Egypt’s Mubarak to step down

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41506482/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

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CAIRO — Egypt‘s President Hosni Mubarak is to step down tonight, two sources told NBC News, amid widespread protests against his 30-year rule that have gripped the country.

Following an all-day meeting of the country’s supreme military council, the army said all the protesters’ demands would be met and a further statement was due to be made later Thursday, clarifying the situation.

NBC News reported that a high-ranking source inside the president’s office said that Mubarak would step down and the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was then confirmed by a second source.

The news came following repeated warnings of a military crackdown or coup.

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Mubarak was expected to formally announce his departure in an address to the nation tonight.

He was not present at Thursday’s supreme council meeting, despite being the commander in chief of Egypt’s armed forces. Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25, was also not there.

A spokesman read a statement that the council was in permanent session to explore “what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people.”

The statement was labeled “communique number 1,” a phrasing that The Associated Press said suggested a military coup could be under way.

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