Stuart Ramsay, in Cairo
At the end of Egypt’s biggest day of protests, President Hosni Mubarak has announced he will step down at the next election in September.
Speaking on state television, Mr Mubarak denied his decision was due to the unprecedented protests and insisted that he had never intended to run for a sixth term as leader.
He said he will serve the remainder of his term and devote his time to social and political reform and a peaceful transfer of power.
The 82-year-old told viewers he was “very proud of all the time I have served this country” and that Egypt would be “stronger” because of the recent political crisis.
He vowed to die in Egypt, saying: “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.”
There were reports that a special envoy sent to Cairo by US President Barack Obama, told Mr Mubarak the US saw his presidency as being at an end.
Former ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner is said to be friends with Mr Mubarak and was able to urge him not to seek another term in office.
The announcement by President Mubarak will be seen as a victory by some but the thousands of demonstrators still gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo are likely to continue to call for him to leave office immediately.
One group has been chanting “We will not leave, he will leave”.
“Friday afternoon, we will be at the palace,” they also shouted, in reference to a march planned and dubbed “The Friday of Departure” aimed at pushing the president to quit office immediately.
In just eight days demonstrators have changed the political landscape of Egypt and the whole regime that has dominated the country for the past three decades.
The speech was Mr Mubarak’s second since the biggest challenge to his rule began.
On Saturday, he named a vice-president for the first time, sacked his Cabinet and promised economic and political reforms demanded by the protesters.
:: From Sky’s foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, in Cairo
The hardcore are not going to trust Mr Mubarak and will carry on protesting until he steps down.
If there are one million people on the streets on Friday, it will not take the Americans tapping him on the shoulder to step down, it will be the Egyptian army tapping him on the shoulder.