Calling for restoration of normalcy to the country, the Egyptian army on Friday released a statement endorsing the transfer of powers from embattled President Hosni Mubarak to Vice President Omar Suleiman. With this move, the military has clarified on its stance favoring Mubarak's decision not to resign as president and to transfer most of his powers to his vice-president.

The army said it will ensure that reforms proposed by Mubarak are carried out as planned. The promise included the lifting of 30-year-old emergency laws that enabled the government to keep tight control on Egyptian citizens. However, the military statement gave no specific time frame on these measures, besides stating that the emergency laws will be revoked as soon as current circumstances end.

Vowing that the presidential election scheduled for September will be free and fair, the military urged protesters to return to their homes.

The statement came at a time when organizers boasted of larger demonstrations, outweighing the strength of the 18-day anti-Mubarak protests. Tens of thousands of protesters flooded Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. More and more demonstrators are expected to join the crowd after Friday prayers.