Dubai, Jan 29(Agencies): A powerful Arab cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Saturday urged President Hosni Mubarak to step down as the embattled Egyptian leader appointed his intelligence chief and confidante Omar Suleiman as the vice president to stem the anti-government mass protest.

"President Mubarak ... I advise you to depart from Egypt ... There is no other solution to this problem but for Mubarak to go," Qaradawi was quoted as saying by the Al-Jazeera television.

The widely respected Sunni Muslim cleric asked 82-year-old Mubarak to quit for the good of the country, as his ouster was the only solution to Egypt's crisis.

"Go Mubarak, have mercy on this people and leave so as not to increase the destruction of Egypt," said Qaradawi, a spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

"There is no staying longer, Mubarak, I advise you (to learn) the lesson of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali," he said,  referring to Tunisia's deposed president who fled to Saudi Arabia.

Buckling under mounting pressure, the embattled Egyptian President, who has not picked a vice president since his took office in 1981, today appointed Suleiman to the top post as tens of thousands of agitated people snubbed his promised reforms and took their deadly revolt to the streets for a fifth day.

Tens of thousands of angry citizens streamed into central Cairo's Tahrir Square, one of the focal points for street battles that have raged around Egypt, chanting: "Mubarak out!" as troops looked on.

Mubarak refused to bow to mounting pressure to quit but sacked his Cabinet which later resigned, as death toll rose above 50 in the nationwide demonstrations and clashes with police.

Egyptian state television said that the Mubarak Cabinet has officially resigned after days of protests, hours after the President fired his Cabinet promising democratic and economic reform.
"I have asked the government to present its resignation and tomorrow there will be a new government," Mubarak said in his first response to the unrest against his iron fisted rule.

The Army warned the people to obey a curfew and to refrain from congregating in public places, according to a statement carried by the official MENA agency.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama called on the Egyptian authorities not to use violence against the political protests, driving home his message in a 30-minute phone call with Mubarak.

He urged Mubarak to take "concrete" steps towards political reforms, saying he must turn "a moment of volatility" into "a moment of promise."

Washington has toughened its line on a key Middle Eastern ally, warning Egypt it would review billions of dollars in aid based on the behaviour of its security forces.