Egypt's sitting government, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces led by Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
Speaking in Cairo on Tuesday, Tantawi also confirmed that next week's parliamentary elections will go ahead as scheduled and that presidential elections will take place before July 2012.
Tantawi's speech comes on the fourth day of massive protests around the country. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and state security forces. Upset about the slow change of reform, the protestors took to the streets in Cairo and other major cities to demand the resignation of the military council.
The Telegraph has translated the opening remarks of the address:
The armed forces, represented by their Supreme Council, do not aspire to govern and put the supreme interest of the country above all considerations
[The army is] completely ready to hand over responsibility immediately, and to return to its original mission to protect the nation if the nation wants that, via a popular referendum, if need be.
People in Tahrir are not taking [Tantawi's speech] well, reminds me of the reaction to Mubarak speeches, tweeted blogger Ahmed Al Omran.
Earlier in the day, the Egyptian cabinet also offered to resign for the sake of healing the country.
The Ministry responded to the people's demands, and submitted its resignation, said Prime Minister Sharaf.
Today, I ask everyone to take this country into account; to leave, calm the situation down because we are willing to do anything for the sake of this country, and you must be willing to as well because who will benefit from these events? All I ask of people is that they leave, calm down, we have already responded to what they wanted and it will be implemented, God willing.
We were so close to our main goal which is the elections; this is what is important, this political shift. So again I ask that people protect Egypt in this stage, he said.
Since Saturday, thousands of Egyptians have gathered in Tahrir Square to protest against the SCAF, many chanting for the resignation of Tantawi. Some of the protests have been peaceful, with demonstrators kneeling in the square and chanting while others waved Egyptian flags.