New York Times

CAIRO, EGYPT - President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt said he would not run for another term as president of Egypt.

His decision came after President Obama told the embattled president of Egypt, that he should not run for another term in elections scheduled for the fall, effectively withdrawing American support for its closest Arab ally, according to American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.

Mr. Mubarak issued the statement on Tuesday evening, saying it was necessary for the stbility of the nation.

But it was far from certain that the concession would placate protesters in the streets of Cairo, who have made the president’s immediate and unconditional resignation a bedrock demand of their movement.

The message from Mr. Obama was conveyed to Mr. Mubarak by Frank G. Wisner, a seasoned envoy with deep ties to Egypt, the American diplomats said. Mr. Wisner’s message, they said, was not a blunt demand for Mr. Mubarak to step aside now, but rather firm counsel that he should make way for a reform process that would culminate in free and fair elections in September to elect a new Egyptian leader.

This back channel message, authorized directly by Mr. Obama, appeared to tip the administration beyond the delicate balancing act it has performed in the last week — resisting calls for Mr. Mubarak to step down, even as it has called for an “orderly transition” to a more politically open Egypt.

It was not clear whether the administration favored Mr. Mubarak turning over the reins to a transitional government, composed of leaders of the opposition movement and perhaps under the leadership of Mohamed ElBaradei, or to a caretaker government led by members of the existing regime, including the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman.

Ranya Kadri reported from Amman, Jordan, and Ethan Bronner from Ramallah, West Bank. Isabel Kershner contributed reporting from Jerusalem and J. David Goodman from New York.