UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The United Nations is ready to help the Egyptian people usher in an age of democracy following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the U.N. chief said.
Crowds turned angry late Thursday after Mubarak, who had been Egypt's president for 30 years, said on state television he was handing some authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Suleiman appeared Friday on state television, however, announcing the president had resigned.
"President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country," he was quoted by the BBC as saying. "May God help everybody."
Military leaders announced on state television shortly after the Suleiman announcement that they were in control of state affairs in the immediate post-Mubarak era.
Mubarak assumed power after the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Suleiman served as the de facto authority in Cairo last year after Mubarak recovered in Germany from gall bladder surgery. Mubarak last year never said publicly he would seek another term in office, maintaining until Friday that he would only serve out the remainder of his term.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the wake of the Mubarak resignation said in a statement released through his office that the Egyptian leadership must now make sure the political transformation is peaceful and represents the will of the people.
"The United Nations stands ready to assist in the process," his statement read.
The international community and members of the Egyptian opposition issued statements of praise for the Egyptian people who largely expressed their grievances peacefully.
"It's the greatest day of my life," Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told National Public Radio. "I couldn't have imagined that I would live long enough to see Egypt emancipated from decades of repression."
Military leaders said it would work to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian and move toward elections later this year.