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World

Mubarak could relinquish power soon

Egypt's armed forces' supreme council says that President Hosni Mubarak will address the nation later Thursday and make an announcement that would meet the demands of protesters who have been calling for his resignation.

Mubarak

Mubarak could be on his way out

There are increasing signs that President Mubarak is likely to step down Thursday in reponse to almost three weeks of mass protests against his 30-year rule.

According to army and military sources, Mubarak may hand over power to his Vice President Omar Suleiman with whom he earlier held talks. Military officials said Mubarak would address the nation Thursday and make an announcement that would meet the protesters' demands.

Hossan Badrawy, the general secretary of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, told various media outlets that he hoped Mubarak would transfer power soon.

Egypt's military announced on state TV that it had stepped in to "safeguard the country" and assured protesters that their demands would be met. This has triggered concerns of an army coup and that a military leadership might take over.

More than a million pro-democracy demonstrators were said to be gathering in and around Cairo's Tahrir Square ahead of Mubarak's planned speech. Many of them were chanting "civilian rule, not military rule."

Speaking in Michigan, President Barack Obama said the US was watching events in Egypt "very closely." "We are witnessing history unfold." He added that the transformation there was happening "because the people are calling for change." Obama also said the US would do everything it can to support a genuine transition to democracy.

Author: Rob Mudge (dpa, reuters, AFP)

Editor: Susan Houlton

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