Newly-named Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman and his top military commanders were discussing plans to limit President Hosni Mubarak's decision-making authority and possibly remove him from the presidential palace.
Quoting US and Egyptian officials, New York Times reported
that the plans did not call for Mubarak to be stripped of presidency immediately.
The paper said that Army's backing was being sought to make Suleiman to head an interim government which would negotiate with the political opposition a timetable for elections.
The Times said that among the ideas mooted was a plan to move Mubarak to his home town Sharm-al-Sheikh or send him to Germany for extended medical check up.
Such steps, the new leaders felt, would provide a graceful exit to the 82-year-old Mubarak while effectively removing him as the main decision-maker.
NYT said that the proposals had also been discussed with prominent Egyptian businessmen as well as influential lawyers and thinkers.
Citing Egyptian officials, Times said that Suleiman as well as his prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and the defence minister Field Marshal Mohammad Tantawi were working closely to ensure a smooth transition.
"They know each other well and they are trying to find a way out of this crisis. They want to do this without spilling blood and without hurting the dignity of Egypt or Mubarak while fulfilling the demand of the masses," the officials said.