youth-led democracy movement seriously' and rather stated that some “other people” and “an Islamic current” were 'in fact pushing the young people forward.'


According to recently released Wikileaks cables, Suleiman has long sought to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as the 'bogeyman.' The former secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sobhi Saleh, is profiled in yesterday's New York Times Magazine, in an article by Nicholas Kulis (one of the reporters who was recently detained by Egyptian authorities); Saleh had just returned home when he was interviewed, after being held for five days (starting January 28) by the Egyptian authorities. Also held with him were 34 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood.


The US's Changing Position on Egypt


A recent editorial in the Guardian describes the US as 'at sea' in its position on Egypt:


Flexibility can be advantageous in international relations, but there comes a time when it starts to look like dithering. So it is in the US, where the official position on the Egypt uprising has been changing almost daily.


The US has gone from at first backing Mubarak; to stating that it would be better if a transition process began "now"; to US envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner telling a defense conference this past Saturday that Mubarak should be allowed to stay in office throughout the transition process. As of Sunday, Secretary of State Clinton spoke of taking a 'wait-and-see approach' regarding the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in talks.


From the New York Times:


To explain the apparent American shift from urgent demands for change to endorsing plans for Mr. Mubarak to remain in place during a transition, Mrs. Clinton alluded to “a debate within Egypt itself, and not just in the government, but among the people of Egypt” over how to manage the timing of the transition, since the existing Egyptian Constitution would set an unrealistic deadline of two months for an election if Mr. Mubarak stepped down. That “doesn’t give anybody enough time,” she said. She has not addressed the Egyptian opposition’s suggestion for how to solve that problem: suspension of the Constitution for up to a year until a transitional unity government can organize a free election.


In addition, the UK Independent’s Robert Fisk has discovered a 'major conflict of interest' regarding Wisner, Clinton’s 'hand-picked envoy.' Wisner works for the New York-DC law firm Patton-Boggs, who counts the Egyptian government among its clients and has even taken part in litigation against Americans.


From ThinkProgress:

A perusal of Patton Boggs’s website finds that firm “maintains a correspondent affiliate relationship with one of Egypt’s most prominent firm of lawyers in Cairo, the law firm of Zaki Hashem.” Fisk notes that one of Hashem’s former senior advisors, Nabil al-Araby, has actually been taking part in protests against Mubarak. Al-Araby broke off connections with Hashem three years ago, and told Fisk that he thinks that Mubarak must go immediately and that he has “no idea” why Wisner made comments in support of him staying.


While Wisner has many decades of experience working in Egypt, he now works for the private sector, and at a law firm that litigates on behalf of the Egyptian government. He is indeed a 'questionable choice' to serve as an American envoy to Egypt.


A Return to Stability, Says the Government; No, Say the Protesters


The Egyptian government, in its first day of meeting, announced that it is creating a a five billion pound ($840m) fund to compensate those affected by looting or vandalism during the protests. Also, government employees are to receive a 15-percent pay increase, starting in April.


Meanwhile, army vehicles continue to patrol the streets of Cairo and young professionals who have used Facebook to organized protests are calling for a general strike on Tuesday. Protesters---who note Mubarak's very poor record on human rights---are considering additional actions, including large-scale demonstrations in other cities besides Cairo, strikes or acts of civil disobedience like surrounding the state television headquarters.



Pets Abandoned As Americans Leave Egypt


posted by: Sharon Seltzer




According to a PETA official, the U.S. State Department is evacuating American citizens from the political uprising in Egypt, but has told the evacuees they are not allowed to bring their pets with them.


Bruce Friedrich, Vice President for Policy with PETA released a story on Friday asking Americans to contact the Department of State’s Egyptian Task Force to urge them to reconsider their policy about making U.S. nationals leave behind their companion animals in Egypt.


Friedrich reported the policy is leaving the evacuees with an “impossible choice: leave their beloved companions behind to face certain death, or risk their own lives by remaining in Egypt in order to stay with their animals.”


