Washington (Agencies): As tensions rose after Egypt President Hosni Mubarak rejected the Friday deadline of stepping down, the US began serious talks with top Egyptian officials on the possible immediate resignation of the beleaguered leader and the formation of a military-backed caretaker government till elections later this year.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomatic talks, which are continuing.

The report about exit strategy talks came after US Vice President Joe Biden asked his new Egyptian counterpart Omar Suleiman to immediately start negotiations with opposition parties on a political transition. Suleiman may lead the interim government in Egypt.

US officials clarified that the United States isn't seeking to impose a solution on Egypt but said the administration had made a judgment that Mubarak should go soon if there is to be a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

"The President has said that now is the time to begin a peaceful, orderly and meaningful transition, with credible, inclusive negotiations," a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said on Thursday night. "We have discussed with the Egyptians a variety of different ways to move that process forward, but all of those decisions must be made by the Egyptian people."

White House and State Department officials would not discuss details of the discussions US officials are having with the Egyptians. However, an administration official said there is no single plan being discussed with the Egyptians but various ideas with Egyptian figures were being discussed on how to proceed quickly with a process that includes a broad range of voices and leads to free and fair elections — in essence, different ways to accomplish those goals.

The discussions come amid escalating violence between pro- and anti-Mubarak forces.

That pressure from the US, which is the single largest aid provider to Egypt, is increasing was emphasized when the Senate approved a non-binding resolution late onThursday urging Mubarak to hand over power to a caretaker government and begin a peaceful transition to a democratic society.

The administration's call for an immediate transition from three decades of authoritarian rule in Egypt has coincided with American hopes that reforms in Jordan and Yemen could stave off similar revolt.

All three countries have experienced instability since protesters in Tunisia chased their leader from power last month.