The man named as the new vice-president of Egypt and now likely successor to President Hosni Mubarak is a long-time trusted associate of Mubarak.

Omar Suleiman, 76, the country’s former intelligence chief, gained global prestige as a key mediator between Israel and the Palestinians and even between fighting Palestinian factions. Since Egypt achieved peace with Israel in 1979, western powers have sought out his skills as a mediator and negotiator.

He was also acclaimed for helping bring about the ceasefire in Gaza in 2009 which Israeli military incursions there. In addition, he has tried to enable the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas and currently held in Gaza by Hamas.

Having fought in the 1962 Yemen war and Arab-Israeli conflict of 1967, he has the support of the country’s most powerful institution, the army.

After gaining a degree in political science, he rose rapidly in the Egyptian government’s intelligence branch, ultimately becoming director of military intelligence in 1991.

Long associated with Mubarak (a former air force chief), Suleiman was credited with saving the president’s life during an alleged assassination attempt in Ethiopia in 1995.

Although he is not a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, Suleiman has long been rumored to be a possible successor to his boss.