Friedrich also expressed his disappointment with the U.S. government for not learning from our mistake in making people leave their pets during Hurricane Katrina. Many of those animals died during the storm while hundreds of others were stranded for days without food, water or shelter.


“Hurricane Katrina taught us the fatal consequences of barring evacuees from taking their animals with them,” said PETA V.P. Daphna Nachminovitch. “No one should be forced to choose between personal safety and the lives of beloved companions.”


The dogs and cats being left behind now in Egypt face even greater dangers than the Katrina animals because there is almost no likelihood they will ever be reunited with their owners.

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News on 10.2.11


NEWS on 10 February 2011





The British newspaper the Guardian has collected statements from witnesses. Several hundreds have disappeared, and the military / army is said to have used torture against protesters.


The leadership of Egypt's army held a meeting without President Mubarak, but headed by Defense Minister Tantawi. After the meeting a spokesman read aloud a statement on Egyptian television. In the speech he announced that the army supported "the population's legitimate demands".





"The problem is not the president. The problem is the entire regime".


Foreign politicians have expressed their fear of the Brotherhood trying to come to power if Mubarak resigns.


The Egyptian protesters were singing and dancing at the Tahrir Square before Mubarak's speech before it was rumoured that he would resign and declare so in his speech to the nation here on the 17th day of protests against the regime at the TAHRIR Square.



Most protesters want the army to take over for a short period of time and to prepare a new constitution so that elections can be held soon.


US President Obama declared before Mubarak's speech that the US will do everything for Egypt and support an ORDERLY and SINCERE TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY in Egypt.





The USA recommended/urged the Egyptian army to stay calm and not to attack the protesters.


The State Department = the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the USA: "We recommend continued restraint".


On Wednesday 9.2.11 Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs said that it will be necessary to deploy the army if the demonstrations against the government continues to keep Egypt in chaos.

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[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFSN_OGhhR8&feature=player_embedded]YouTube - Mubarak refuses to leave office[/ame]


President Hosni Mubarak provoked rage on Egypt’s streets when he said he would hand powers to his deputy but disappointed protesters who had been expecting him to step down altogether after two weeks of unrest.


“Leave! Leave!” chanted thousands who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in anticipation that a televised speech would be the moment their demands for an end to Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian, one-man rule were met.


Instead, the 82-year-old former general portrayed himself as a patriot overseeing an orderly transition until elections in September.


He praised the young people who have stunned the Arab world with unprecedented demonstrations, offering constitutional change and a bigger role for Omar Suleiman, the vice president.




Egyptians in Tahrir Square hold up shoes in protest as a response to Mubarak’s speech, February 10th 2011




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^^^ Thanks for posting the speech and the above article. :hug:


^^ Thanks again, Tammi. :)


^ Thanks.



SAUDI-ARABIA's King Abdullah has told Mubarak that he and Egypt can count on Saudi-Arabia's support if the USA cancels its aid programme. The USA has supported Egypt economically and militarily, but calls for quick reforms.



STRIKE AT CAIRO's LARGEST HOSPITALThe medical staff supports the protesters and marched towards the TAHRIR Square where they will join the demonstrations there. 3,000 staff members shouted: "The population wants an end to this regime".





In his address to the nation, Mubarak promised constitutional reforms. 5 articles in the constitution are to be changed / amended, and a sixth article is to be deleted.


Mubarak also said that he would not give in to international pressure no matter from where it came. He will not resign, but hands over more power to the vice president. He will monitor the transition as president until the election in September. At the end of his speech he said that he will never leave Egypt.


Around hundred thousand protesters at Tahrir Square were disappointed that Mubarak did not declare his resignation, but only handed over some power to the vice president. They were quiet when listening to Mubarak's speech, but after the speech they shouted: "Leave Mubarak" and "Mubarak out, Suleiman out" and "Freedom" / "Liberty".


During Mubarak's speech protesters raised their shoes showing the soles as a sign of NO RESPECR for Mubarak. Several headed for the presidential palace.




