U.S. officials are discussing a number of possible scenarios for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with one of them being Mubarak stepping down very soon and an interim government being formed, headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman working with the military to steer Egypt toward elections, officials told ABC News.
"The president has said that now is the time to begin a peaceful, orderly and meaningful transition with credible, inclusive negotiations," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. "We have discussed with the Egyptians a variety of different ways to move that process forward, but all of those decisions must be made by the Egyptian people.”
The comment came after the New York Times published a story reporting that the Obama administration "is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military."
Mubarak rebuffed the plan, the Times reported, but "officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform."
Officials told the Times that the proposal is "one of several options under discussion with high-level Egyptian officials around Mr. Mubarak, though not him directly, in an effort to convince him to step down now."
Bur in response to the Times story, a senior administration official called it "simply wrong to report that there’s a single U.S. plan that’s being negotiated with the Egyptians."