CAIRO - (AP) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he will notrun for a new term in office in September elections, but rejecteddemands that he step down immediately and leave the country, vowingto die on Egypt's soil, in a television address Tuesday after adramatic day in which a quarter-million protesters called on him togo.
Mubarak said he would serve out the rest of his term working toensure a "peaceful transfer of power" and carry out amendments torules on presidential elections.
But the half-way concession - an end to his rule months down theroad - was immediately derided by protesters massed in Cairo's maindowntown square.
Watching his speech on a giant TV set up in Tahrir square,protesters booed and waved their shoes over the heads in a sign ofcontempt. "Go, go, go! We are not leaving until he leaves," theychanted, and one man screamed, "He doesn't want to say it, hedoesn't want to say it."
The 82-year-old Mubarak, who has ruled the country for nearlythree decades, insisted that his decision not to run had nothing todo with the unprecedented protests that have shaken Egypt the pastweek. "I tell you in all sincerity, regardless of the currentcircumstances, I never intended to be a candidate for anotherterm."
"I will work for the final remaining months of the current termto accomplish the necessary steps for the peaceful transfer ofpower," he said.
Mubarak, a former air force commander, resolutely vowed not toflee the country. "This dear nation .. is where I lived, I foughtfor it and defended its soil, sovereignty and interests. On itssoil I will die. History will judge me like it did others."
His speech came after a visiting envoy of President Barack Obamatold Mubarak that his ally the United States sees his presidency atan end. Frank Wisner, a respected former U.S. ambassador to Egyptwho is a friend of the Egyptian president, made clear to Mubarakthat the U.S "view that his tenure as president is coming toclose," according to an administration official, who spoke oncondition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the ongoingdiplomacy.