CAIRO - A continuing cry: Protesters refuse to settle for less than immediate departure
The concession: Egyptian president says he'll step down after fall vote.
Obama's response: 'The status
quo is not sustainable.'
Under pressure as never before, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt promised Tuesday that he would relinquish power after elections this fall, his most significant concession yet to an extraordinary public uprising that has upended the old order in the Arab world's most populous country.
But the gesture failed to quiet demands from Egyptian opposition leaders and pro-democracy demonstrators that Mubarak step down immediately, while President Obama insisted that a transition to democracy in Egypt "must begin now."
On a day when popular protests reached a new pitch, Mubarak's announcement left no doubt that time was running out on his three-decade reign as Egypt's president, a post in which he has served as a critical ally of the United States. Mubarak said he would not be a candidate for a sixth term and promised "a peaceful transfer of power."
There was no sign, however, that the hundreds of thousands of protesters who turned out in downtown Cairo would surrender what they believe is an unstoppable momentum toward toppling one of the Arab world's most durable leaders.