Cairo (Agencies): President Hosni Mubarak's newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman warned that hasty reforms could bring chaos in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Mubarak, who has been in power for 30 years, says he will not stand for re-election and on Monday promised to raise public-sector wages by 15 per cent.

But many protestors, furious at mass unemployment, raging inflation and repression under Mubarak, are demanding the 82-year-old strongman's immediate departure.

"The President welcomed the national consensus, confirming we are on the right path to getting out of the current crisis," said Suleiman, whom many now see as the power behind the throne.

"A clear road map has been put in place with a set timetable to realise a peaceful and organised transfer of power," he said.

US Vice President Joe Biden renewed a call for "immediate" and "irreversible" political change in a phone call to Suleiman, including a wider national dialogue with the Opposition, a White House statement said.

He also renewed US calls for Egypt to at once cancel an emergency law, renewed for two years last May, which Washington says gives the government sweeping powers to restrict basic freedoms.

But Suleiman, speaking to local editors, warned against hasty reforms and said only talk and "a programme of continuous steps" could lead to transform.

"The second, alternative way, would be a coup—and we want to avoid that—meaning uncalculated and hasty steps that produce more irrationality," he said, as per the official MENA news agency.

Suleiman said the government would carry on talking with political groups and youth who spearheaded the protests, "affirming there will be no ending of the power, nor a coup, because that means chaos", MENA reported.

The Vice President has begun meeting representatives of some Opposition parties—including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, but not some of the street protest groups—to draw up plans for a democratic change.

Even as larger crowds meet daily to protest, several thousand occupy Tahrir Square day and night, sleeping under plastic sheets or army tanks.

Ban Ki-moon for peaceful transition

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged for an orderly and peaceful transition in Egypt.

"An orderly and peaceful transition is crucial… I hope that genuine dialogue between the leaders and the people will lead to the beginning of such a process," he said.

"The details of that process and indeed the future course of their country are entirely for the Egyptian people to define… The United Nations stands ready to provide any assistance," said the secretary-general.

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced on Tuesday in Cairo that President Hosni Mubarak took another step towards democratic transformation as he permitted a committee to administer constitutional changes in the country.

The panel will wrap up its work by the end of February, Suleiman said, adding that Egypt has a time-table for a peaceful and organised transfer of power.

Mubarak richest man in world

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is likely the richest man in the world with an estimated fortune worth about 70 billion dollars.

According to the Guardian, Mubarak has money stashed in several Swiss and other foreign bank accounts, and has shadowy real-estate holdings in Manhattan, London and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The 70 billion dollars would put the 82-year-old comfortably ahead of Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, who is worth about 53.5 billion dollars, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest American with 53 billion dollars.