'Israel wants Suleiman to lead Egypt'

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Egypt's newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman
Israel favors Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman to be President Hosni Mubarak's successor, US diplomatic cables revealed by British media say.


The diplomatic cables from 2008 show that Lieutenant General Suleiman has caught the attention of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as well as other Israeli leaders, British newspaper The Telegraph wrote on Monday.

Suleiman kept daily contact with Tel Aviv through a secret 'hotline,' the cables said, noting that he also had very good ties with Israeli figures.

The leaked cables cited top Israeli military advisor David Hacham as saying that Tel Aviv believed that Suleiman “is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated."

The former head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate was appointed the second-in-command on January 29 amid a revolution in Egypt and mounting popular calls for the ouster of the pro-Western Mubarak, who has ruled the country in the past 30 years.

Suleiman is accused of playing a key role in the controversial CIA rendition program, under which people would be snatched from different countries without legal proceedings and subjected to harsh interrogations.

HN/MRS/MGH
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