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Army will side with people in Egypt: ElBaradei

London: Nobel peace laureate Mohammad ElBaradei who is emerging as a key figure in popular uprising in Egypt has asked President Hosni Mubarak to leave the country, "if he wants to save his skin" and has exuded confidence the Army will side with the people.

"The word on the streets in Cairo is no longer that Mubarak should go but, that he should be put on trial," the former UN nuclear chief inspector has told a British newspaper in his first interview, since the outbreak of revolt against the powerful President.

In the backdrop of massive outpouring in Cairo, ElBaradei, who is tipped to become an interim President in case Mubarak bolts, claimed that time was fast running out for the Egyptian President.

"It is now a matter of hours and days. There is no longer a question now that Mubarak will stay," ElBaradei, the choice of eight major opposition groups leading the revolt in Egypt said.

"When a regime withdraws the police entirely from the streets of Cairo, when thugs are part of secret police, trying to give impression that without Mubarak the country will go into chaos, this is a criminal act. Somebody has to be accountable," he said.

Admitting that the role of Army is crucial in the current uprising, the Nobel laureate said, "the Egyptian Army will not fight the Egyptian people. I think ultimately the Army will be with the people."

"This is common sense. When you see a couple of million people in the streets who represent 85 million Egyptian…I don`t think they are going to shoot their people…to protect whom," he asked.

ElBaradei told The Independent that he did not want to be President but he might consider transitional Presidency for himself till new elections were held. "If there is a consensus by all people I might consider it."

He described as "fiction" fears in the West that the present revolt could lead to takeover of Egypt by Muslim Brotherhood and the uprising could bring in Iranian type valayeh-fakhi (guidance by supreme religious leader).

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