By Nangayi Guyson – President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has promised to step down when his term ends in September and will not seek re-election, the pledge came as hundreds of thousands rallied in central Cairo urging him to step down immediately.
Mr Mubarak Speaking on state TV, promised constitutional reform, but said he wanted to stay until the end of his current presidential term.
In his address on Tuesday, Mr Mubarak said he would devote his remaining time in power to ensuring a peaceful transition of power to his successor.
“My first priority is to restore peace and stability in our country, to ensure the peaceful transition of leadership, and to ensure that the responsibility goes to whomever the people of Egypt choose in the next election. I do not intend to stand for election again,” he said.
‘I will die here’
But he criticised the protests, saying what began as a civilised phenomenon turned into a violent event controlled by cowards.
“The events of the past few days require us all – people and leaders – to make the choice between chaos and stability, and dictate new conditions and a new Egyptian reality,” he said.
He said he had offered to meet all parties but some had refused dialogue. Mr Mubarak ended his speech by saying that he would not leave Egypt.
“This is my country. This is where I lived, I fought and defended its land, sovereignty and interests, and I will die on its soil,” he said.
President Barack Obama told Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday an orderly transition of power in Egypt “must begin now” in remarks critical of the Egyptian leader’s plan to stay in office six more months.
“What is clear and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now,” Obama said.
The demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria were the biggest since protests began last week.