Egypt military tells people to standby for announcement

Cairo: As Egypt was gripped by uncertainty after the refusal of President Hosni Mubarak to step down, the country`s military Supreme Command Council today told the people to standby for an "important statement" as hundreds of thousands of people started gathering on the streets for what appears to be a massive showdown.

In less than 24 hours, military`s Supreme Command Council met under the Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi and was to make an important statement to the people.

"The Supreme Council for the armed forces, presided over by the Defence Minister is holding an important meeting" the state news agency MENA reported, as it told the people to standby for an important announcement.

This was a second time that the Supreme Command Council was meeting without the embattled Mubarak who is the country`s armed forces Supreme Commander, and normally presides over such meetings.

Al-Arabiya channel quoting a top officer said, "The generals are in permanent session and were expected to make an announcement before the start of the Friday prayers".

The meeting of military top brass came as global expectations that Mubarak would announce his stepping down in his televised speech last night were dashed and leading to a chorus of indignation at the Egyptian strongman.

US President Barack Obama led leaders from EU, France, Germany, UK and Australia to say that there was still no "concrete" changes in Egypt.

Speaking after Mubarak`s televised speech, the US President said, "The Egyptian people have been told there was a transition of authority, but it is not clear that this transition is meaningful or sufficient".