Stong likelihood of Mubarak stepping down: CIA director (Third Lead)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CAIRO/WASHINGTON - There is a strong likelihood that embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta has told the US Congress.

Mubarak has agreed to yield power to his vice president, CNN quoted a senior US official as stating, citing contacts within the Egyptian government.

Speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information, the official said that given the mixed signals sent throughout the crisis that “we need to see it happen”.

The information came from reliable and ranking officials in the Mubarak regime, the source told the news channel.

Asked when the transfer of power might actually take place, the official said: “We are told soon is the plan.”

The secretary general of Egypt’s ruling party confirmed Thursday that a transition was underway and he expected Mubarak to address the nation soon.

Hossam Badrawi, a prominent doctor who was appointed to the ruling party’s post last Saturday, told the channel that he believed Mubarak’s words would “accommodate the protesters”.

Badrawi hinted that the transition process had been accelerated but he was unclear exactly when Mubarak might step down.

He said certain constitutional reforms have to be implemented before the president can relinquish power.

“The process is ongoing,” Badrawi said. “This will give confidence to the protesters.”

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