By Ray Fleming

The most significant development in Egypt's black day of horror yesterday came in the late afternoon when Mohammed ELBaradei announced his resignation as Vice-President of the interim government. It may seem insensitive, callous even, to put the resignation of a government figure ahead of the death in one day of at least one hundred protestors (with an estimated 500 injured) at the hands of the army and police. But ElBaradei's action is of immense importance; as a widely experienced United Nations diplomat and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he has said as clearly as he can that the interim government mishandled its action against the Muslim Brotherhood's peaceful sit-in protestors at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo and that a new aproach is necessary. Although constructive negotiation will be difficult during the month-long State of Emergency called yesterday by the interim government Mr Baradei's immediate dissociation from the army and its supporters and his leadership of a middle-of-the-road party could put him in a position to provide the common ground that world leaders are calling on both sides to find before this dispute breaks the country apart. In his letter of resignation ElBaradei said: “The beneficiaries of what happened today are the most extreme groups that call for violence and bitterness...I cannot be responsible for one drop of blood.”