Vice President Suleiman said that he will do what he can to ensure a peaceful transition of power and to meet the population's demands via a dialogue according to an agreement. REUTERS.



Danish TV2 News' reporter in Cairo: Protesters might take the TV building by storm. Many have left the Tahrir Square - they might be heading for the presidential palace.

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11 February 2011 Last updated at 18:06 GMT




Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.


In an announcement on state TV, Vice-President Omar Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the military.


It came as thousands massed in Cairo and other Egyptian cities for an 18th day of protest to demand Mr Mubarak's resignation.


Protesters responded by cheering, waving flags, embracing and sounding car horns. "The people have brought down the regime," they chanted.


Mr Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the high command of the armed forces.


"In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country," he said.


"May God help everybody."


The military high command is headed by Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI.


Mr Mubarak has already left Cairo and is in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has a residence, officials say.


Constitution breached


In Cairo, thousands of people are gathered outside the presidential palace, in Tahrir Square and at state TV.


They came out in anger following an address by Mr Mubarak on Thursday. He had been expected to announce his resignation but stopped short of stepping down, instead transferring most powers to Mr Suleiman.


Reacting to news of the resignation, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said: "This is the greatest day of my life."


"You cannot comprehend the amount of joy and happiness of every Egyptian at the restoration of our humanity and our freedom."


The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's banned Islamist opposition movement, paid tribute to the army for keeping its promises. "I salute the Egyptian people and the martyrs. This is the day of victory for the Egyptian people. The main goal of the revolution has been achieved," said the Brotherhood's former parliamentary leader, Mohamed el-Katatni.


The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said the announcement caught everyone by surprise: all over the city, drivers honked their horns and people fired guns into the air.


But the army takeover looks very much like a military coup, our correspondent adds.


The constitution has been breached, he says, because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership.


'Historic change'


There was jubilation throughout the MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA, including in Tunisia, where people overthrew their own president last month.


The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, said events in Egypt presented an opportunity to build a national consensus.


Meanwhile, IRAN described the recent events as a "great victory".


A senior ISRAELI official expressed the hope that Mr Mubarak's departure would "bring no change to its peaceful relations with Cairo".


European Union leaders reacted positively to the news of Mr Mubarak's resignation.


EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton said the EU "respected" the decision.


"It is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government which will respect the aspirations of, and deliver stability for, the Egyptian people," she said.


UK Prime Minister David Cameron said this was a "really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the people together", and called for a "move to civilian and democratic rule".


German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the "historic change" in Egypt.


US Vice-President Joe Biden said Egypt had reached a pivotal moment in history.


The anti-government protests that began on 25 January were triggered by widespread unrest in Egypt over unemployment, poverty and corruption.


They followed a popular uprising in Tunisia which brought about the downfall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.



Mohamed Hussein TANTAWi


Head of higher council of Egyptian armed forces

Minister of defence since 1991

Commander-in-chief armed forces since 1991

Appointed deputy prime minister 31 Jan 2011

Born 31 Oct 1935



Vice President Omar Suleiman is 73 years old and has been head of the national intelligence service since 1993.



At the scene

Yolande Knell


BBC News, Cairo



The news is spreading fast through car horns. There is a deafening din as people in the gridlocked traffic shout: "Egypt! Egypt!" and: "The people have won - it's over".


Fireworks can be heard in central Cairo. Huge crowds are heading to Tahrir Square for the victory party.


The square itself is a sea of flags. "We are happy: this is freedom for Egypt," says one man. "This is a celebration for all Egyptians," adds another.


But there are concerns about what comes next. "We want a civilian state, not a military one," comments Taher, who has been camping out for the last few weeks.



According to documents leaked by Wikileaks, Egypt's Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has been called "Mubarak's poodle" because he can thank Mubarak for his career. He has also been called "incompetent".



Swiss bank has frozen assets probably belonging to Mubarak.


1.3 billion US dollar Egypt received from the US each year.

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