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    Egyptian opposition leader urges Mubarak to step down

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    Egypt's leading opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei on Tuesday called on embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down and leave the country.

    Egypt's leading opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei on Tuesday called on embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down and leave the country.

    Mubarak's resignation is a prerequisite to dialogue between the opposition and the government, ElBaradei told the al-Arabiya TV channel.

    "There can be dialogue but it has to come after the demands of the people are met and the first of those is that President Mubarak leaves," he said.

    "I hope to see Egypt peaceful and that's going to require as the first step the departure of President Mubarak. If President Mubarak leaves, then everything will progress correctly."

    He said previously he could "not see any reason for Mubarak to stay on one day longer."

    Thousands of opposition supporters are gathering on Cairo's central Tahrir Square for a major demonstration seen as the biggest challenge so far to Mubarak's three-decade rule. The opposition has claimed the protest will involve a "million people" angered with Mubarak's non-democratic policies and demanding major political reforms in the country.

    The unrest in the country, which has already claimed the lives of at least 150 people and injured some 4,000, is likely to turn even more violent if clashes break out between Mubarak supporters and protesters.

    MOSCOW, February 1 (RIA Novosti)

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