"Tonight, it is ending", the dramatic announcement by Egypt's top
army general was met with loud cheering by the tens of thousands
of expectant protesters in Tahrir Square amid speculation that
President Hosni Mubarak would most likely quit Thursday night.
CIA Director Leon Panetta has told the US Congress there is a
strong likelihood of Mubarak stepping down Thursday night.
Mubarak has agreed to yield power to his vice president Omar
Suleiman, CNN quoted a senior US official as stating, citing
contacts within the Egyptian government.
In Cairo, Chief of Staff of the army of Egypt, General Sami Eman,
waded through the sea of protesters in Tahrir square, caught hold
of the microphone, and said: "All your demands will be met
tonight. Allahu Akhbar!".
ABC News reported that the general told the excited crowd "tonight
all your demands will be met", while referring to the turmoil in
the country over the protesters' demand for the ouster of
President Hosni Mubarak.
As soon as the army chief made the announcement, the crowd broke
into an applause and then began singing the national anthem.
They chanted: "Allahu Akhbar, God is the greatest."
The general then left the stage and he was immediately surrounded
by demonstrators who were delighted on hearing the news.
When the ABC correspondent asked General Eman whether this means
it's over, he emphatically replied: "Tonight, it is ending."
However, Egypt's Information Minister Anas al-Faqi told ABC news
that Mubarak will not step down.
Egypt has witnessed massive protests since Jan 25 by protesters
who are demanding that Mubarak quit immediately.
Mubarak, who has been continously ruling the country since 1981,
had earlier said that he would be ready to leave after his term
ends in September, but not now. He even warned of chaos if he left
The protesters are determined to continue their protests till
Mubarak quits. The protests had turned violent last week, leaving
atleast 13 people and over 1,000 injured.
Over a million people had taken part in the protest held last
The secretary general of Egypt's ruling party confirmed Thursday
that a transition was underway and he expected Mubarak to address
the nation soon.
On being asked whether Mubarak will leave Egypt, General Sami Eman
said: "I can't say, but I can say this is over."
The state TV said that Mubarak will address the nation from the
presidential headquarters in Cairo.
Mubarak met with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in Cairo Thursday
evening, DPA quoted state media as reported.
The report came after state television showed footage of Mubarak
and his deputy Omar Suleiman meeting at the presidential palace.
Amid mounting speculation of Mubarak likely to quit, the US
described the situation in Egypt as "very fluid".
"We're watching a very fluid situation" on the ground in Egypt,
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was quoted as saying by
The Atlantic website.
US President Barack Obama took a cautious approach to the reports,
saying the world will "have to wait and see" what happens.
"We're going to have to wait and see what's going on," Obama said
when asked for a comment while in Marquette, Michigan, according
The Barack Obama administration has been working on a proposal for
Mubarak to quit now and turn over power to a transitional
government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support
of the Egyptian military.
Egypt receives about $1.3 billion in military aid from Washington
every year, second only to Israel, and has received nearly $30
billion in economic aid since 1975, according to State Department